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DC trip end of June two adults, kids 10-14, good itinerary?

DC trip end of June two adults, kids 10-14, good itinerary?

Jan 13th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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DC trip end of June two adults, kids 10-14, good itinerary?

Family with three kids 10-14 looking for things the kids will really enjoy, preferrably hands on, if possible, for two full days only in the downtown DC area. We will be there in the very end of June. What is closed for renovations these days? Is it possible to see the WHite House?
kendu is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 05:19 PM
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Doing the DC/Williamsburg combo, right?
You'll have a blast. Are you doing DC before or after Wmsbg. Sundays can be the best time to find parking in DC. Its usually awful anytime but especially on weekdays. It is especially limited for SUV's Many of the garages won't accomodate them. The air and space museum is wonderful. Get there when it opens and you will have a jump on the crowds. If your family likes zoos you would enjoy the National Zoo. It is a fairly easy, short drive from the Mall.
Birdie is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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My boys always enjoyed the outdoors memorials - Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, etc. One of their classes for a trip to DC had to look up a name on the Vietnam Wall - either someone they knew killed, similar name to theirs, particular town, or just random pick. They then wrote a letter to that person, found the name on the panel on the Wall, and left their letter. The letters were really moving, and it was a touching experience for 5th graders and got them involved. Definitely go to Air & Space, and Natural History Smithsonians, the zoo, and the Bureau of Engraving where they print money. The FBI, and White House are great if opened. Have fun!
Momof3boys is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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You need to call your Congressperson or Senator as far in advance as possible and see if they can get White House tix for you. It is now open again for public tours, but they've set lots of complicated rules and they fill up far in advance. If you're interested in a Capitol tour, they should be able to schedule one for you easily.

Air and Space, as has been mentioned, is always a hit with kids, esp. boys. American History and Natural History are also great. The Zoo is fantastic but will take you away from downtown- depends how much time you have. Holocaust Museum is incredible, but a very intense experience. I don't think your kids are too young for it, but you'll have to decide whether you think they'd appreciate it.

I'm sure your kids would also like the Washington Monument. And the Spy Museum is fairly new and very popular - it's not part of the Smithsonian so it does cost money, but people seem to love it.

DC has great hop on/hop off tour buses that can take you around all day to the major sites - that might be a good way to make the most of your time.
CircleK is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 08:40 AM
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Are any of the on off buses that tour the city any better than others? Also, is the capitol of interest to early teens?
kendu is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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I'm biased because I work for Congress, but I think the Capitol is fascinating, and it's a gorgeous building. If your kids are interested in history or are studying government in school, I would think they would find it very interesting - it just depends what they're into. If you're in town on or before June 25, Congress will be in session and they can sit in the gallery and watch the floor debate. After the 25th, they'll be on a weeklong recess.

As for tour buses, a lot of people seem to like Tourmobile (www.tourmobile.com). You can also do trolley tours or an amphibious part land/part water tour on DC Ducks - your kids might enjoy that (www.historictours.com/washington/).

You might get better info from someone who's used a tour company more recently - it's been many years since I did!
CircleK is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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kendu - the "Tourmobile" is the least expensive company, and is the only one that can drive within Arlington National Cemetary (of course, you could walk within it). The downside is that they operate with the shortest routes, not going much out of the way from just east of the Capital to Arlington Cemetary, and from N of the Whitehouse & Union Station, to S of the Jefferson Memorial. I think it's totally adequate.

The other companies will have more locations, some going over to Georgetown and/or Dupont Circle.

Some of the narrators/tourguides are better than others (for any company)... change buses if you don't like yours.

I believe the Tourmobile was about $20 in November.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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We took our son to DC when he was 11. His favorite activities were the Natural History Smithsonian Museum {but overdosed after a while!}, FBI tour, National Zoo, and the Holocaust Museum, especially after reading "Daniel's Story" and touring Daniel's "house".

We visited the end of June. It was VERY hot. Not a problem in the air-conditioned buildings, but easy to wilt at the outdoor exhibits at the zoo.
Molly2 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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They trick to visiting the zoo in the summer is to go EARLY. Although the buildings open at 10, the grounds themselves open at 6 AM and you can walk around while the animals are still active, often having breakfast. If you go in the mid-day heat, lots of the animals, having more sense than people, will be hiding out in their coolest corners, napping.

