The Capitol Visitor Center hit a major milestone last week when it welcomed its 5 millionth visitor.
It’s been seven months since the center last hit a million mark, a few months longer than the span between 3 million in May and 4 million in August.
That pace is about even with past records. After the CVC opened its doors in December 2008, it took six months to reach 1 million visitors. Five months later, it hit 2 million.
It took a bit longer this time because the center hits its slow season during the winter months, CVC Communications Director Tom Fontana said. From October to January, 200,000 to 300,000 people come through the CVC, much fewer than in the spring and summer seasons.
In the next few weeks, the center will receive one-tenth of its annual visitors, thanks to a combination of nicer weather, school trips, spring breaks, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Easter and Passover. The number of people will be nearly equal to the amount that visited during the winter.
“It’s kind of a cycle,” he said. “You have these ebbs and flows.”
The CVC, the largest-ever addition to the Capitol, has doubled the number of visitors the Capitol receives. Before it opened, the Capitol had a little more than a million visitors a year. Now, the number is closer to 2.4 million.
“We are pleased that in just over two years, we have been able to welcome 5 million visitors to the Capitol in an environment that is safe, comfortable, educational and enjoyable,” Beth Plemmons, the CVC’s CEO of visitor services, said in a statement.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.