Virtual White House tours go online

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The Independent Travel

The Oval Office, the "situation room" and the first family's organic garden are among the highlights of a new virtual tour of the White House put online Tuesday.

The new Web tour offers views that are not available to the public, even if they could get in some of the rare guided visits of the presidential residence.

With an interactive clickable page, visitors can see locations such as the Rose Garden, East Room and of course the West Wing.

First Lady Michelle Obama's vegetable garden is on the tour along with the basketball court used by President Barack Obama.

The online visitors can get a glimpse of things they would not see in a real-life tour such as the "situation room" an ultra-secure location in the White House to manage crises.

The room was created at the request of president John Kennedy after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.

Modernized and expanded in 2007, this complex of rooms is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to monitor national and international intelligence information, according to the website. It also allows the president to communicate securely with American military commanders and foreign heads of state around the world.

The family residence areas along with the press center - built over president Franklin Roosevelt's swimming pool - are also on display on the site which can be viewed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/interactive-tour, as well as other non-official sites that link to archived images.

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