7 Fun and Mostly FREE Things to Do in DC With Kids

Things to do in DC With Kids

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Thousands of children flock to DC on a daily basis for field trips and family trips alike. There are so many fun things to do in DC with kids that it just may be one of the most family friendly destinations. Our nations capitol is a great place to learn the history of our country, the history of several peoples, and to have fun while doing it.

1. International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is sure to keep your kids entertained and talking about it for the rest of the day. They won’t just get to see cool spy devices and learn about some pretty infamous spies throughout history, but they’ll be able to interact with exhibits as well.

Children 6 and under get free admission while those aged 7-12 have $14.95 admission fee.

2. National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History has been one of my favorite museums since I was a child. Walking into the rotunda and seeing that enormous elephant still invokes a sense of nostalgia to this day. The best part about it is that this museum, and other Smithsonian’s in the area, are 100% free to the public. It’s hard to find that in other cities.

Try to plan your visit around specific exhibitions or live feedings of creatures such as the tarantula.

Check out the butterfly pavilion that costs just $6.50 for children and $7.50 for adults. You get to walk among butterflies in a way that’d you’d never be able to in their natural habitat.

3. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Tourists around the world flock to our National Zoo whether or not there’s a baby panda being birthed any time soon.

Here are just a few animals that you’ll be able to see:

  • Hornbills
  • Elephants
  • Cheetahs
  • Mole Rats (not those of the naked variety)
  • Kiwis
  • Sloths

The admission is free and the grounds are open until 7pm. I recommend visiting earlier in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid the DC heat and humidity.

4. The Yards

The Yards is a newly repurposed area in DC that sits right on the Anacostia River. There you’ll find restaurants, breweries, shops, and plenty of green space for the kids to run around and play. It’s the perfect place to walk along the water and river trail, have a picnic, or play in the water. If you’re looking for a pretty view while you eat, choose a restaurant situated near the marina.

5. Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is an area of DC that I’ve learned many Washingtonians have heard of, but don’t actually know what it is. Like the name says, it’s a park! And a big one at that. Rock Creek opened in 1890 and is 1,754 acres of trails, water, and lush nature.

My favorite thing to do when visiting is going on mini hikes that connect me to other areas of the city or simply going to sit by the water and relax.

There’s a planetarium, horseback riding, picnic tables and grills, and even a golf course!

It’s hard to believe this oasis is right in the middle of Washington, DC.

6. National Air and Space Museum

One of the best things to do in Washington, DC with kids is visit the many museums, as you will have seen. There was no way I could leave the Air & Space Museum off of this list.

Some current exhibitions are the “Cold War Aviation” exhibit and the “Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.”

Explore the museum while planes that were actually in action hang overhead. Also check out the IMAX or Planetarium shows offered.

7. United States Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden is actually becoming more popular as the years go on. I think as we accept the role that nature plays in our everyday lives, we appreciate every plant species just a little more.

Admission to the garden is free, which is why it should be on your list of fun things to do in DC with kids. While there, check out the butterfly garden, the rose garden, and the rain garden.

things to do in Washington DC with kids

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