There are plenty of family friendly, and kid-centric, activities in D.C.  Here are some ideas for a family friendly day.

  1. The National Zoo is free, easily accessible by Metro, and a favorite among kids and adults.  If you are going to the zoo by Metro, get off at Cleveland Park instead of Woodley Park – Zoo/Adams Morgan.  The Zoo is exactly between the two Metro Stations, but it is downhill from Cleveland Park and uphill from Woodley Park.  Get off at Cleveland Park and walk downhill to the zoo. When you leave the zoo, walk downhill to Woodley Park.
  2. All the Smithsonian Museums have exhibits that are tailored to kids.  Not only are the permanent exhibits curated with kids in mind, there are special exhibits that are specifically for kids.  These generally have a hands on component or demonstrations from a Smithsonian employee. If you decide to go to one of the museums on the mall, stop for a ride on the carousel by the Smithsonian Castle.  
  3. The paddle boats at the Tidal Basin are a fun activity.  The views of the Jefferson Memorial are the best from the Tidal Basin and it is fun to be out on the water.  There are machines on the dock where you can buy fish food and there is not a shortage of wildlife to eat it.  Fish, ducks, geese, and even the occasional swan are not out of place visitors around the boat dock.
  4. The National Cathedral is home to a lot more than buttresses and vaulted ceilings.  It is the home of the “moon window” so named because it houses a piece of moon rock brought back by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.  To continue with the space theme, one of the gargoyles might look very familiar, if you have seen Star Wars. Do not miss the gargoyle Darth Vader on your trip to the cathedral.
  5. Even though it is not in D.C., Gravelly Point, in Arlington Virginia is a great place to take kids.  This park is located close to Reagan National Airport and the planes landing and taking off at the airport fly directly over the park. Bring some snacks, a blanket, and sit back and watch.

A lot of places in D.C. do special events for kids.  For instance, the Zoo has a trick or treating night, an Easter egg hunt, and during December it is open late and for Zoo lights.  There is also trick or treating at the embassies on, or near, Halloween and the Easter Egg roll at the White House. Check the attraction’s website to see if something is going on while you are in town.

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