I have been to the National Cathedral before, and I have marveled at the size of its interior, its great acoustics, and some of the great stained glass. Its history is interesting, in that the idea of it dates really far back, but the actual construction wasn't completed until, really, just a few years ago. And then, the earthquake happened, and it's under construction once again.
The last time I was at the cathedral, I walked in from the side of it, and i noticed these carvings in some of the columns that were really cool--depicting various Native American symbols and scenes. A few feet past that, I saw that there were tours of the gargoyles and grotesques (drainspout and non-drainspout carvings) on the outside of the building, which I admit to having not paid much attention to before.
So, on a typically sweltering summer Sunday morning, I followed around a guy who knew A LOT about this sort of thing, and it was very cool. It turns out that the artists who did this work were not really supervised all that much (nor were they sometimes even credited or recorded), so there is a lot of sort of goofiness, which I think is appropriate for America's cathedral. In the pictures below, I have some of my favorites that I could adequately capture with my phone's camera, including an awesome snake and a pretty cool gator. However, I could only see with binoculars (which you should scrounge up if you really want to do the tour right) the infamous Darth Vader gargoyle, as well as some other pretty strange ones. It was neat to see that the building on the outside was just as interesting as the building on the inside.