Greatest issues to do in DC for households with youngsters of various ages

Because the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is a superb vacation spot for vacationers craving American tradition and historical past.

Nevertheless, for those who’re touring with household, you could marvel which sights are kid-friendly. For instance, the Nationwide Archives Museum is a well-liked attraction, but it surely could be troublesome to get youngsters to stay quiet inside and preserve their palms to themselves.

Thankfully, Washington has loads of different actions for teenagers and adults. Listed below are eight of our favourite sights for individuals of all ages.

Nationwide Zoo

Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, generally referred to as the Nationwide Zoo, is dwelling to greater than 2,000 animals. They’re grouped alongside trails devoted to their species, continent, nation or area.

Alongside the Asia path, you possibly can see a clouded leopard, an Asian small-clawed otter, a sloth bear, a pink panda and lots of extra animals. Stars of the elephant path embrace the 48-year-old Sri Lanka-born Asian elephant Kamala (which means “lotus”), who arrived with Swarna (which means “gold”) and her second calf, Maharani (which means “queen”), from the Calgary Zoo about 10 years in the past.

Alongside the American path, you possibly can see Andean bears and Amazon-area creatures reminiscent of the electrical eel, piranha, poison dart frog, stingray, fish and coral.

One of many zoo’s primary sights is Xiao Qi Ji, a two-year-old large panda. His title, which suggests “Little Miracle,” pays tribute to his mom, who, at 22 years previous, turned the oldest large panda to present beginning within the U.S.


Getting everybody out the door early on trip might be troublesome, however attempt to go to within the morning when the animals are normally extra energetic.

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Nationwide Mall

The Nationwide Mall is filled with family-friendly actions. On the Nationwide Air and Area Museum, you possibly can step inside historic planes and even attempt to pilot a digital airplane. There’s additionally an exhibit designated to hurry, which explores the quickest land autos all through American historical past.

The Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past can be a favourite amongst youngsters with large dinosaurs, an enormous squid, a butterfly backyard and the huge Hope Diamond.

Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past. EMILY THOMPSON/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re prepared for a break from the museums, benefit from the inexperienced area on the Nationwide Mall. There’s plenty of garden area for teenagers to run round or play frisbee. Youngsters additionally love the Smithsonian carousel right here.

Avoid the quick meals vehicles and expensive museum cafeterias. As an alternative, cease for lunch within the downtown space (a couple of blocks north) or picnic on the garden midway by way of your go to.

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Worldwide Spy Museum

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday by way of Friday; 9 a.m. to eight p.m. Saturday.
  • Value: $28.95 for an grownup ticket (ages 13-64), $18.95 for a youth ticket (ages 7-12) and $25.95 for faculty college students and army with proof of ID. Baby tickets (ages 6 and underneath) are free.
  • Getting there: The closest Metro station is the L’Enfant Plaza cease, a five-minute stroll away.

There may be really one thing for everybody on this immersive museum. Elementary-age and older youngsters will love assuming a spy id and finishing interactive missions all through the museum. Youthful youngsters will love the area to roam round and the abundance of photographs and visible shows.


Older youngsters and adults will discover a lot to geek out over as nicely. They are going to learn the way spy techniques are utilized in cyber warfare and the way spies use costuming to hide their true identities.

There are additionally mini theaters all through the museum that play movies of actual former spies explaining their work, offering the right alternative to collect and calm down for a couple of minutes every time mandatory.

The common go to lasts between two and three hours, however you possibly can discover freely at your personal tempo — very best for many who have toddlers in tow.

Nationwide Postal Museum

  • Hours: 10 a.m. to five p.m.
  • Value: Free.
  • Getting there: The closest Metro station is Union Station, a five-minute stroll away.

The quieter, extra off-the-beaten-path Nationwide Postal Museum is an ideal spot to decompress and escape the crowds that converge on the extra well-liked Smithsonians.


Youngsters have a tendency to like autos, and one of many museum’s highlights is its giant show of vehicles, rail vehicles and plane, which the U.S. mail service has used all through its historical past. There’s even a recreated rail automotive you possibly can climb into and go searching. Some reveals have interactive parts the place youngsters can establish counterfeit mail or write actual postcards.

