Friday, March 07, 2008

field trip coming up!

Since Tim is working the most horrendous hours these days (he has seen baby Timmy for 10 minutes since Sunday) and we have been offered a place to stay in downtown Washington DC, the kids and I are going to take a road trip in a few weeks.

Since we only have about 3 days, unless we skip Friday Enrichment, so I want to make it simple and fun.
Any suggestions for little-child friendly, simple for mom places to go in Washington DC?

Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian (which one?)
National Zoo (though this might be too much- Metro, long walk, then walk around the Zoo)

Did I mention I need simple? One mom, five kids, strange sleeping arrangements, lots of antique furniture to keep safe... The whole thing is making me nervous already.


Michelle said...

The Museum of Natural History is a part of the's a good place to go.

The National Gallery of Art (also part of the Smithsonian) is excellent. Web site: When I took the kids, I did a scavenger hunt and I had put about a dozen works of art as a screensaver on my computer for a few weeks. That website will tell you exactly what is on display and where, so I could guide them through the museum.

There is parking at the zoo, too. I found that easier than taking the metro with a ton of kids. If you have a car, I also recommend Mount Vernon. It's a half hour away, and costs a bit (I would get the annual pass, since you'll be in the area for a while), but there is lots of room for the kids to walk and run around. You could take a sightseeing "cruise" (about a half hour) from the dock there, although if you are by yourself, and the thought of your children going over the side petrifies you, you might want to skip that.

But DEFINITELY you MUST schedule in a walk around the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. The Cherry Blossom Festival is from March 29 - April 13th. Peak bloom for the blossoms is expected March 27 - April 3. It is worth the traffic, the crowds, the lack of parking and all that just to eat a picnic lunch under those blossoms. If your little ones don't stay in the stroller, and you are by yourself, I would suggest a kid harness (and I hate those, but see the use of them). There is no fence between the sidewalk and the Tidal Basin, and the crowds are big.

Michelle said...

Oh, I forgot. Here is a link for Cherry Blossom info:

Nine Texans and friends.... said...

All the major museums are situated on or near The Mall so it is one-stop shopping. I'd advise a back pack carrier over a stroller for Timmy unless he is just too heavy. It really makes maneuvering around The Mall (dirt paths) and through crowded museums much easier. At the very least go with a small umbrella stroller over a full size stroller.

When we did DC I had slightly older children. Spring of 2004.. so they were almost 11,10,8 and down...

The absolute favorite place in DC was the Hazey Ctr. It is part of the Air and Space Museum but out of town. It is absolutely THE COOLEST place. The space shuttle Endeavour is there, the Enola Gay is there, they have a Blackbird (fastest airplane ever flown) is chock full of amazing and historic aircraft. Now, if you or none of your kids is 'into' aircraft or air history it isn't quite as cool but we LOVED it.

We also got a lot out of the WWII memorial-a decent walk but doable-down the street from the Mall, past the White House and the Washington Monument.

kat said...

We will be moving to DC in 4 months so I don't feel like we need to see and do everything in 3 days. We can save the stuff that really requires 2 adults for this fall and winter. Tim would hate to miss out on the Hazey Ctr. so we will save that for another time.

We will be staying right behind the Capitol so I hope not to move my van once I find a decent parking spot.
I will check out all the websites, I forgot about the Air and Space- Will would love that! I didn't even think about an art museum, but we have been watching Siter Wendy's History of Painting recently, they are mesmerized.

Keep the suggestions coming!

Michelle said...

I don't know about all the museums, but backpacks are not allowed at all in the National Gallery of Art. My arms got very tired carrying Peter throughout, since I had to leave it and I had left the stroller in the car.

Most museums will have their policy for that clearly on their website. Just check first.

Note: there is a decent restaurant(cafeteria style) at the art gallery. It's expensive, but the museum is free.

Just walking around the mall is good if the weather is nice. The metro's website is here so you can plan stops:

scmom (Barbara) said...

There are so many beautiful places in DC. If the weather is nice I would hit the outdoor monuments. But the National Cathedral is definitely a place to visit!

cathy said...

I vote for all of the above!! If you metro to the zoo, you can get off at the Van Ness stop and walk down-hill to the zoo. When you drag yourselves out of the zoo at the end of the day, turn left, and walk down hill to the next metro stop--Woodley Park. It can be a bit of a hike, but direction helps.
The Metro system has a great web page.

There is a great Outdoor art garden next to the National Gallery. Have a picnic. There is a food court underneath the "Reagan Building" (about 14th Street) and a McD's (?) up one block (F and 13th). There aren't many grocery stores, so you might bring food with you, or stop on the way into town.

The Udvar Hazy Center is great, but it is out of town at Dulles Airport.

The Art Museums are great, and since they are free, I've never felt compelled to "get my money's worth" and overstay my childrens' welcome (they are 4, 7, and 9).

Hope this helps. Love your blog!