Traveling with kids can sometimes be straining, because most activities revolve around them, and in turn adults get bored. Washington D.C. is full of rich history and must-see attractions for those with a love of history and exploring. It’s a great place for fun, family-friendly activities at an affordable cost, as most of the sites are free of charge.
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The Spy Museum is a unique museum focused on the history of spy technology including 200 weapons, cameras, and gadgets from agencies like the KGB. What makes this museum unique is the interactive aspect. Check out the scavenger hunt adventure — a one-hour mission for the family to immerse themselves in the world of spies while learning in the process.
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Mount Vernon is home to George Washington’s colonial mansion. Explore the estate and take in the preserved living area of our first President. The mansion has more to see than pristine rooms; bring the family on some of the tours and activities. Explore the gristmill and Washington’s distillery with live demonstrations. Traverse the outbuildings where meat-curing and laundry took place, including a working blacksmith shop.
United States Botanic Garden
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Enjoy the display of four thousand plants that the Botanic Garden has to offer, including endangered species like the Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis). Walk through the glass-enclosed garden rooms and the two courtyard areas. Children can be entertained with garden tools and a junior botanist scavenger hunt. Explore the desert oasis, primeval garden, and plant adaptation garden displays.
Rock Creek Park
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Stop by Rock Creek Park for a free ranger-led exploration of the solar system and galaxy at the planetarium. Featured in the Washington, D.C., landmark guide is Rock Creek Park’s 2 miles of trail activities, which greatly help to burn off your kids’ energy. Go biking, horseback riding, and walking through the trails. Before you leave, exercise by playing some golf or tennis on the grounds.
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Visit the free-admission National Zoo’s 1,500 animals, including the famous giant pandas. Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Bei Bei are the zoo’s most beloved occupants. Prepare your visit by meeting them via the 24-hour Giant Panda Cam where you can watch a live stream of the pandas in action. Visit low-cost attractions like the Zoo Tubes, a tubing slide experience. Scamper over to the Small Mammal House to meet teeny-tiny uncommon residents that are sure to tug at your heartstrings.
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Explore the 17 free museums the Smithsonian has to offer. Stop by The National Air and Space Museum and enjoy the permanent collections like the aircraft, spacecraft, and lunar rockets. Take a trip to the National Museum of American History to take in some interactive features and pop culture activities. On display are Harry Potter’s Hogwarts’s robe, The Warner Bros. Theater, and a replica of Julia Child’s kitchen.
Appreciate your time as a family in Washington, D.C., without feeling overwhelmed by countless children-centered activities. There’s a lot to see, so don’t try to do it all in one day.
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