10 Things to Do With Kids in Washington DC

If you’re looking to give your kids a hands-on history lesson, the nation’s capital is where you want to be.  Kids will enjoy seeing some of the things that they have been learning in school.  There’s something about being able to explore the actual historical sites that will help your kids remember the facts better.  Known for the Smithsonian museums, Washington, DC has a lot to offer in the way of kids’ entertainment.  Check out some of these sites the next time you are in Washington, DC.

  1. National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC 20560).  Tons to see in this museum, they house over 125 million specimens.  Kids will enjoy the Discovery room because it’s a hands-on area where kids can learn and explore.  Another exhibit that is ‘big’ with kids is the life-sized dinosaur skeleton.
  2. National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC 20560).  If you have a space buff in the family, this is the place to bring him.  This branch of the Smithsonian houses the largest collection of spacecraft and other flight related artifacts in the world.  Take a look inside the Apollo 11 space module or look at Wright’s first airplane suspended from the ceiling.
  3. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Washington, DC 20001).  Watch real money be printed, stacked, and cut here.  Tours are available every 15 minutes.  Take a look at how paper money has changed through the years with exhibits that will show the history of money. 
  4. Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC 20242).  The memorial is made of white marble and Lincoln is seated and gazing across a long reflection pool toward the Washington monument.  On the other side is the Ulysses S. Grant monument with Grant on his horse and his eyes are at the same level as Lincoln’s eyes.  These three men did a lot for the U.S. and visiting their monuments is definitely something worth doing with the kids while you are in Washington, DC.
  5. National Zoo (Washington, DC 20008).  Visit this 163 acre zoo that houses pandas, bears, lions, giraffes, monkeys and many more.  Admission is free, but there is a cost for parking.  This zoo is very kid friendly with many hands-on experiences available for the kids so that they can get up and personal with these animals.
  6. International Spy Museum (Washington, DC 20004).  Do you think you may be raising the next 007?  Slip into the International Spy museum to learn all about disguises and aliases.  Let the kids go to the Kidspy Zone where they can play games, learn the language of espionage and take part in an actual mission.  The one hour mission is for kids 12 and up and gets pretty involved with decrypting messages, meeting your handler and making a drop.  If you live in the area there are even spies in training camps that your kids can participate in.          
  7. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (Washington, DC 20004).  Make sure to bring your camera with you to this attraction because the kids will love to take pictures with Selena Gomez from Wizards of Waverly Place, Taylor Swift (singer/actress) or Madonna (singer/actress).  There are many other famous people that have been immortalized in wax here.  Read about all of these famous people as you walk through the amazing life- like sculptures.
  8. Paddle-Boating on Tidal Basin (Washington, DC 20024).  Take a paddle-boat ride on the Tidal Basin and let the kids get a little exercise.  You will be able to see the Jefferson Memorial from the water and just get out and enjoy some nature.  It’s a nice change of pace from all the museum type attractions.
  9. Folger Theater (Washington, DC 20003).   To be or not to be… that is the question.  This Shakespearian Theater puts on plays all year round and also offers special exhibits for children. 
  10. Kennedy Center (Washington, DC 20566).  Go on a guided tour of this huge center which hosts many different kinds of performances.  Stage shows, ballet, or sporting events can be seen at this venue almost any day of the week.  If you have an aspiring actor or dancer they may enjoy dreaming about performing at the Kennedy Center someday.  Maybe the president will come over and catch the performance.
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