Washington, D.C. Family Trip

With Washington, D.C. only a couple of hours away, our family took an overnight trip to our nation's capitol. It was highly educational, but more than that, we had a lot of fun.
For some background, we don't vacation much. We visit family overnight regularly and go to family camp each summer for a week, but we don't venture into new adventures too often. Our children are ages 10, 8, and 5. The children were beyond thrilled at the idea of a trip into D.C.

We left on a Friday morning when my children's school had off for a teachers' in-service. It was snowing. It wasn't long before the snow changed to rain as my husband drove us toward the city. We went to Greenbelt to take the Metro subway into the Washington, D.C.
It was raining and sleeting when we arrived in our nation's capitol. We happily walked to our first stop of the day: The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Despite the falling sleet, we stood in a rather long line outside. The delay is due to the thorough bag searching upon arrival.
More than dinosaurs and insects, this was an exceptional museum. We were even able to see into a room where scientists were working. The scientists didn't talk to us, but they had signs so we could understand what they were doing. When we were watching a screen which showed what was happening under a microscope, the scientist made a sign for us right then to let us know it was a "dino tooth." 
The whole museum was fabulous-or at least what we saw of it. We had to leave early because we had arranged a tour of the Capitol Building through our congressman. It took us about 35 minutes to walk to his office building. (We didn't plan for that long. Did you know Capitol Hill is called that for a reason? You don't notice the hill until you're hoofin' it.) Oh, to get to the Capitol Building, we walked from his office building through a tunnel! 
I was surprised at how interesting every bit of the Capitol Building tour was. It began with a movie, but we had a personal tour guide. Members of our party were from Pennsylvania and Texas, so the tour guide made sure to point out items of our states' interest. The building itself was incredibly beautiful, but the history was amazing. 

Upon completion of the tour, we returned to the Metro. My, it was a long walk, even downhill. We took the Metro back to Greenbelt and then to Applebee's and our hotel. We opted to stay outside of the city to save money. (My husband estimates we spent about $90 on the Metro. However, we would have paid at least $60 for two days of parking in the city. So it worked for us.)

After filling up on the hotel's great breakfast, we returned to the city. It was a cold and sunny morning. We started the day at the White House. Then we saw almost all of the national memorials. 
The Lincoln Memorial may have been everyone's favorite, but we also saw the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II memorials. Yes, it was a lot of walking, but not overwhelming. (Granted, I learned I have a bad knee on this trip.)

From there we went to McDonald's for lunch and then to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It felt incredibly crowded. I don't know if it is always like that. I think we would have lingered longer if there had been fewer people. It was interesting, but a bit hard, too. We were there for several hours, but it seems like we didn't see much. However, we did see a space toilet!
From there we took the Metro back to our van and headed home. We still have plenty to see in Washington, D.C. on our next visit there, but we had a great trip and look forward to our next trip.
Before we went, our family (mostly my husband and oldest daughter) put together a 3-D puzzle of the Capitol Building. We have the older version of this one (affiliate links).We also borrowed a lot of books from the library. One of our favorites was The Kid's Guide to Washington, D.C. It worked out well that a friend lent us their book, too!

Our trip for hotel, train/subway fare, and food was likely just over $300. (This doesn't include tolls, gas, or dinner on Saturday night. It also doesn't include souvenirs.) The museums and Capitol Building tour were free.We did take most of lunch with us for Friday, but we still bought part of lunch at the pricey but tasty Museum of Natural History. (Twenty dollars bought a drink, fries, and chicken strips.) We carried several bottles of water with us in the backpack, as well as snacks on both days.

Our Washington, D.C. was a great introduction to our nation's history. I look forward to visiting more national parks with the children so we can learn more United States history.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I earn a small percentage at no cost to you. Thank you!
~ Annette
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  1. There's never enough time to see it all. I love it there too and want to go back soon!

  2. Fun! My husband has always wanted to visit there, but so far we haven't made it. Two of my sons went there on senior trips. One of their favorite places was the International Spy Museum.

  3. Thanks you very much for sharing these links. Will definitely check this out..
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