By Malia Rulon
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Ohioans traveling to the nation's capital can catch glimpses of their home state, from Wright flyers and astronaut John Glenn's space capsule to the state fossil and buckeye trees.
"The big complaints from Ohioans who visit our office is that there aren't enough Wendy's and Bob Evans restaurants. We've got just about everything else," said congressional aide Bruce Cuthbertson, a native of the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst and aficionado of all things Ohio.
This year, a good place for Ohioans to start is at the National Air and Space Museum because it's celebrating the 100th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight with a gallery opening in October dedicated to the brothers from Dayton.
The plane that made the first flight on Dec. 17, 1903, is displayed at the museum, as are the Wright EX biplane, nicknamed the "Vin Fiz" after a popular soft drink, and the world's first military airplane, the Wright Military Flyer.
While there, tourists can touch Friendship 7, the space capsule in which NASA sent Glenn of New Concord on the first orbit around the Earth by an American. Nearby is Apollo 11, which carried Neil Armstrong of Wapakoneta to the moon for his famous first step.
"Because Ohio has had such an impact on flight, the museum is literally full of stuff that connect to Ohio in one way or another," said curator Tom Crouch, a native of Dayton.
The museum expects 10 million visitors this year - more than ever - mainly because of the centennial-of-flight celebration.
While visiting the Smithsonian museums, which are free, Ohioans shouldn't miss seeing the state fossil, the Isotelus, which was discovered by construction workers near Dayton in 1919 and is displayed at the Natural History Museum.
The museum also houses two meteorites that landed in Ohio, one in New Concord and the other in Dayton.
At the National Museum of American History, Ohioans can see the field glasses once carried by Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. A glass display case houses a saber and century-old stuffed black steed that belonged to Gen. Phillip Henry Sheridan of Somerset.
On the Capitol grounds, Ohioans with a green thumb could identify several buckeye trees, including one near First Street, N.E., that was planted in honor of former Rep. Clarence "Bud" Brown and his father, who also was a congressman from Ohio.
"Last I checked, our tree was still there," said Brown, who ran the U.S. Capitol Historical Society until 1999.
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