Renee Sklarew, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., shares with us six free, family-friendly activities in Washington, D.C.
One of the best reasons to visit D.C. is that there are so many free activities to do. Many involve the Smithsonian Museums that do not charge an entry fee, while others are part of the National Park Service. Take the family and explore these American treasures.
Take Selfies with Fala, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Faithful Pup Companion
Most kids will adore visiting the Roosevelt Memorial in West Potomac Park on the National Mall. The Memorial consists of four sections, including a group of figures in a row portraying the Bread Line during the Great Depression and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in front of the United Nations logo, but most appealing to kids is the statue of the beloved terrier Fala near a seated President Roosevelt.
Climb Aboard a Stage Coach at the National Postal Museum
Inside the National Postal Musuem is a stage coach like the ones used by the National Postal Service to deliver the United States mail before the extensive railroad system was established. In the Museum, kids can also sort packages, design their own stamps, write a postcard, and board the historic Railway Service Car.
Touch a Moon Rock at the Air and Space Museum
At the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, there are dozens of airplanes and rockets on display, as well as the Lunar Module, a vehicle that traversed the surface of the moon. Kids can touch the “Lunar Touch Rock” that Apollo 17 brought back to Earth in 1972. At 17.7 pounds, it was the largest rock that the Apollo 17 crew brought back with them.
Visit the Amazonia Rainforest at the Smithsonian National Zoo
Inside the National Zoo is the Amazonia Exhibit that contains plants, trees, and animals found in the Amazon Rainforest. Walk through this jungle-like atmosphere and observe the magical underwater world contained in its 27,000-gallon aquarium. (There is a minimal charge for parking at the Smithsonian National Zoo.)
Free Playtime at the National Museum of American History
Visit Wegmans Workplace, an exhibit for kids from birth to 6 years old at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The interactive space delights kids who can pretend to cook, play with light fixtures, work puzzles, and play games. Kids will also be duly impressed by the giant U.S. flag on display—it flew during the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.