Formally the headquarters of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing it is now occupied by the U.S. Forest Service Information Center. Located in the Yates Building (1880), the U.S. Forest Service Information Center is a little known entity near the National Mall. Admission is free but there is an x-ray security check before you enter.
As you walk in there is a life-size Animatronic Smokey the Bear sitting with his feet on the desk. His likeness was created from Rudy Wendelin's famous painting "Smokey's Fan Mail". Smokey gestures and says "Only you can prevent forest fires". It brings you back to your childhood when Smokey was evedywhere promoting forest fire prevention.
The next room you enter is modeled after a 1920's rustic lodge. The room is a highly polished pine version which is kept immaculate. You will see Forest Service artifacts and a hand painted rug.. There is an interactive Forest Service media map which will highlight the national forests in the area in which you live. The information center has great air conditioning so if your waiting to enter the Washington Monument or just need a break from Washington D.C. summer heat, this is a good option.
Woodsy Owl expresses his desire for you to recycle and a string of videos are played in the Mini-Forest. covering such topics as saving endangered species, national forest recreational opportunities, etc..They have a bench you can sit on while you take in the sounds of the forest.
As stated by other reviewers, the staff is very hospitable. Children are offered stickers of Smokey the Bear, posters, post cards, coloring sheets, book markers, pencils and sharpeners. It is not a destination but it is a nice 15 minute stop, especially if you are a Tree Hugger like me.
Their hours of operation are Mon-Fri (8 am-4 pm). They are closed Saturday and Sunday along with Federal Holidays.