WHAT IS IT? Constitution Gardens is 50 acres of landscaped park created in 1976 for the Bicentennial. The Gardens include a stagnant lake which itself holds a one acre island dedicated to the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
BEAUTY (4/10) The memorial to the signers is shaded and understated, consisting only of a semi-circle of granite slabs topped with the engraved names and signatures of the signatories grouped by state. Some of the engravings have faded and the proliferation of geese and other water fowl make a poo-free photograph of the memorial difficult to get.
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE (3/10) Nothing historically significant happened in this space that once hosted temporary office buildings for the U.S. Navy. As an annual tribute to the Constitution of the United States, the Park Service hosts a naturalization ceremony for new citizens here once a year.
CROWDS (7/10) We shared the island with a few families. While the space around the memorial is small, it is proportional to its number of visitors. The younger family members could be found sticking their hands into the lake (yuck) to measure its depth and chasing disinterested ducks around the outer lawn. The elders generally browsed the slabs then perched on their edges with maps to plot the course to their next destination.
CONCESSIONS/BOOKSTORE (1/5) There is no bookstore connected with Constitution Gardens or the 56 Signers Memorial. We did not notice any books on these sites at other Monumentsí bookstores either.
COSTS (4/5) No charge to rest in the shade or run your fingers over John Hancockís autograph.
RANGER/GUIDE TO TOURIST RATIO (1/5) There are no Rangers in or around Constitution Gardens.
TOURS/CLASSES (2/10) None are offered. What you see is what you get. There are no interpretive panels to further explain the Declaration of Independence or those who signed.
FUN (5/10) It was refreshing to come across something so unobtrusive celebrating something so grand. We admit we shook our fist at the sight of Thomas Stoneís signature.
WOULD WE RECOMMEND? (4/10) When is green space in a major metropolitan area a bad thing? The mini island and lawn encircling the lake provide a nice place to rest on your trek to and from the other monuments.
USA-C2C.com is an independent website, not affiliated in any way with the National Park Service, the National Parks Foundation or any of their partners.