Many of the rooms in President Lincoln's Cottage resound with the voices of Lincoln and his houseguests, in the form of actor-interpreted recordings broadcast through audio speakers. Though not all rooms are accessible to the public, daily tours through this Gothic Revival home use interactive multimedia to tell the stories of Abraham Lincoln's ideas, struggles in passing emancipation, and family during the three summers they spent here during the Civil War. Knowledgeable guides divulge facts about the president's meditations and meetings, often tailoring tours to their areas of personal expertise, such as war or politics. They showcase video screens populated by images about Lincoln's life, and a replica of the president's desk scrawled with the words "Constitution 4eva." Guides also invite visitors to engage in conversation throughout the tour while welcoming them to sit on furniture.
The adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, built in 1905 and restored as a LEED-certified building, houses a range of both permanent and temporary exhibits. Visitors engage with interactive displays, photos, and manuscripts revealing the presidential Cabinet's feelings on emancipation, life in Washington DC during the Civil War, and the president's role as commander in chief. The cottage also hosts a lecture series with guests that have included historians, Lincoln experts, and an artist who sculpted a life-size statue of the president and his horse, which today stands watch over the cottage.
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Drenched 5K events soak participants in the name of good health, good fun, and raising money for local charities. Runners of all makes and models can skip monthly jogs through the neighborhood car wash to converge on 5-kilometer courses, which start out dry, but quickly become lively fetes fueled by H2O. Along the routes misters, sprinklers, and fire hoses activate as groups pass by. Spectators also do their worst, launching water balloons and spraying water weapons at runners from the sidelines. A final 75-foot water slide sends runners gliding across the finish line, where a festival stocked with refreshments, live entertainment, and other water-related activities greets them.
The team at Pottery n More eschews cookie-cutter designs in favor of rampant creativity. They help guests select plaster items including tableware and holiday-, garden-, or pet-themed figurines to be covered with a choice of 15 different glitters and easy-to-use acrylic paints. The studio hosts parties for kids and adults, and programs such as summer camps, parents' nights out, and home makeovers for bottled genies. In the new game room, children bounce on inflatables or play board games while watching cartoons.
At Princess Mhoon Dance Institute, everyone is welcome—whether you're an aspiring professional dancer or just looking to have a good time while learning dance moves beyond the Macarena. Adults break a sweat in Zumba, African dance fitness, and stretching and toning classes, while younger students master ballet positions, tap steps, and leaps and turns. All the while, Princess Mhoon and her staff craft a welcoming environment that balances serious study with light-hearted fun. It's not just the students who sing Princess Mhoon Cooper's praises—the instructor and choreographer has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Dance magazine honored her in a 2006 list of 25 to watch.
Let’s face it: Red Derby is a dive bar, but only in the best sense of the term. It’s a fun place to hang out and have a burger and a beer (served only in cans) in an unpretentious space. The extensive brew list features many blue-collar-turned-cool-again brands like Natty Boh and Schlitz, along with foreign suds and craft beers from around the country. Enjoy ample rooftop seating or stay inside and play arcade or board games while you wait for your order to come up. The menu is filled with gooey comfort foods like quesadillas, burgers and po’ boy sandwiches, and a weekend brunch menu features the usual basics, plus make-your-own mimosas. For all its popularity, Red Derby remains cash only, though your hard-earned $20 goes a long way. Drinks are cheap, especially during happy hour, and only a handful of menu items cost more than ten bucks.
A team of professors, photojournalists, and professional photographers are the driving force of Ambiance Digital Photography School, teaching the fundamentals of DSLR photography via step-by-step instructional videos. Besides the online database of videos, the pros put together downloadable and printable tutorials to accompany photo examples. Any member of the school gets lifetime access to the school’s library, which includes an in-depth course on Photoshop. Some of the continually updated video classes focus on topics such as black-and-white photography, taking group or self portraits, and mastering different sources of light rather than always carrying around the same lava lamp.