Short, fall, kid-friendly visit

We are taking a quick visit to D.C. for fall break. Our kids are 2, almost 4, and 8 year old boys and a 10 year old girl. We have a half day, 2 full days, and another half day in D.C. We are staying at the Greenbelt MD campground. We’ll use the Metro to get around. DD10 wants to see the zoo, DS8 the monuments and memorials but especially the Lincoln, Washington, White House, and Capitol Building, DH votes for Natural History Museum. So, a half day at Natural History (any longer and DS’s 2 and 4 will be bored, yes?), a zoo day, a Mall day, and then I get to choose another half day. Of course it all sounds good but considering our short, cheap, little-kids centered trip I’m looking at Air and Space, American History, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing as our best options. Any opinions which is best with 2, 4, 8, 10 yo’s and why? TIA for your thoughts!

ETA: We know we won’t be going in the White House this trip. Also not likely to go visit Senate/Congress galleries but we’ll see. Again, not much planning time and 2/4 yo boys along!

My son was about 5 when he first was at Washington . He liked Air and Space and also Postal. I saw the zoo. They are all free and good for kids. My son loved dinosaur so any Natural museum was good.

1 Like

WOW that looks like quite a bit. I am “old fashioned” and like to have people walk - but a stroller will be your salvation - especially on the mall.

I do HIGHLY recommend the Udvar-Hazy Center. It is an extension of the Air and Space museum. It is out near Dulles - but is WELL worth it. You can either take a bus from the Air and Space museum or drive directly. I would suggest driving directly. This will take up 1/2 day. SO very cool. There is a space shuttle, a concord, the Enola Gay - it is MASSIVE. I think the kids would really like it - our kids did.

The monuments / mall is cool to see as well. It is a LONG walk though from one end to the other so be prepared.

The zoo - IMHO is ok at best - but what kid doesn’t like the zoo.

Natural History would be good there are more interesting things there for little eyes.

1 Like

I second the Natural History Museum. If your family can divide and conquer there are some neat things for the younger two kids. I took my DD at 2 and at that age she loved the big, wide marble stairs and the geology wing. My older DD age 6 strolled around with my brother and did other stuff, then we met back up.

I second Tigger613 above. Walking the Mall from end to end is a few miles. Pack lots of water even in the Fall. Also, everyone entering a museum has to go through a bag check regardless of whether you have a bag, so you might as well pack one with water and snacks.

My kids loved the Wahington Monument at age 6/10 and also riding the free bus that does a little monument loop. (this runs in the summer - not sure about the fall) We live in a small town, so for them, part of the neat factor of DC was it being a big city.

I would also not rule out Uber as transportation. We saved so much time versus riding the metro. Goog luck and have fun!

If you haven’t already gone two additional tools for you. 1) the DC Circulator is a great way to get from one place to other without having to walk every time. They Mall covers a pretty big distance and with the Circulator you can hop on and off. It is $1 per person.

Second, when you at the monuments you can pick up a Junior Ranger activity book at any National Park kiosk. I believe it is one badge for all of the monuments on the Mall, but that will give your kids an extra activity, and the the swearing in ceremony is pretty cool.