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Trip Report DC with Kids Trip Report

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So we went to DC for spring break. Obviously, there are major pluses and minuses about going there the week after EAster. Like the fact that the cherry blossoms could be in bloom and that there will be a ton of jr and high school students there on tours with their classmates for their spring break. ugh. But--its such an awesome place and that was the week we had, so we went!

My kids are 10 and 7. We are from Salt Lake City, so a 2 hour time difference. We flew into BWI and rented a car--it was so much cheaper than flying into DC. Like, beyond cheaper! We stayed at the Residence Inn on Duke Street in Alexandria--again, way cheaper than the one on Dupont Circle and it has a POOL!!! The hotel was great--friendly staff, just a block from Whole Foods, 2 blocks to the Metro, and Alexandria has a ton of restaurants. We never attempt to eat breakfast in the dining room--we just get breakfast foods and eat in the room which is much easier. The hotel was very crowded with families just like us!

Day One: it was supposed to be warmish, so we opted to see all the monuments. We made a big loop starting at Washington and around to Lincoln then to Jefferson. Somehow we missed the Vietnam Memorial--husband and I have seen it before so we were ok. The Lincoln never, ever fails to amaze me. It is truly awe inspiring and to stand on the steps where Dr. King stood is something else. We stopped for lunch at one of the food stands because I wasn't walking blocks to look for something else to eat. Then the Korean memorial, which really brought home how young and exhausted those men were. The MLK monument was just awesome. So very awesome. Wow!!! FDR was good-but almost more like a museum. It really did bring home all that he did for our country. The idea that the president would give inspiring chats once a week--just so different when all we had were radios. By the time we got to Jefferson, the weather turned and it was cold and windy and rainy. I like the Jefferson monument better at night. All those poor people on paddle boats in the Tidal Basin were getting blown around in the waves! That took us a good 3 hours I think including lunch.

Then, my son and husband went through the Natural HIstory museum. My daughter was done so she and I headed back to the hotel via the trusty Metro. Dinner that night was take out from Quattro Formagio, which was pretty good.

Day 2: The Zoo. We got to see a panda eating bamboo and the gorgeous gorilla family. Nuff said!! I think that's the last time we make the zoo a must see. (this is our second time to DC). We did the trick where you get off the Metro up hill of the zoo and walk down to the entrance. I thought we could walk out the back of the zoo and go downhill to the other metro stop. Nope, we had to climb back up the stupid zoo hill to the main entrance and then to the Metro. Hint-----Walk past all of the exhibits to the END of the zoo. Then you can stop off to see things as you make your way back to the entrance. That way, when you are done, you are right there, ready to leave! We had lunch in the zoo, which is atrocious, but convenient. Dinner that night was take out from Whole Foods.

Day 3: The American History Museum. Awesome museum and so much fun. We really enjoyed it. Hint--out the back door of the museum on constitution avenue, there are vendors. We had the best dang street hot dogs!!!! Much better than waiting in that crazy cafeteria line. Dinner that night was at Eamonns Dublin Chipper. Oh my. That was fantastic. Just get there early or you won't get a seat.

Day 4: Mt Vernon. Easy drive from the hotel. The kids really liked it. See if your local library has the book "George Washington's Cows". My cousin gave it to us for a birthday gift and my kids loved it--its more of a picture book. It has great scenes of life at Mount Vernon and my kids kept relating the book to the real thing. Lucky for us, spring means baby animals. Lots of lambs there--so cute!! And one of the hogs had 7 piglets--they were beyond cute in a little piggy pile. The museum and education center were really great. It is a very peaceful place and not so crowded once you get out of the mansion. I really enjoyed it. Dinner was from Cosi--I wanted a salad. It was good. We got timed tix on line the day before--smart move.

Day 5: Baltimore Aquarium. We got timed tix online that morning. Good idea. This was something else. It was opening day for the Orioles so parking was interesting. The Aquarium was PACKED. Like you could barely see the exhibits. We all really liked the dolphin demonstration--reallly neat. But it was so crowded you could barely see--not the best day. AFter the aquarium, my husband and son went on the nearby submarine. Dinner was at Houlihanns nearby. Serviceable.

Day 6: We walked to Old Town Alexandria and went through the Torpedo Factory. AWESOME. The small archeology museum is not to be missed. And my kids loved the various art items. We wanted to see more, but we got side tracked!! And then it was time to drive back to BWI.

We probably could have packed in more if we got up earlier, but 7 am DC time is like 5 am for us, so that was NOT happening. If I would change one thing, it would have been to put in a day of rest in there somewhere. We really went non stop and got really tired. We liked everything we saw, but it was a bit much to be going all the time. We were in bed by 9 and up by 8! We didn't have the energy to go out for dinner, which is too bad, but I can't really relax at dinner with kids anyway. The only time the Metro was a pain was when we went to the zoo--because it really is a ways away. Otherwise, it was wonderful staying in Alexandria!

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