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There are nineteen fascinating museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo which comprise the public outreach of the Smithsonian Institution. There's much more which happens behind the scenes as part of the Institution's work. Visitors can enjoy the surroundings, connect with objects which are actual parts of the world's history, culture, and technology, and become inspired by all that these collections represent. Many of the museums are along the National Mall and are easily accessed, for free, during a visit to the Capital District. There are plenty of museum shops and places to eat, making it easy to spend the day.

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1. Visitor Center

Three things to remember when visiting the Smithsonian Institution at the National Mall: the museums are free to visit, security procedures can slow things down on busy days, and there is no public parking. The website offers several solutions to the parking challenges including a third-party parking reservation system. There is a mobile app and a downloadable PDF guide and map which is available in over ten languages plus large print. At the visitor's center, guides can help you plan your visit, get IMAX tickets, meet your accessibility needs and coordinate group visits.

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