You might also read 10 More Things To Do in Washington DC With Kids
Wow, what a great #MOMtravelchat Twitter party we had with the Smithsonian, our first ever paid sponsor. Washington DC was the topic of the evening. Local parents and travel experts chimed in with advice on taking kids to visit the U.S. capitol and visiting its many famous museums. Staff from the Smithsonian were also on hand to answer questions, share news and offer tips to parents for visiting its more than 15 free museums with kids.
Our Best Tips for Seeing Washington DC With Kids
Between the central capitol district and its diverse neighborhoods, DC has a lot to see. One dad said he “would like to do historical geocaching that takes us through the city.”
From the carousel on the National Mall to Clemy Jontri playground across the Potomac, you can find things to do with kid any age. One mom pointed at that at 7 or 8 kids start to appreciate and understand the history behind what they’re seeing. Mara Gorman from Mother of All Trips added that her kids really enjoyed The Archives “My youngest was thrilled to see Constitution.”
“Did you know the Washington Monument has a cast? From an earthquake a while back. Something to look for when you visit!
Which Smithsonian Museums?
Many parents mentioned American History, Air & Space, Natural History, and the zoo as big hits with kids.
Q?rius is a relatively new interactive experience at the Natura History Museum. Moms say it’s great for tweens and teens. Natural History now has teen docents, too.
Because the Smithsonian museums are free, several saw a visit to the mall as a great no-risk opportunity to explore the art, ethnic culture and history museums, too.
One mom said she would wouln’t miss the National Portrait Gallery and the Hirschorn, too!” Gorman said that learning stories about the people in the paintings helped her kids appreciate the portrait gallery.
We took Tiny Traveler to the Hirschorn, where the modern art amused and sometimes baffled but definitely didn’t bore her. Her uncensored comments on the art might not have pleased the artists but they made our visit pretty amusing.
The National Museum of the American Indian is worth visiting, especially near lunch time. The menu at Mitsitam Cafe is awesome for the parents, and there are burgers for the kids, if they don’t want to try the Native American-inspired fare.
Tips To Help Your Kids Like Museums
Explore before you go:
Checking out virtual tours and other online resources before a visit can help to get kids excited about what they will see, parents said.
You can also download apps that will guide you through the galleries, offer tips and let you see events going while you are there, too. For her school-age kids, Gormanvtries to tie museum visits to what her kid are learning in school.
Make it Interactive:
One mom said her favorite thing is to “Bring crayons and paper to the art museums. It’s always quiet at African Art for drawing.”
Look for interactive kiosks, too. And Gorman notes, “My kids (culture buffs both) love audio guides that are just for them.”
Some museums offer scavenger hunts. “You need to keep kids moving or they get bored,” one mom note. The Smithsonian said more scavenger hunts are coming to its museums. And offered this one as an example.
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