Washington DC has plenty of areas of interest, to where you can take your children along for a fun good time out. The nation’s capital is home to attractions that will make children jump up in joy, and forget about their stressful days in academics for a while. Make it a point to check out the following family-friendly experience while touring Washington DC.
Play the Role of Espionage at the International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum has a large collection of espionage-related artifacts. So make sure take your kids to the museum to kindle their inner James Bond. As visitors wander through it, they will get to learn about the practice of espionage, its craft, history, and modern use. The aim of the museum in DC is to give an international perspective on the profession of espionage, which shaped history.
Kids who are eligible for it can participate in a couple of interactive spy experiences. One of them named “Operation Spy” is an hour-long adventure, where they get to playact as international spies. The other one hour-long fun adventure is titled “Spy in the City”. In it, pairs of children are provided with GPS units that send hints, codes, audio intercepts, etc., to finish a secret mission on the Washington DC streets.
To take part in the “Operation Spy”, kids should be twelve years and older. On the other hand, to be a “Spy in the City”, they must be minimum ten years old, but not older than sixteen years of age. Make it a point to check out the other conditions to participate in the events, arrive on the museum-stipulated time, and meet other criteria too.
Go to the Gravelly Point to Watch Planes
Take your kids to this grassy knoll nearby the District for a picnic. You and your family will certainly love sitting adjacent to the Potomac River and watching planes take off from and land to the nearby airport, named after former US President Ronald Reagan. Note that there is a bike trail along the river too, which takes people from the Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon.
Observe Insects at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo
This zoo is situated on the second floor of Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Visitors to it can observe insects, and see volunteers feeding tarantulas. The volunteers in the zoo of insects also let children touch and hold them, and answer curious questions from the small minds.
It is home to several exhibitions that highlight distinct aspects of arthropods. Do you remember them from Marvel’s Ant-Man? These exhibitions center on some concepts – definition, ecosystem inhabitants, diversity, and research. Inside them are more than sixty-five species of these insects and preserved specimens.
While the thought of visiting an insect zoo might seem scary to kids of a certain age, be sure that it will entertain them. If at all their patience run thin with conventional exhibitions, they will be delighted with live feedings, interactive displays, videos, and touch-it carts.
Visit the National Geographic Museum
Explore the world through the Nat Geo Museum, its interactive exhibits and photographs. It gives an international perspective from world-renowned photographers, explorers, and scientists on protecting animals and natural resources. The proceeds from its exhibits and events go back to nonprofit educational, scientific, and conservation works of the National Geographic Society.
Watch the Works at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Children will also love the sight of rolling presses here printing, stacking, and cutting money and examining them for any defects. It provides free admission to visitors, but make it a point to come here early. Entry is given to visitors based on first-come, first-serve. In addition, note that hours of visit and special events are subject to change. Contact with the bureau prior to visiting it with your kids.
Watch Animals at the Smithsonian National Zoo
Another family-friendly attraction in DC is the National Zoo, owned by the Smithsonian Institution. It is also free of cost to visit. If you are coming by Metro train, alight at the Cleveland Park Station and it is a short walk away from the station.
The National Zoo has a habitat where giant pandas, its most popular inhabitants, are kept. It is likely visitors will get to see male and female pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang respectively. They are on loan from China in part for research, animal conservation, and breeding purpose. Ultimately, their panda cub named Bei Bei will be moved to a China conservation center in 2019.
Go on a Washington Monument Tour
The obelisk on the famous National Mall site is closed until 2010 spring, as the National Park Service renovates the lift and builds for visitors a permanent screening facility. However, you can still navigate through the nearby Mall route and see the landmark from a distance.