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.

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