There’s a reason scores of middle school children flock to Washington, D.C., during spring. In addition to learning about United States’ history, the nation’s capital is a very kid friendly place. The Smithsonian museums are usually a hit, so are the highest offices of the land. But there’s more to Washington, D.C., than just museum and monuments. Here are several more attractions that children will surely enjoy while visiting the District.
Free Kid Friendly DC Attractions
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most famous address in the United States, if not the world. It’s where the President of the United States lives and work. The iconic White House scores highly with kids because of the rooms made famous by television shows like the West Wing and Madam Secretary and the thought that they might meet the president while visiting. Tours to the White House are free and can be arranged through a request from your district congressman if you’re a citizen and through your embassy if a resident of a foreign nation.
Location: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange/Silver lines, McPherson Square
Hours of Operation: Tours are offered 7:30 – 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays – Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays excluding federal holidays
The Library of Congress
The thought of visiting a library doesn’t normally get most children excited but they certainly make an exception when visiting the Library of Congress. What makes it one of the best of the free kid friendly DC attractions starts from its exterior where you’ll see the impressive Fountain of Neptune, modeled after the infamous Trevi Fountain in Rome. Located in front of the Thomas Jefferson building, it features three animated sculptures that spurt water during the warmer seasons of spring, summer, and fall. As you go inside, kids are usually amazed by the stunning Great Hall, which contains a number of elaborate sculptures and a striking mosaic of Minerva, the Roman goddess of learning.
Location: 10 First Street, SE (Main Building)
Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange/Silver lines, Capitol South
Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., last entry for the public is 4:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington is one of the most popular free kid friendly DC attractions particularly for aviation enthusiasts. The life-size replicas of airplanes that made aviation history, as well as artifacts from the earlier events from the Space Age era are what attract over seven million visitors to this wonderfully fascinating museum. As you enter the main hall, you’ll come across the reconstructed lunar module and the original airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh used to make that very first transatlantic journey. If you want to see more aviation and space artifacts, including the space shuttle Discovery and a real Concorde aircraft, make sure you pay a visit to its annexed site, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located in Dulles Airport.
Location: Independence Avenue on 6th Street
Nearest Metro: Blue/Silver/Orange/Yellow/Green lines to L’Enfant Plaza
Hours of Operation: daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. but closed on Christmas, December 25
The Washington Monument
Perhaps the most recognizable monument in all of Washington, D.C., is the one dedicated to the country’s first President and to whom the district was named after. The Washington Monument is a 555-foot marble structure that towers over the nation’s capital and sits right smack in the middle of the National Mall. It lands a spot in our free kid friendly DC attractions in Washington list because it has one of the best views of the District. From the grounds, visitors will have unobstructed views of the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol and from the observation deck 500 feet above, you’ll be able to see other notable sights including the Pentagon, the National Cathedral, and George Washington’s ancestral home, Mount Vernon on a clear day. You can get tickets for free through a first come, first serve queue, available the same day or pay a small fee to get advance reservations.
Location: The National Mall
Nearest Metro: Blue/Silver/Orange lines to Smithsonian
Hours of Operation: Grounds: open daily 24 hours a day, seven days a week; Observation Deck: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except July 4 and December 25
The U.S. Capitol
Find out how bills become laws by visiting the U.S. Capitol. Tours are available daily and lasts around 30 minutes. Some of its most fascinating rooms include the crypt that was proposed as George Washington’s final resting place, the Rotunda where you can view the fresco of George Washington as god, and the Statue Room that features over 40 statues of prominent Americans.
Location: East Capitol and First Streets, SE
Nearest Metro: Blue/Silver/Orange lines to Capitol South
Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Inauguration Day