Date of Visit: March 7, 2015
The last time we toured the Capitol as a family was probably the first time we took Mik to D.C. when he was about 3 or 4 (1997?). Of course, he doesn't remember that at all and the only thing I remember was waiting in an extremely long line outside and being pulled out of it to be given our own tour because they didn't accommodate wheelchairs with the regular tours. Everything is way different now with there being an actual visitor center, which we didn't even really visit because Mik and Mom were worn out after the touring part (regular and our own this time).
Dad had set up for the 11:20 tour, but since we got there about an hour early and Dad got passes for an earlier tour. The tour starts with a movie. You enter at the bottom of the theater and there's an elevator to the top where there's a row for wheelchairs and companions. Overall a good view of the movie, but the companion seats are kind of far back that the barrier in front ends up blocking the bottom of the screen. At first I thought it was just because I was short, but even Dad ended up noticing the issue. All it really blocks out, though, is the closed captioning, but still annoying in the sight line. Mik had no issue, though, because his wheelchair could roll up closer and also sat higher than the companion seats.
After the movie, you exit from the top of the theater and proceed to lines to join a tour group. Here you get headsets to better hear the guide when on the tour, although personally I found it unnecessary. The tour does go up and down stairs, but between each level you go over to the elevators (normally, someone escorts your group for this, I think, but since Dad works there and has a badge he was our escort).
Overall the tour isn't bad, but I'm glad we were able to then go back with Dad because I felt like you really only got to see one part of the Rotunda and crypt depending on where your guide stopped to talk about that room. Only in the Statuary Hall did it seem like you where able to really explore the whole room.
After our regular tour, Dad took us to the Hall of Columns and the Brumidi Corridors. I especially enjoyed the corridors off of the Hall of Columns, which had some really cool ceiling murals including the one below that I took by lying on the ground. I could've spent a lot more time looking at the murals and such, but Mik and Mom were getting tired, so we only briefly saw them.
East Capitol St NE & First St SE
Washington, D.C. 20004