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Old 03-27-2010, 08:05 AM
 
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We are traveling to Washington, D.C. next Saturday by way of Norfolk, Virginia. The trip will last one week. Here are some things I plan on doing with the kids: Colonial Williamsburg; perhaps Jamestown; White House Tour; Capitol Tour; Newseum; and a play at Ford's Theater.

What else do you think a 10 year old and 17 year old would enjoy in the Virginia/D.C. area?
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:07 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Let them explore and set some of the agenda. When ours were 12 and 14, they took off on their own in AM and we gathered at lunch, then they would take us to their favorite spots. (FBI building, the Mint, Holocaust, Air and Space, American History, Navy Museum + several monuments we had never seen, (FDR is good, near Lincoln)). They also had taken an architectural tour of 'The Pension Building', which they insisted we schedule and do ourselves. (this was a great tour ~ 4-6 people and a very educated guide)
The Pension Building

BTW; DC is a great place for a biking vacation. There are hundred of miles of trails and you can ride out to Mt Vernon too. We spent nearly entire day in Arlington Cemetery (but we were on a 6wk homeschool field trip of the central east coast, we had some extra time to use, and our kids were very interested in this place (WWII Vet grandfathers)) WWII memorial is nice too.
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Arlington National Cemetery. Make sure they understand there is a cost for everything they've seen and the freedom to enjoy it.

Take the tram ride. It's money well spent.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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I think the success of your itinerary largely depends on how much your kids are into history and politics. I know my parents dragged me to every historic marker and site they could find when I was a kid, and I retained almost none of it. It's interesting to me now, but it was too much information all at once when I was younger.

The FBI building suggested above is no longer open to tours or tourists. There is no intention to reopen it. You can substitute the Spy Museum instead, which is nearby.

Air and space museum and Natural History museum are popular with families. The Museum of the American Indian is very interesting, beautiful, and informative. It would make a nice segue from Jamestown and colonial history as well. They also have a good cafe (mitsitam cafe) that makes a good stop for families--healthy for a change, and all based on foods that native americans around the continent would have eaten centuries ago (baked acorn squash, corn tamales, etc).

National Geographic Explorer's Hall might be interesting to them too. They have an exhibit on the Chinese Terra cotta Warriors that you might want to try getting tickets to.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:26 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
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I think we liked Jamestown almost as much as Williamsburg and you just go to the welcome center and ride around to the different locations on the tram. The driver's are entertainment all by themselves. We also went on the ferry from Jamestown over to a farm or plantation and there is a famous eating place that has peanut soup on that side of the river too.

We found driving and parking in D. C. to be very stressful, so you might enjoy the D. C. area better if you take a bus tour. That is what we decided to do the next time we visit.

Sounds like you are going to be busy and I hope the cherry trees are still pretty for you. Who knows, you might see me there. I am getting the traveling bug too and I have grandchildren in Northern Virginia.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCN View Post
I think we liked Jamestown almost as much as Williamsburg and you just go to the welcome center and ride around to the different locations on the tram. The driver's are entertainment all by themselves. We also went on the ferry from Jamestown over to a farm or plantation and there is a famous eating place that has peanut soup on that side of the river too.

We found driving and parking in D. C. to be very stressful, so you might enjoy the D. C. area better if you take a bus tour. That is what we decided to do the next time we visit.

Sounds like you are going to be busy and I hope the cherry trees are still pretty for you. Who knows, you might see me there. I am getting the traveling bug too and I have grandchildren in Northern Virginia.
You're right about parking. IF you can find a spot, be sure and walk back to the nearest corner and read all the parking regulation signs. Failing to do so can be VERY expensive and the city aggressively partols for violaters.

It's better to stay outside the city itself and ride the Metro into town.
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Orlando
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My 1st visit to DC was at 13 and I remember it like it was yesterday. I loved everything about it.
The Smithsonian is a must. Even if they aren't into History, it's still important to see these things.

I would have enjoyed Williamsburg more as a young person tho. Even coming from tourist central, I had a real problem with the cost to get in. I know I know...the upkeep is tremendous but I just don't think I got what I paid for....so I'm sure that distracted me.
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Old 03-31-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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Come back and let us know how the trip went and what you found your kids enjoyed the most-
and what to avoid- give us a heads up for those who are planning a trip.

Maybe some tips/tricks you learned?
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:54 AM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
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It's been a long time but when I went the kids seemed to really enjoy climbing the innumerable steps up to the top of the Washington Monument.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:11 AM
 
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Come back and let us know how the trip went and what you found your kids enjoyed the most-
and what to avoid- give us a heads up for those who are planning a trip.

Maybe some tips/tricks you learned?

.................................................. .................................................. ...

I am back now and will be glad to share.

Our kids enjoyed the tour through the White House more than I anticipated. Our hotel was located about 3 blocks away, so it was an easy walk.

We saw one play at the Kennedy Center named "Sheer Madness" and one at Ford's Theater called "Little Shop of Horrors" that the kids both enjoyed.

My son and daughter both found the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian to be fascinating too.

They have some paddle boats that you can rent and paddle around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. The kids liked doing that.

My son really enjoyed our visit to the International Spy Museum. This isn't cheap, but its a huge museum of exhibits and interactive displays devoted to spying and espionage that seems to go on and on.

We also were fortunate enough to meet some friends there, so at least one evening my daughter had someone to play with too.

There is a cheap tour for about $13 that originates at the Union Station in open buses that goes all around the Monuments, Memorials, the Smithsonian, and over to Arlington Cemetery. You can get on it and off it all day for that price.

On the down side, Washington was very crowded and lines were very long for most activities this first week in April. The Capitol Building was simply too crowded to have a pleasant tour and learn very much. If you get a hotel in Washington for a family I think its worth it to stay downtown. I've stayed in suburbs before and commuted by Metro. Metro fares add up for four or more people in both directions. More importantly, you must consider th time you lose commuting back and forth. If you stay downtown try to learn about the parking situation. All hotels charge alot to park a car. However, there are many private lots near the hotels that charge only 1/2 as much or less to park a car.

Also, watch the weather and the stress on your body. It was 90 degrees one day we chose to do alot of walking. If you are from a dry climate--as opposed to a hot and humid climate--the weather may take more out of your body as you do 2 and 3 mile walks carrying bags and souvenirs than you anticipate. The local news reported that day that nearly 500 people were hospitalized for heat stroke. I recommend stopping at those tourist vans selling souvenirs and buying plenty of bottled water, popcycles, and soda to keep everyone from dehydrating.

Last edited by markg91359; 04-11-2010 at 08:58 AM..
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