Our nation’s capital is rich with history that all ages can enjoy and learn from. Every time you travel the kids learn something new regardless of where you go. It might be that bugs grow big in the south, or that you can go fishing in the north even when the lake is covered in ice. But, family vacation memories from DC may actually help your child do better in school.
Here are our top 5 family activities in Washington DC that will have your kids enjoying and exploring many of the things they have only read about.
National Museum of Natural History: 10th St and Constitution Ave NW, 202-357-2700
This Smithsonian museum covers everything from dinosaurs to diamonds in life-like dioramas. All things from the life sciences and earth sciences are explored. The Discovery Room is filled with hands-on activities and exhibits where children can explore everything from the texture of an elephant tusk to trying on costumes from around the world. There is also an IMAX theater here.
National Air and Space Museum: 6th St and Independence Ave SW, 202-357-2700
This Smithsonian museum takes you on a journey through the history of aviation and space travel. Kids explore different aviation technologies through IMAX movies and hands-on opportunities. Don’t miss the planetarium for a truly cosmic experience.
The National Mall: along Independence Avenue.
Between the Lincoln Memorial, with a giant seated Abraham Lincoln, and the US Capitol complex lies the National Mall, a huge public park lined with several museums and monuments. Ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument for a birds-eye view of the expansive park. Ride the carousel outside the Arts and Industries building. Have a picnic on the Great Lawn, and feed the ducks on the pond. View the many sculptures and visit the butterfly garden. Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and watch actual money being made.
The White House: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
See where the President lives and works by visiting the White House. Even if you skip the inside tour, it’s fun for even younger kids to see the important home. You can visit this site to learn about some of the previous presidents’ kids and pets who lived here. Or this kids site to learn more about the government in general. Both sites are aimed at kids. (or at least were when I published this post.)
Ford’s Theatre: 511 Tenth St NW, 202-347-4833
With the popularity of Abraham Lincoln on film as well as in general, this live working theater in downtown DC is a great way to show kids where it all happened. Even if there are no performances going on, the theater is a national historic and cultural site that welcomes visitors. Inside, you can choose to discuss how Lincoln loved the theater, what theaters looked like back then, where he typically sat and leave it at that. Or, if you child is old enough to understand, you can go on to explain the assassination that happened there, as well as go across the street and tour the apartment where they tried to save him.