April 22, 2018

Visiting Washington DC with Kids

 

We have been hoping and planning on traveling to Washington DC with our kids for a few years now. We hoped to show them a tiny bit of history and government while they are currently learning about it. Kellen was super excited to see the Teddy “Peppercorn” statue, and because it was such a fun name to say, we couldn’t correct him the ENTIRE TIME we were there! As extreme luck and stars ultimate aligning would go, we were thrilled to witness the sugar magnolias at their prime at the Smithsonian Castle, and also the Cherry Blossoms almost at their prime along the Tidal basin. Both will forever be a highlight in my tree loving life. But as for the things you can plan and do, well I have three of my top tips here that I can guarantee you will be glad to know about.

 

1. Rent Bikes for the Mall- The Mall is HUGE! We wanted to spend the day wandering the monuments, but kids get tired, and there is a ton of walking involved. We literally waved down a biking family to ask them where they got their bikes, and they sent us to Bike and Roll, right outside the mall. We reserved our bikes for the next day. Bike day was everyones favorite day. We saw so much, packed snacks in the Burly that Kellen used and spent the day in and out of all the things we could fit into one day, three museums, a capitol tour, and a bunch of monuments! There are also Captiol Bikes that are available to you through a take-and-leave station that can be great if you don’t need something special for small children.(see Lincoln memorial photo to get an idea how Kellen spent that day!)

2. Contact your representative and tour the White House. Almost five months before our trip we sent a simple email to our representative to get tickets. It was such a fun tour, seeing the rooms, imagining there was no red rope, and getting an up close look at the actual details of this amazing part of our history. You can also see if they will give you a guided tour of the Capitol. Oour show up and get same day tickets wait time was a bit much for our taste. We were not planning on such big crowds, so there were lines for every museum, or place of entrance, and if you are going on a week where you don’t have to worry about crowds, you might be fine getting same day tickets. A place we missed due to poor planning, was waking up early to get US Mint tickets. Those were handed out by 8:45.

3. Final tip, there are so many great places surrounding DC. If you were like us, and are planning a visit during peak tourism, you can take a water taxi to Alexandria. This charming town was the halfway point from DC and George Washington’s home in Mt. Vernon. The cobblestone streets, and old church were a trip to the past, and the history of the town was fascinating. We visited the old pup George Washington stopped at, and the church he attended. The Water taxi in itself was a super fun ride.

We did a ton of fun things, like attend a Nationals game where we watched Teddy “peppercorn” win the presidents race, and visit museums, but the highlight of the tip is watching my 13 year old make connections to his learnings by telling ME about the Magna Carta and important documents at the National Archives. I am thrilled that in his childhood memory he will have a point of reference when he learns about government, and how ours was founded.
capitol with kids jefferson memorial lincoln memorial magnolia treewashington monument web

  1. Gretchen

    I LOVE THIS! Great ideas and sounds so wonderful i want to go again!

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