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Washington DC itinary help

Old Jun 20th, 2006, 12:47 PM
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kgn
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Washington DC itinary help

We are coming to DC from July 1 - 5. I know it will be HOT! Two families kids (3, 6, 8, 9, 12)

This is what we want to see and need to how to group the sites together based on location and time. We are also looking for eating suggestions.

We arrive in the evening on the 1st so we thought a monumnet evening tour would be good.

we then have the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th and we want to see:
Air & Space Museum
Museum of American History
Arlington Cementary
Old Post office pavilion(instead of the
washington monument)
White House
Library of Congress
Ford Theater
The Capitol tour
Engraving & Printing

Thoughts and suggestions..........
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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If you mean seeing the INSIDE of the White House, you can't do that any more unless your congressperson or senator can get you into a group. That usually mea s writing well in advance; so it's probably too late. You also need advance reservations to be taken on a Capitol tour because of all the security requirements these days.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 01:47 PM
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kgn
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Underhill: Thank you I realize that I need to get passes (working on that from our congressman) I did not realize that we would be able to see the White House on the evening monument tour (I know we can not go in...but at least we can see it from outside!)
Any other help would be great!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Well, not only will it be hot, but crowded. The favorites (Air and Space, particularly) will be packed. Arlington Cemetery is good, WH & Capitol will be difficult, Library would be interesting. The Old Post Office is nothing special, but it does offer a food court. A better food court is located inside the Ronald Reagan building.

Bureau of Engraving is also popular so it may be crowded as well. I like the American History museum, but if the line's long and you have other stuff you really want to do, pass it. You won't be missing anything you'll regret not seeing.

I'd recommend the National Archives, but I imagine it too will be busy. The International Spy and FBI museums would be cool.

I'm also a fan of the Newseum, which talks about news gathering and dissemination. It's not in DC per se but across the Potomac in Virginia -- but still accessible via Metro, two blocks away from the Rosslyn station (Blue and Orange lines). Very interactive.

Besides that, I think the kids should see some living history in Georgetown. Great shopping and eating, if expensive. There is a mall on M street, and the C & O Canal is nice to traipse through. G'town is not accessible via Metro, but I there is a shuttle service from a couple of Metro stations:

http://www.georgetowndc.com/shuttle.php

The M Street Line is the one to take, for M is the primary commercial district in G'town.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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The Newseum has been closed for a few years as they are moving over to DC, but I cannot remember where, just not far from National Mall (what stores are there? lol)

Another option for Georgetown besides the Georgetown shuttle is the Circulator bus that runs between Union Station to GTown, and 2 other routes as well. http://dccirculator.com

I would consider taking Metro to Arlington Cem, then walking back to Lincoln. See Vietnam Mon then circle the Tidal basin counter clockwise (does anyone else use that term anymore) and try to take in FDR, Jefferson, and WWII monuments. Head E until you get to near Smithsonian stop then head north (or take Metro) to Old Post Office. You'll be ready for some Ben & Jerrys from the food court by that time! There will be sidewalk vendors too.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 02:54 PM
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We live in the DC area, have escorted many friends around, and had 9 & 13 yo cousins come to visit last year.

Unfortunately, the Newseum is closed -- they are moving from Rosslyn to downtown DC and the new site is still under construction. It is a fabulous place if you come back!

Int'l Spy Museum costs $$ to enter (it is not part of the Smithsonian), but my 9 yo nephew loved it.

Get to the ticket booth for Printing and Engraving EARLY (7 am isn't too early). They give out timed tickets for admission, and getting in line at 8:45 AM could get you tickets for 5 PM.

Took my 13 yo niece to the Holocaust Museum, which she found very moving. There is a section for younger kids (recommended age is 8), but it is still emotionally intense, esp. for adults.

Would recommend the Natural History Museum over Am Hist for your age group -- they are next door to each other. They have updated the animal exhibits and it is cool. Also has a bug exhibit!

There is a new Air & Space Museum annex out near Dulles Airport -- cost is free, but parking is $12 per car (pile in one vehicle!). It is a big airplane hangar with a lot of planes, one of the space shuttles, etc. Good place for kids to walk around and burn off energy, and the place is noisy so noone notices when kids are rowdy.

National Archives is cool, but the line is always long.

Arlington involves LOTS of walking, on hilly terrain. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony is very moving, but it will be hot. My niece and nephew both found the Vietnam Veterans Memorial more meaningful to them (and it's on the Mall, so you are still in the downtown area).

FDR Memorial is on the Tidal Basin -- you walk the perimeter of the Basin and get to see that plus Jefferson Memorial. (it's a one-hour stroll)

Old PO Pavilion is food & souvenirs.

