Please note that this is not an itinerary submitted by an actual family. This day was inspired by the July 2014 issue of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and further enhanced by one of our travel experts. It serves as a recommendation for a family of children with ages 4 through late teens, based on knowledge of the city. Factors such as time, cost and distance have been considered to make this a great day to get a sense of the city and keep the children and teens interested and engaged.
Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 633-4888
Hours: The grounds are open from 6AM – 8PM in the summer, shops and food from 9AM – 5PM and exhibit buildings from 10AM – 6PM. Panda house is 10AM – 4:30PM but first come/first serve so go early if this is a priority.
Getting There: Take a cab or the DC Metro Red Line. Additionally, the DC Metro is featuring limited edition Zoo SmarTrip Cards that give a 10% discount at Zoo gift shops and are an attractive souvenir themselves.
Admission: Free of Charge
The always free, 163-acre National Zoo is a must see when visiting Washington D.C.; especially when travelling with children. Besides an impressive collection of animals, the zoo is packed with activities to entertain and engage all ages. Take a tour ($10 per person for guides) print out a free activity sheet and go on a scavenger hunt or just explore at your own pace. A new carousel also featured custom-carved animals featured on the grounds and provides a nice break in between exhibits. Enhance your visit with the zoo’s App (for iOS and Google) packed with activities and guided information all for $1.99. A packed schedule of daily events like feedings, trainings and talks will enhance your visit and the educational aspect of the trip. Introduce your children to children of a different species including a panda cub named Bao Bao and twin tiger cubs Bandar and Sukacita who celebrate their birthday August 5th.
Address: 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 272-2448
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10AM – 5PM, Sunday, 11AM – 5PM, July 4 through September 1. Extended hours on Thursdays July 31 and all Thursdays in August.
Getting There: Four blocks from the National Mall. Take a cab or the DC Metro Red Line.
Admission: General Admission is $8 for Adults and $5 for for Children (3-17), Students with ID and Seniors. BIG Maze is $16 for Adults, $13 for Children, Students and Seniors. Discounted admission for museum members.
While always a stellar destination, visitors to the National Building Museum will enjoy a special treat this July 4th-September 1st. The annual Summer Block Party features a host of special activities and unique experiences. For a fun treat that is sure to be a kid-pleaser come see and explore this year’s BIG maze, created in partnership with Bjarke Ingels Group this 60 foot by 60 foot maple plywood structure features 18 foot high walls which obscure the journey into the maze’s center and it’s “grand reveal.” Traversing a real life labyrinth is a great way to bond as a family. A new exhibition known as “Designing for Disaster” focuses on design, engineering, materials and other aspects of building construction with respect to forces of nature. The mix of graphics, multimedia and physical objects will engage all ages but may be of particular value to those with slightly older children. Furthermore the museum is offering architecture lectures the first three Saturdays of August (Self Guided Walking tours cover the same topics for those attending on non-ecture days), free concerts on Sundays at 2PM in July and August as well as a “Ghost Tour” July 25th and more in October closer to Halloween. If ALL THAT wasn’t enough, Hill Country BBQ will be featuring a pop-up restaurant on the Museum’s West Lawn Thursday – saturday from 4-9PM all of May-September 1. There will be great food, cold drinks and live music. So get a dose of education, entertainment and a delicious meal all in one location this summer.
This biannual event is a great close to the day and a real treat for the family. Explore a new cuisine or simply a more elegant presentation of a personal favorite at one of the hundreds of participating restaurants across the city. There is sure to be something you love, at a great price close to an activity or your hotel. The prix-fixe menus feature some of the best dishes from some of the best chefs in the city. Give the chicken fingers a break as you enjoy haute cuisine at a fraction of the normal cost. A three course lunch will run a cleverly priced $20.14 and three course dinners cost $35.14. The event is expected to run August 11 – 17 but check their website for specifics and participating restaurants. The most popular ones book up fast so make a reservation by calling or visiting OpenTable.
AND If You Can Get There This Weekend: Celebrate 4th of July in the Nation’s Capital
The festivities are grand every year, and 2014 promises to be no exception. Starting at 11:45AM take in the National Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue. This event is co-hosted by the National Parks Service and seeks to represent all parts of the United States. It features bands, armed service members, celebrities, dignitaries, floats, balloons and animals. That evening, take in a free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building known as “A Capitol Fourth.” Hosted by PBS (If not in the city you can catch it at home on TV) this 1 ½ hour affair features such legendary acts as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Reba McEntire, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Steve Martin, Josh Groban, Gloria Estefan, Huey Lewis and the News, Little Richard, Tony Bennett, Faith Hill, Ray Charles, the Bee Gees, Kenny Rogers and the Muppets from Sesame Street. A little bit of something for everyone. The concert gives way to the impressive National Fireworks display, launched from the reflecting pool area and visible over the Washington Monument. This promises to be a day any family will remember for years to come, and a truly inspiring display of patriotic fun.