Best Things to Do with Kids in Washington DC
Washington DC is filled with our national heritage and it is important for all ages to experience it! I know the thought of long days in the sun and in museums might not sound like the most relaxing vacation. But there are so many fun-filled activities and hands-on learning experiences that kids and teens will love. Check out our list of best things to do with kids in Washington DC before you start planning your vacation.
Photo Credit: Nonpartisan Pedicab
#1 Take a Pedicab Sightseeing Tour
On the map, all of the monuments in the National Mall look so close. I have made this mistake! It takes a long time to walk around and by the end, I was thinking more about my aching feet than the national heritage. A pedicab sightseeing tour is a really practical solution and it makes sightseeing with kids way easier. Nonpartisan Pedicab has private tours that are fun, educational, and memorable with lots of great photo opportunities. Their tours are completely customizable and flexible, so you can see everything you and your family wish to see.
#2 Smithsonian National Zoo
The Smithsonian National Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States! It has more than 300 different species of animals including giant pandas, elephants, Komodo dragons, lions, giraffes, bears, and orangutans. About 25 percent of the zoo’s residents are endangered. There are plenty of programs happening at the zoo, so you can talk with an animal keeper, visit the Kid’s Farm, or take a guided tour. The zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution, so admission is free.
#3 Natural History Museum
Kids and teens will love to see the full T. Rex skeleton, an enormous prehistoric white shark, saber-tooth tigers, and so much more. There is even an Insect Zoo where live insects are on display and tarantulas are publicly fed every day. Check out the Butterfly Museum where you can get up close to these beauties. The Discovery Room is a great hand-on display for young children where they can touch, examine, and interact with a bunch of cool stuff.
#4 Air and Space Museum
This is usually the favorite museum amongst children. There are many Discovery Stations throughout the museum that inspire hands-on learning. There are also IMAX films, planetarium shows, and simulators so you can experience the thrill of flying.
#5 American History Museum
This entire museum is very kid-friendly. Head to the information desk to find a guide that shares games and other interactive exhibits for kids to engage in. Then, head to the Spark! Lab, a hands-on science and invention center. There are also simulator rides that are available for a fee. For the really little ones, there is the Wegmans Wonderplace, specifically designed for kids 0 - 6 years old to climb, touch, and play.
#6 Rent a paddleboat at the National Mall
On a hot summer day, enjoy a lovely boat ride! The Tidal Basin has swan boats or paddle boats that are available for rent. You will get fantastic views of the Jefferson, Dr. King, and FDR Memorials. In March and April, you will also experience thousands of cherry trees in full bloom.
#7 Carousel on National Mall
As you are visiting the various museums, take a fun break and take the kids on a carousel ride on the National Mall. There are food and drink stands nearby so it’s the perfect spot for some refreshment.
If you have just one day to spend in Washington DC, then check out our DC in One Day tips!
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