- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000


The U.S. Naval Academy's Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center is at 52 King George St. in Annapolis, inside Gate 1 at King George and Compromise streets. From the District, take Route 50 east to Annapolis and get off at Exit 24, Rowe Boulevard, heading south (right) toward the academy. After crossing College Creek, Rowe Boulevard bears to the right. Stay straight on what is now Bladen Street. It ends at College Avenue, where you turn left. Turn right onto King George Street and follow it through Gate 1 and into the academy. The visitor center is on the right, next to Halsey Field House.


A parking lot for visitors is available just inside Gate 1, to the right.


The visitor center has a snack shop as well as a gift shop and several Navy exhibits, including the original Freedom 7 space capsule.


The visitor center's number is 410/263-6933. Information on guided tours can be found at the visitor center's Web site (www.navyonline.com/tours.htm).


The cost for the tour is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors age 62 and older, and $4 for students in first through 12th grade. Preschoolers are admitted free. There is no charge to enter the visitor center.


Hours Through Labor Day, tours are held Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The last tour starts each day at 3. From Labor Day through the end of November, tour hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 12:15 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Starting in December, tour hours are 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Length of tour The tour lasts about 75 minutes, including a 15-minute film titled "To Lead and Serve," which is shown at the start of every tour. Tours start every 30 to 40 minutes.


"Tecumseh" A statue of the American Indian warrior stands in front of Bancroft Hall, where it serves as a good-luck charm for midshipmen, particularly plebes. The statue often is painted over, and during the week before the Army-Navy football game, it always sports war paint.
The Chapel Inside are magnificent stained-glass windows and one-way glass windows that are opaque when viewed from the outside. Under the Chapel is the crypt of Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones.
Bancroft Hall The 33-acre facility is one of the largest dormitories in the world, complete with its own post office and ZIP code. Memorial Hall, inside Bancroft, honors graduates who were killed in action and midshipmen who died before graduating.


Families wishing to take their own tours can pick up maps and other information at the visitor center. All the stops along the guided tour are open and available to the public for further visits.

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