Smithsonian with a toddler

Old May 28th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Smithsonian with a toddler

We are headed to Washington, DC this afternoon and I am planning on taking my two year old daughter to the Smithsonian tomorrow. We will most likely be in the Museum of Natural History. I was reading the "rules" and it says no bag lunches. Does that mean I can't bring in her snack type food (milk, crackers, fruit) that I carry in her diaper bag? They also seem to discourage backpacks, but I can't not bring the diaper bag. How big of a hassle can I expect?

Any other tips for taking a probably too young child to the Smithsonian? I have visited several times myself, so I am not going to push seeing anything in particular. We have tickets to see the butterfly exhibit.

eastave is offline  
Old May 28th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Don't worry about it-put her snacks in the diaper bag. They'll probably peek inside it whenyou walk in, but it shouldn't raise any red flags. Many places have a "no-backpack" rule but few enforce it, except for giant 6 weeks in Europe type bags.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:49 AM
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I tried to post this yesterday, but it doesn’t seem to be showing up. My apologies if it posts twice...
Thanks for the information. I did as you said, and it isn't a big deal at all. We had a great time. Of course, she was more interested in running up and down the ramps at the museum, but she had fun.

Here are a few of the things we did for future reference for people with small children:

We stayed at the Phoenix Park hotel by Union station - my husband was at a conference over there. It was ok.

Day 1: We ate at an Au Bon Pain. They have oatmeal there, which DD likes. This was our first trip without a kitchenette. We walked to the mall and played with rocks. We got there an hour before anything opened at 10. When your kid gets up at 6:30, it would be nice if the museums opened a little earlier! We rode the carousel and checked out the Natural history museum. It was overrun by school groups. We went through the butterfly exhibit - that was a big hit. We ate in the basement cafeteria. It wasn't bad. We got some pizza, fruit and milk. After nap we went to the air and space museum and on the carousel again - had to like the thing that cost money! We met DH at Rosa Mexicano on 7th st. We sat outside. They had high chairs and plastic cups for milk. DD really liked the guacamole. We had a great meal. It was nice finding a place she could go that we enjoyed eating at too.

Day 2: DD and I went over to Kalorama park in Adams Morgan. It was the one playground I could find that we could get to by public transit. I am sure there are others, but this was a nice place to play for the morning. We went to The Diner for lunch (on 18th). They have a typical kids menu, but also have nice sides - broccoli and green beans. It was a nice place to eat alone with a 2 year old. We had dinner that night at Jaleo on 7th. It is a fabulous tapas place. They have high chairs, and managed to scrounge up a plastic cup for DD milk. (They first brought it in a tall thin glass - yikes) DD wasn't as fond of tapas, so it wasn't quite as relaxing as the Mexican dinner. But the food was really good. After dinner we walked back to the Mall and there was jazz in the sculpture garden. DD had a great time kicking her legs in the fountain.

Day 3: We were up early as usual and all went to the zoo. The grounds open at 6am. We were there a little before 8:30. It was wonderful. It wasn't too hot, and wasn't crowded at all. We got a good look at most of the animals we wanted to see before the crowds showed up and the buildings opened. They have a petting zoo/farm where kids can go in the corral with a few donkeys and goats and pet them and brush them. DD loved that part. We ate lunch at middle-eastern place near the Cleveland park metro that was truly mediocre. Later in the afternoon (after a big thunderstorm) we walked back to the Mall and went into the Natural History museum again. It was still very crowded, but this time there were two adults to keep track of DD. We had dinner at Pizzeria Pardiso at Dupont Circle (thanks for the recommendation in this board). It was very good. The topping selection was a little different than what I am used to, but the pizza was great.

Day 4: We went back to Kalorama park and then headed to the airport.
eastave is offline  
Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 07:15 AM
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Thanks for the report. Sounds like you had a good time. You spent a lot of time in my daughter's neighborhood!

FYI, in the summer, many of the Zoo buildings open earlier than the official 10:00 time; when I was there two weeks ago, the small mammal house (one of our favorites) was open by 8.

Also, the zoo is downhill from the Cleveland Park station and uphill from the Woodley Park station. So to save energy, use the former when you arrive and the latter when leaving!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 07:42 AM
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"We walked to the mall and played with rocks." And that's probably the part she'll remember!

Sounds like you had a great trip. Thanks for posting.
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Old Jun 7th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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"Also, the zoo is downhill from the Cleveland Park station and uphill from the Woodley Park station. So to save energy, use the former when you arrive and the latter when leaving!"

Oh, how I wish I'd known this before we trudged uphill in the heat of the day last Sunday! A few sources I checked simply said access zoo from Cleveland Park or Woodley Park, not giving the details of uphill or downhill. Oh well, always next time.
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