Another useful tip for visiting the zoo -- the entrance is about halfway between the Woodley Park and Cleveland Park Metro stops. This is a hilly part of DC, so when you go to the zoo, ride one stop past Woodley to Cleveland (even though Woodley is the official Zoo stop) because then the walk from the Metro to the zoo will be downhill! Then when you leave, turn left out the exit, and walk downhill to the Woodley Park stop.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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Don't miss the Spy Museum--it is my son's absolute favorite thing in Washington DC. It is very popular, and they only let a certain number of people in every 1/2 hour, so go early and stand in line. We showed up about 30 minutes before opening and were the last 2 people let in for the first group.
My son's other favorite thing is the Air and Space Museum--we actually spent 2 days there as I could not drag him away.
RachelG is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 12:21 PM
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Just one other thing, since a previous poster mentioned it - the FBI is still closed to public tours unfortunately.
CircleK is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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Thanks so much, great tips. Anyone actually do the Explorers Hall National Geographic? Holocaust Museum, Postal Museum? Interesting for kids?
kendu is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Postal Museum (next to Union Station) good for kids & adults. Didn't mention Holocaust museum, as it could be too much for younger kids, altho they do have an exhibit more for younger kids there ... are your kids interested in the Holocause? If so, then go. Also stop at the Postal Pavilion (across the street from Federal Triangle Metro Stop) for free tour of the Clock Tower, where you can get next best view of DC than the Washington Monument. The building has an interesting history too, and a decent food court (altho Union Station's food court better).
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Your family will love DC! The Postal Museum has a lot of hands on activities for the kids. CircleK is correct, contact your congressperson or senator and ask them to arrange tours for you. They will set up your tours to the White House, Bureau of Printing and Engraving, FBI, Capitol, and the National Archives. Doing this in advance allows you to avoid many long lines and saves you time.
hawaiimom is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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I visited the DC area in August a couple of years ago with friends. It was extremely humid. We looked for things to do inside at every turn. I'm going again in April, this time with my mother and 12 year old son. Some of the things I will be including that will interest my son are the Air and Space Museum, the Spy Museum(which wasn't there last time), the Nautural History Museum, American History Museum, all of the monuments, Mt. Vernon, the National Cathedral (one of my favorites), and the Holocaust Museum (for my mother). I emailed my senator and representatives for tickets to the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Senator Barbara Boxer emailed back immediately. I didn't hear from the others. She sent a large envelope with a Welcome to Washington guide, a pamphlet about the United States Senate, and three tickets to visit the House and Senate chambers. We were told that they are unable to book tours until one month prior to the dates we requested. Once they have received confirmation of our tours from the facilities, they said they will send us a full itinerary. I would suggest giving specific dates of interest if you request these. I left many days open because I felt that may make it easier to get tickets, but now I have to wait to purchase advance tickets to other area attractions so that the dates and times don't conflict. So now we wait, but we are excited!
holly is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 06:43 AM
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FYI, Check the Smithsonian's web site for its Festival on the Mall. It's usually held in late June, early July. The festival highlights one city or area in America, and a couplbe of other countries. There are free entertainment, free activities (maybe a bit young for the 14 year-old), and food from the highlighted areas. People keep writing about the heat. Those who live here, know it's the humidity!
cheapalice is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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You're getting such good advice here! I'm just adding my (always!) humble opinions:
- the White House isn't such a fascinating tour unless you're into historic furnishings, so don't feel you're missing out if you can't get in, esp. w/kids. Just swing by and have a look at the outside. (The Capitol I think would be more interesting.)
-the zoo is really nice, but I'd skip it since you only have 2 days in the city--it will easily eat up a half day or more
-I would suggest making the monuments and certain museums your priority. It may be hot in June, but not as bad as later in the summer, so you should be able to be outdoors a lot. And the museums are all free, so you could plan to spend a few hours outside, a few indoors, etc.
-I like Air & Space and Natural History esp. for kids, also American History. Agree with Circle K about Holocaust--great, but intense, and you often have to wait in line for (free) tickets to get in. It wouldn't be my priority. Have mixed feelings about Printing and Engraving--long lines, limited fun. I'd spend more time at the outdoor memorials, myself.
-waiting to go up the Washington Monument can take hours; if you really want an aerial view, go to the Old Post Office Pavillion.
Lastly, 2 small tips: if you plunge into a very crowded museum, make a beeline away from the entrance to some of the more interior exhibits. People tend to bunch up at the front and travel in a giant pack, which you can easily avoid. And, the best cafeteria on the Mall is at the National Gallery.
E is offline  

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