Day 5 of our Washington, D.C. Family Trip

This was the last day of our trip to Washington, D.C. so we got an early start. We walked to the Metro and rode it to the Pentagon. There's no public parking at the Pentagon, so be sure to take the Metro there.

There is a visitors center at the Pentagon, but you must make reservations 14-90 days in advance, so we weren't able to take the tour.

The 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon is open for anyone to tour, no reservations required.  Sept 11, 2001 American Airline flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the northwest side of the Pentagon, killing 125 people working at the Pentagon and 59 people aboard the plane. At this Memorial, there are 184 granite-covered benches, each engraved with a victims name and arranged in order of birthdate.

From the Pentagon we rode the Metro to the Arlington National Cemetery. You better be able to walk long distances and up hills if you plan a self guided tour. There are tours you can pay for that include a trolley ride. We were up for walking.

This plantation includes the Arlington House - built by a descendant of Martha Washington, George Washington Parke Custis, whose daughter married Robert E. Lee. The Lees lived in this house until the onset of the Civil War.

More than 400,000 people are buried at the Arlington National Cemetery - from the American Revolution to present day conflicts.

Two highlights at the Arlington National Cemetery we toured include the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknowns - unidentified remains of service men from WWI, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The changing of the guard, which watches over the tombs 24 hours a day, takes place every half hour April to September and every hour October to March, and every hour at night year round.

After a quick bite of lunch, we rode the metro to The National Archives Museum. This museum houses the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights in the Rotunda, along with many other fascinating documents and displays. The Public Vaults has over 10 billion records, including George Washington's hand written inaugural address. Admission is always free and guided tours are available. We just toured around on our own.

The next stop was the Capitol building.  We stood in line outside until it was our turn to go through the airport-type screening process for admittance into the Capitol building. Then we started the hour long tour that begins with an interesting orientation film. Then we visited the Rotunda, National Statuary Hall and the Crypt. Each state has a statue representing that state in the Capitol.

If you want to visit the House or Senate Galleries you must contact your obtain a visitor pass from Representative or Senator. This needs to be done quite a while before your trip.

We couldn't leave Washington, D.C without seeing the White House one more time. It is beautiful at night!

In summary of our trip - a trip to Washington, D.C. with children is a very educational and fun experience. Due to the large amount of walking, I recommend the children be willing for a stroller ride or old enough to appreciate the sites they are seeing. Done with a little planning, you can see quite a few of our nations icons in a short amount of time and at a reasonable cost.

If you've been to Washington, D.C, what was your favorite place to visit? I really enjoyed the Smithsonian - National Museum of American History.

See Days 1, 2, 3 and of our trip to Washington, D.C.

Day 4 of our Washington, D.C. Family Trip

Day 4 of our family trip to Washington, D.C. was also Thanksgiving Day, so not a lot of tourist places were open, but the Smithsonian was, so we headed there first thing in the morning!

The Smithsonian is open every day of the year except for Christmas Day.

We started at the Castle which is mainly an overview of the different Smithsonian museums - an information center with a café.

The Smithsonian Institute includes 19 museums - you could be here for weeks, if not years if you gave each museum a really good tour! We had one day so we picked the ones we HAD to see. (We had already been through 2 of the Smithsonian museums earlier - Natural Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History.)

Cole, being an aviation major in college, picked the National Air and Space Museum. It is AWESOME! There is everything from the beginning of flight to space travel in this museum. It is crowded and hard to take pictures in this museum, so I didn't! I just enjoyed the exhibits. Even the 2 year old enjoyed this museum - there are lots of hands-on areas to play.

A few of us stayed at this museum all day! The rest of us ventured over to the National Gallery of Art. This is a good art museum, but doesn't quite compare if you've been to the Louve in Paris.

One wing of the National Gallery of Art was under construction so it was empty, but we did see most of the exhibits in the West Building. If you are an art lover, you will be in heaven! I liked that the art was separated by time periods and artist. You could spend all day here if you have the time.

Not too many restaurants were open on Thanksgiving, and those that were open were booked! I finally found an open reservation at Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers, but it was on the other side of town and for 7:45pm. We had plenty of time to sight see after the Smithsonian closed.

We headed to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial - a long walk, but interesting! It was dark, but there were plenty of lights to see the statues and waterfalls. The memorial is created with walls of granite, each commemorating a different term of FDR's presidency.

From the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial you can see the Jefferson Memorial.

Here is a beautiful night view of the Washington Monument on the left and the Jefferson Memorial on the right.

FDR was a great admirer of Thomas Jefferson and spearheaded the effort to build Jefferson's Memorial, so it's fitting that their memorials are close together - at least within easy walking distance.

Thomas Jefferson - wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as Secretary of State under George Washington, was John Adam's Vice President, and was America's 3rd President.

After a really long walk, we made it to Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers were we had a delicious meal! We took our leftovers home and ate them for lunch the next day.
Our Fitbit says we walked over 10 miles, and I believe it!
See Day 1, 2, and 3 of our trip to Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. with Kids - Day 3

On Day 3 the girls, Cade and I bundled up and went to the National Geographic Museum. We have a pass to a science museum that is suppose to get us in to the NGM free, but it was old news! No free admittance - BUT they let us in free anyways since it wasn't our misunderstanding.

The National Geographic Museum is AWESOME! The main exhibits are photographs that have graced the pages of the National Geographic Magazine. There are many genre of photographs from photographers of all ages.

There is also an Indiana Jones exhibit at the National Geographic Museum that is pretty extensive. It is a history lesson along with how they made the movies.

Washington, D.C. has so many beautiful buildings with wonderful architecture! You can walk around just looking at buildings and have a great time. 

We met up with the boys and ate some delicious BBQ for lunch. Then we headed to Ford's Theater, the place where President Lincoln was shot.

 There is a very interesting and educational exhibit in addition to the actual theater - which is still in use, but NO you can't sit in Lincoln's seat. You can also tour the house across the street where Lincoln was taken after being shot and later died.

And of course, there's a gift shop. Here is a tower of books all written about Lincoln. I didn't catch the number of books, but it had to be in the thousands!

By now it was late evening and we headed to the Kennedy Center to listen to a free Bluegrass concert. Every Wednesday the Kennedy Center offers a free concert in the early evening. I highly recommend going up to the top floor of the Kennedy Center and see the city view from there. Our cousin met us here and gave us this tip.
We were starving and headed to Georgetown for some dinner. We ended up at Pizzeria Paradiso - one word - DELICIOUS! They offered gluten free and dairy free options, which made a few in our party very happy.
Then we enjoyed window shopping in Georgetown on our way back to the hotel.
That's the end of Day 3 in Washington, D.C. Join me next week for a continuation of our Washington, D.C. trip.
Click to travel with us on Day 1 and Day 2 of our Washington, D.C. trip.