The National Building Museum is cool and gets high marks from kids we've taken there.

My kids and niece liked the Museum of the American Indian very much -- which surprised me. It is next door to Air & Space.

Food -- There is a food court (including a McD's) in Air & Space downtown.

If you get WH Tour tickets, you are extraordinarily limited in what you can take inside (and they are NOT kidding). Forget about cameras, pocketbooks, backpacks, etc. -- and there is no place to store them. An alternative is the WH Museum/store, which has some historical displays and souvenirs, and is located around the corner.

You can get in line to get timed tickets for a public Congressional tour, but with five kids (and most places have a limit on how many tickets one person can request), you'll need a couple of folks standing in line. Contact your representative pronto and you may be able to line up a private tour -- and it gives the summer interns something to do. )

The National Zoo is free -- and get there early in the AM to see feedings and avoid the heat. Don't know what ticket availability is for pandas.

If you google the museums, etc., you can get most of the details and can reserve tickets for places that require them. These days, DC attractions are harder to navigate due to security issues (don't get me started).

Expect to navigate lots of detours and barricades on the Mall over the July 4th period as the National Park Service prepares for the fireworks, etc. One of the highlights of my niece's visit was the realization that the "perimeter" around the grounds of the Wash Monument consisted of chicken wire fencing and porta potties. Made for a great photo!

But seriously -- if you want to brave the crowds on the night of the 4th, the fireworks on the Mall are NOT to be missed.

Take breaks to feed, water and get air conditioning -- grouchy kids are no fun!! We found two "big" activities a day were plenty, esp. when we figured in the Metro ride from our house to downtown.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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I think Lori is right about the two big activities a day, particularly in the summer.

At Arlington, I'd take the Tourmobile around - I think it's $6 for adults and $3 for kids. As Lori points out, otherwise you'll be walking up some pretty steep hills. Do take time to stop at Arlington House, which was originally Robert E. Lee's house. You can look out his front porch across the Potomac to the Mall and Capitol, a beautiful sight, and good way to talk to history buffs about the decisions people made in the Civil War.

On a first trip to Washington, I wouldn't miss the Air & Space museum. Yes, it will be very crowded (be there at opening), but it's a wonderful museum. As Lori says, the American Indian museum is great. Very visual, which I think the kids would like. Many of these museums have info on their websites about things for kids, so check that out.

The view from the Old Post Office Bldg is good and I think it's better than waiting forever in line at the Washington monument. I was at the OPO Bldg recently and waited about 2 minutes for the elevator.

A number of exhibits at the American History Museum are closed or are closing in preparation for the entire building closing in September. If there's something that's a "must-see" for you there, check their website to make sure it's still open.

The zoo would be good if you went first thing in the morning. The animals are much more active in the morning, and the steep hill that is the zoo's main path would not be fun to do in the afternoon sun. The grounds open at 6 and many of the animals can be seen in their outside exhibits then. That includes the pandas - when I was there, their exhibit was open to non-ticket holders in the morning.

Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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Whatta great post, Lori.

yes, the National Building Museum is great, both for the building itself and for the constantly changing exhibits, one of which is almost always kid-oriented. So relaxing having a coffee, soda or lunch in the great hall with the fountain providing white noice. They ask for a donation but exert no pressure at all, but please donate what you think it worth; it's not part of the Smithsonian.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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The Spy museum is now $15 per adult. $14 if you are military or a spy.

Not cheap, and I won't go again... If it was $5 per person, I might go again.

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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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We did see Ford's theater again, was thinking about buying a ticket for one of our public servants!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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We hauled our kids around to all the museums when they were young, only to discover when they were 12-13 that they remembered very little of it.

The past couple of summers when we've had cousins come to visit, it's been like discovering DC all over again for them, and now that my kids are 14 & 15, there's a whole 'nother perspective for them on the places we visit.

There is a huge amount to see and do here, and it's easy to take it for granted when it's only a brief Metro ride away!
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:48 AM
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Air & Space Museum
Museum of American History
Arlington Cementary
Old Post office pavilion(instead of the
washington monument)
White House
Library of Congress
Ford Theater
The Capitol tour
Engraving & Printing

Wow! DC, you lucky person, you! I hope you have terrific time! Quick notes- Definitely go to the Air and Space Museum. Big hit with all ages- very impressive.
Skip America History and hit the Natural Science museum. It's a lot more interesting for kids- Dino bones, giant animals, interactive displays, etc. And for the adults, the jewelry/stone collection is fascinating, but that gets CROWDED quick (Hope Diamond), so head there first if you want to see it.

Old post office isn't terribly neat- but if you want the view, go and grab lunch at the food court-do double duty.

