Visiting Washington D.C. can be a very exciting and fun experience. The Smithsonian museums are favorites for parents and children of all ages (and parents have free admission). The National Air & Space Museum (Independence Avenue at 4th Street) offers the largest collection of air and spacecraft in the world.
Preferred locations are the original 1903 Wright Flyer, the Spirit of Saint Louis, touching the command module of Apollo 11, and a sample of lunar rock. The shows at the planetarium and the IMAX theater are rivaling any blockbuster movie or theater show.
The U.S. Natural History Museum (Constitution Avenue and 10th Street) is also a families’ favorite. The museum boasts dinosaurs, whales, sharks, and shows the legendary Hope Diamond. The Discovery Room at the Museum of Natural History is a rehearsal space for families and students. The room features activities using real objects and artifacts of the museum. Your children can feel the skin of a crocodile or try on clothes from another country.
You may also want to learn all about different cultures in the U.S. National Museum of the American Indian (Independence Avenue and 4th Street), where you can enjoy Native American objects dating back to ancient pre-Columbian civilizations as well as objects from more recent times, or get excited at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum (1901 Fort Place) where objects relating to African-American culture are showcased. The National Zoo in D.C. (3001 Connecticut Ave NW) boasts over four hundred different animal species from across the globe including very popular pandas.
You may also take your children to Arlington National Cemetery and the grave of the Unknown Soldier or for the changing of the guard that occurs hourly from November to March and every half hour from April to October. To learn all about Flowerdew 100, a great Virginia Historic Landmark, check out this post by clicking on the link. For the History of Flowerdew, click here.
For budding artists, Washington DC is a selection of inspiration. The National Portrait Gallery (Eighth and F Streets, NW) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and F Streets NW) display famous portraits and the largest collection of American art in the world. The Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (corner of Seventh Street and Independence Avenue SW) has modern and contemporary art. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (950 Independence Avenue, SW) is characterized by contemporary art and ancient Africa. Smithsonian Freer Gallery (Jefferson Drive at 12th Street, NW) hosts a collection of world-class art from the East (Japan, Korea, China) and the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery (1050 Avenue Independence, SW) exhibits ancient Asian, Chinese, and Near East art combined.
No one can resist the view of the printing of real money at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (14th & C Streets, N).
What child would not be a spy? The International American Spy Museum (800 F Street, NW) is the only public museum in the world dedicated solely to espionage. The museum offers an interesting perspective into this exciting, invisible profession. It has the largest collection of international spy-related artifacts ever placed on public display.
Everyone has their favorite monument in Washington DC, and the Washington Monument (15th Street, SW) is a favorite of children. Take the elevator to the top of the monument of the first president of our nation, and enjoy the sights to see from a bird’s eye view. Just north of the Washington Monument are the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.