Older youngsters and adults will benefit from the spectacular stamp assortment and reveals that highlight how the mail system has been vital to our nationwide security and private connection all through American historical past.

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Gunston Corridor

  • Hours: 9:30 a.m. to five:30 p.m.
  • Value: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for kids and free for ages 5 and underneath.
  • Getting there: A 35-minute drive from downtown. Parking is free.

The previous dwelling of George Mason (one of many Founding Fathers of the U.S.), Gunston Corridor is an excellent place to take youngsters to study American historical past and our nation’s founding. The excursions are enjoyable, and our information had plenty of expertise working with youngsters.

For youthful youngsters, the gardens and grounds at Gunston Corridor are nice areas to run round and observe the historic buildings. Youngsters may also take part in interactive workshops and actions relying on the season.

Older youngsters can discover the historical past of the mansion and the Mason household. Inform them to pay shut consideration to the small particulars, such because the royal crown molding and Parisian wallpaper, which had been exceptionally uncommon within the Virginia Colony. The mansion tour had numerous hands-on reveals, and we cherished the first supply quotes.


With fewer individuals than George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Gunston Corridor is a must-see vacation spot for households with youngsters taken with America’s historical past and basis.

Nationwide Harbor

Nationwide Harbor is one other nice family-friendly vacation spot within the Washington, D.C., space. For those who can, arrive by cruise from Washington or Alexandria, Virginia, so you possibly can get pleasure from scenic river views.

The Capital Wheel is a 180-foot-tall Ferris wheel with lovely views of the Potomac River and downtown Washington, D.C., within the distance. It prices $15 for adults, $13.50 for seniors over 60 and $11.25 for kids ages 3 to 11.

Steps from the Capital Wheel are pedal boats you possibly can hire by the hour, and there is a Construct-a-Bear Workshop and Ben and Jerry’s. All of those sights are inside shut strolling distance to one another.


Youngsters additionally love taking part in on The Awakening, a 70-foot-tall Zeus-like statue rising from the sand.

Nationals baseball sport

Combine up your historical past experiences and go to a special type of Washington, D.C., icon: Nationals Stadium. Youngsters of all ages will benefit from the music frequently pumping from the jumbo tron, crowd chants and snacks.

When any of your group will get stressed, there’s loads of area to stroll across the stadium and even a spot for teenagers to apply their throwing expertise. If you’re prepared for lunch or dinner, do not miss the enduring Ben’s Chili Bowl stand.


If the Nats aren’t taking part in a house sport when you’re on the town however have MLB followers in your group, you possibly can nonetheless tour the stadium. Excursions are at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and a pair of:30 p.m. on non-gamedays solely. Tickets are $25 every.

For those who’re not visiting throughout baseball season, take a look at a Wizards NBA sport, a Commanders NFL sport or a D.C. United MLS sport.

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Afternoon tea

  • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to three p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, excluding holidays. Reservations required.
  • Value: $68 per grownup, $45 per little one (12 and underneath).
  • Getting there: The closest Metro station is the Foggy Backside—GWU Kennedy Heart station, an eight-minute stroll away.

Head to The Ritz-Carlton for afternoon tea if you wish to deal with your crew to a pinkies-up afternoon tour.

Adults will get pleasure from a collection of candy and savory treats in addition to a alternative of tea and a glass of glowing wine. Youngsters 12 and underneath can get pleasure from Teddy Bear Tea, which incorporates child-friendly bites with both tea or sizzling chocolate and a teddy bear to take dwelling.


This can be a little bit of a splurge however is a superb possibility for those who’re celebrating one thing particular or simply need an opportunity to dress up and luxuriate in a stunning two-hour tea expertise collectively.

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Backside line

Washington, D.C., is filled with museums, historic sights and enjoyable out of doors areas good for a visit with youngsters. All the Smithsonian museums provide interactive reveals and interesting actions for kids.

Touring with youngsters to the district is each enjoyable and academic, as it may possibly carry youngsters’ lessons to life. There are numerous alternatives to run, discover, study and play.

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