Since you have so many young kids with you spend as much time outside as possible. Arlington is great! DC is beautiful when it's sunny and best enjoyed outdoors near shade. Go to the FDR memorial!! Probably the best for kids, very neat with the water exhibits and quotes. Lincoln is cool, too.

Due to tightened security you can barely see the White House...

Library of Congress is great, very historic, usually peaceful.

I don't know your kids very well, but they're probably fairly active and prone to boredom. Skip E&P, Ford, etc.-kids don't usually understand "historic buildings", and these places will be crowded, more hassle than their worth. E&P made me feel claustrophobic last time- lots of people.

The Zoo and GT are definitely terrific ideas. Your kids will remember the flash, the colour, the oddities. They couldn't care less about wordy historical plaques.

Is the 12 year old a boy/girl? Kid or adult? If some the adults are able split up the group and take the oldest kid to the Holocaust Museum.It's fascinating, heartrending, horrifying... Definitely a must see if you haven't visited before, but I think it would be too much for the younger kids. Seriously. And you'll be dazed yourself, you don't want to have to answer their questions (the hardest, there are NO GOOD ANSWERS.

Pack around water, treats, and don't try to fit too much in. There's a good (and cheap) cafeteria, I think it's in the basement of the Ag building?

If all else fails, the Smithsonian gift shops are reeeaaally tempting, and bribery goes a long way.

Do the one museum one afternoon, the next the other afternoon and fit everything else around it. Smithsonian is definitely the place the kids will want to spend the most time...AND it's air conditioned.

So, I don't know what your group interests are or how many of you have been to DC before- I hope I've helped. I've tried to give you both kid and adult perspective (I'm 21, with young sibs.)

Best of luck- and have a great time!!!

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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:52 AM
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You have great suggestions - I'll just reiterate one - the ZOO! It is a beautiful, parklike zoo, and what kids don't like pandas? The zoo also has lots of new baby tigers. And did we mention that it's FREE?!

Note that the museums are open on the 4th, but the mall (the grassy area between the museums, the Capitol, etc will be JAMMED because people go there in the morning to stake spots for the fireworks. The metro in that area will be packed pretty much all day. Just something to think about.

Where are you staying?

Karen
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:53 AM
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Thanks everyone has been so helpful. I thought the Engraving & Printing was suppose to be great for kids? Should I skip that?
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 09:23 AM
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No strollers are allowed -- they will make you leave them in the lobby. E&P has elevated, enclosed walkways where you can look down at the employees doing their thing, the money coming off the presses, etc. The walls are not all glass, though, so one must be tall enough to look over the wall/crowds. Expect to have to carry the young/short kids so they can see. Depending on the tour guide, it can be interesting or routine.
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 02:19 AM
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We are planning on taking the boat out on the Potomac to view the fireworks. Does anyone know where the closest boat ramp or slip is on the VA side? Would the river even be a good idea? Any information would be helpful. Thanks!
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 04:01 AM
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If you are going to the zoo to see the pandas as kaudrey suggests above, you need a timed ticket (free on the website, or you can risk getting one of a small number handed out at the zoo each day), due to the volume of people coming to see the new baby. You get two minutes of viewing inside the Panda Habitat w/the timed ticket. If the pandas go outside, ticket holders get priority to see them there during busy times (it will be interesting to see how they do that- I have tickets for end of July).

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Gi...as/cubtickets/

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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 04:15 AM
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Hopefully things will be back to normal this weekend, but you may want to check www.washingtonpost.com for closures due to heavy rains and floods.
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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Your itinerary is very ambitous for a family touring with six kids. We have four and I've learned by experience that when its hot and you are doing a lot of walking, kids get tired very fast. The post office thing is nothing that great, you might want to skip it. Our kids spent a lot of time at the Air and Space Museum, they loved it. I noticed that no one mentioned the National Museum of the American Indian, its new, its cool, its right in the center of everything, and kids will love it. You might want to plan just one big museum a day as you can get hung up waiting in line at almost any venue. I also noticed that no one mentioned the National Gallery of Art, if you can, go to the west building and you can see many masterpieces right on the first floor that you can't see anywhere else. Hubby and the kids can sit on a couch there or in the cafe downstairs and rest while you look at the art. It is very cool and calm in there. Also the Spy Museum is cool, but you have to buy tickets ahead of time and they are expensive. check out the offical d.c. website for inexpensive restaurants so you won't have to wander around the city hungry, hot, and tired. Don't forget the sunscreen, hats, and waterbottles, too.
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Old Jun 28th, 2006, 05:48 AM
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I just got panda tickets for August and they say we have 15 min for viewing.
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