Nov 17, 2014

Visiting Washington DC with Young Kids

We live just a short drive away from Washington DC which is number one on my husband's top 10 cities to visit in the world. Until this weekend we've never made the trip since I thought my kids were too young to enjoy DC. Why did we decide to go? My cousin was in DC visiting from Australia who I haven't seen in 3 years so regardless of my kids' ages we went.

I'm so glad we did.

Not only was it great to see Chis and Alex we had a wonderful time! We were there for a short trip so there were many things that we didn't get to do but we hit the most important ones on our list.

Mark and Chris saying goodbye

I will say if you're not willing to walk miles and miles a day, Washington DC is not the trip for you. in 2.5 days we walked 14 miles. Yes my kids walked the entire time even when they whined that they were tired. I will say the promise of going swimming at the hotel pool at the end of the night ended the "I'm too tired" whining instantly.

Things that worked for our kids.

My kids really liked the Washington Monument even though we didn't get to go to the top. They loved looking at it and there is a really cool tree for climbing close to the monument. My kids played on that tree for 20 minutes which was a perfect break for them to have fun and let loose. Plus we were headed to the WWII memorial and Lincoln Memorial after that where they needed to be a little quieter.

Going from the Washington Monument, to WWII, to Lincoln was a great plan. Not only are they in a row but it gave my kids just enough time to play before they needed to be calm and quiet.

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum was a stop everyone loved. There are so many cool things for the kids to touch and see up close. Our last stop of the trip was Arlington Cemetery and I'm going to brag for a minute here. We talked about how Arlington was sacred and that they couldn't talk above a whisper the entire time we were there. My kids were either silent or whispering the whole time we were there which was 2 hours!

Don't tell me miracles don't happen.

The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was amazing to watch. We were all fascinated and we got to see a wreath laying ceremony as well.

Things That Didn't Work for my Kids

We went on a tour of the White House. Write your Congressman to get a tour - it is awesome. Just know that little kids could care less. And watch your kids while you're there. I turned my back on my son just long enough for him to slide under the ropes into a restricted access section of the White House. Secret Service was much nicer about than I thought they would be.

We toured the Capital Building and then went to the Library of Congress. None of my kids like the Capital tour and I thought it was pretty boring as well. Except when Speaker John Boehner walked by us and then his aids came by with huge bags of Popeye's Chicken. I don't know why but my kids thought that was hilarious. My 6 year old liked the Library of Congress but the twins at 4 wanted to leave the second we got there.

Finally the Thomas Jefferson Memorial was a miss. We went on the last day and it was freezing cold being there on the water.

Why You Should Take Your Kids

The city is absolutely beautiful! I haven't been to DC in years and I forgot it's beauty. Seeing DC in the fall for the first time was great even though it was really cold our last day.

Your kids will learn something at every single turn. Take pictures of the things you want to remember and look at them every night for about a week. That will imprint the memories for your kids.

Almost everything you do is free! We didn't pay for a single venue! Which makes DC an affordable trip for families.

Even though some things were boring for my kids, I'm glad we went. Everyone had a great time and I loved taking my husband to DC for the first time. It was fun watching him experience it. Add DC to your list of cities to visit.

Have you ever taken your kids to DC? What did they like the most?


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