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What Best to See - DC in Early August with Young Children

What Best to See - DC in Early August with Young Children

Old Jul 20th, 2003, 06:43 PM
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What Best to See - DC in Early August with Young Children

We are traveling to Washington DC in early August and would appreciate any advice on the "must sees" for our group. We will be a group of three adults and three children (boy - 10 years, girl - 7 years, 10 mo. old boy). One adult is a sitter for the baby, but will join the rest of the group with the baby when convenient. We will be there three nights and two full days. Our accomodations are about 5 blocks from the White House. We would appreciate any advice on the best places to visit during our limited time there. Thanks.
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 05:16 AM
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Hi,

Here are some thoughts for kids:

National Zoo (I'm not a kid and I LOVE the zoo!)

Museum of Natural History (the dinosaurs, and an Insect exhibit)

Air and Space Museum

Paddle boats on the tidal basin (to get a good view of the Jefferson Memorial)

Washington Monument and the White House

The Spy Museum

Washington Dolls' House and Toy Museum

Hope this helps!

Karen
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Karen has given you an excellent list! I have only one addition: if the lines to go up the Washington Monument are long (and they usually are), skip that in favor of the Post Office Pavillion a few blocks away. You can get lunch or a snack in either the Food Court or a restaurant there (it's a very small shopping mall), then take the elevator to the Tower, which offers great 360-degree views (although it isn't as high as the Washington Monument). Any line is likely to be short. There's a nominal fee involved, I can't recall what it is.
Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 08:12 AM
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I highly recommend taking your kids to the Postal Museum (it's part of the Smithsonian) which is located directly across the street from Union Station (there a metro stop there). It's not overwhelming like some museums can be for young people. There are lots of hands on and interactive things for kids to do. Interesting for adults too. It remains my daughter's (she's 12 now) favorite Smithsonian stop.

I'm not sure I'd take kids that young to the Spy Museum. It might engage a 10 year old but I think it's going to be a snooze for the 7 year old. And no strollers are allowed. I'd skip it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 08:40 AM
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"Thumbs up" here on "E"'s and OBXGirl's suggestions. There was no charge and no line at the Post Office Pavilion building Clock Tower when I was there early June. See the bells too on your walk (partially) down. Located across the street from the Federal Triangle Metro stop.

The Postal Museum (a different building next to Union Station) is very interesting, and has an outlet selling older stamps if you've got a budding stamp collector in the family. Kids (and adults) seem to enjoy sending the free (but not the postage) postcards and this history of the postal system is more interesting than you'd think. Visit Union Station next door do see how grand Rail stations once were, and there's a decent food court there as well as a Pizzeria Uno's upstairs overlooking the concourse.

The Paddle boats would be a hit with the kids -- you might wish to walk around the Tidal Basin stopping at Jefferson, FDR, & Lincoln memorials afterwards.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 04:41 AM
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Hi Dad,

Nobody mentioned the Bureau of Engraving and Printing! Cool tour (go in afternoon for the free A/C). Line up about 7:45 to get 8:00 am free tix (you can chose what time to come back for tour).

As for the Washington Monument, get tix online at nps.gov (few bucks). We did that and got the 9:30 tour, no waiting for tix and minimal waiting for the tour to begin. I would skip most indoor places with the baby, strollers are a big pain in DC, many places won't let you in with them. You are so smart to bring a babysitter!

If you get a chance, see Arlington Cemetary, the kids are old enought to get it, and you will find it a moving place. (buy tourmobile tix, the place is huge!). Have a blast and try to stay cool.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 06:30 AM
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My little girl always wants to see the memorabilia from the Wizard of Oz (ruby slippers, scarecrow costume).... It's been on tour, but I believe it's now back in the Smithsonian (whatever they call the museum with the big flag!!).
And definitely the natural history museum. We didn't like the zoo much - and it'a bit out of the way, but we loved the DC Aquarium...
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 11:52 AM
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What are your kids interested in? When we took our 8yr and 4yo recently, I checked out books from the library (especially Eyewitness guides - lots of good pictures) to help us decide what to do in our limited time. It was a good exercise for them - they chose to pass up the dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum so they'd have time to see things they could ONLY see in DC (same with the National Zoo - the pandas were the only big draw for us, and they saw those in San Diego).

The Air & Space museum was the favorite; we spent hours there. We visited all the monuments (you can purchase tickets for the Washington monument ahead of time). We spent a couple of hours at the National Gallery of Art & the Natural History Museum (mostly the gems and rocks display). Surprisingly to me, the kids weren't thrilled with the American History museum (the flag wasn't on display when we were there). Since the museums on the mall are free, it's easy to pop in and out of museums, making brief visits if you want.

The kids seemed to like the Postal Museum, but a lot of the supposedly interactive exhibits were not working when we were there. They also enjoyed Union Station - we had breakfast there, then walked to the capitol for a personal tour (the 8yr liked that, as did I) - pointing out the Supreme Ct. on the way - then finished off with the Postal Museum.

My 8yr could have spent years in the Spy Museum, though it's not quite so educational as the national museums, and a lot more expensive! It is, however, open later than the other museums, so you could fit it in during the evening, if you're feeling masochistic.

We had picnic lunches on the Mall, which is a great way to let off steam. We would have visited the Hirschhorn sculpture garden, except it was rainy when we were there.

On the monuments, we visited the FDR memorial at night one evening. For the rest, we took a cab to the Lincoln Memorial, then walked from there to the Washington Memorial (we did miss the Korean Memorial), then over to the Jefferson Memorial. This route lessened the walking time for our youngest.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 12:01 PM
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The Wizard of Oz things (as well as Archie Bunker's armchair, the Fonz's leather jacket, etc.) are in the Museum of American History, the one with the big flag. Another perennial favorite is the giant elephant in the Museum of Natural History.
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