My favorite memories as a child are going on awesome adventures with my mom. I know it sounds cliché, but Washington DC is still one of my favorite cities to explore because there is literally so much to do with your little ones. Besides the plethora of international food festivals and summer events going on, there are a ton of awesome places to go on family outings, many of which have free entry. Don’t worry if you have kids of different ages, these locations have things to see and explore for all ages! These are my 5 must see family-friendly spots to visit in the DC metro area.
Smithsonian ‘National Zoo’
Lions, hogs, and pandas? I’m sure if you’re a parent of a toddler, yo'u’ve “roared” a time or two with your kids. You can see lions and pandas up close at the National Zoo in safe exhibit viewing areas. The zoo is one of my favorite places for the whole family because the animals are interpreted differently by the whole family. Aria was soaking up all the information in the park “fact” signs for the first time which was really exciting! She used to only mock the animals and run around in the mist machines for fun. Make sure to bring $5 cash for the paper map so you can navigate your way around easily! Admission in the zoo is FREE. Take advantage of the open parking close to the entrances! More info.
3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
2. The Museum of Natural History: Wegman’s Wonderplace
The Museum of Natural History is amazing! Besides the very well executed exhibits on the upper floors, this museum is home to two really fun activity centers. Wegman’s Wonderplace is an interactive play center for infants to kids 5 years old. Wonder place is great for kids who love play kitchens, puzzles, and a little bit of company to play with. The Q?irius center is a science lab for tweens and teens 11-15. They can view specimens under a microscope, solve challenging brain puzzles, and play interactive games on devices in the lab! Admission for this park is FREE. More info.
10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20560
3. Dave & Buster’s Arcade
Dave & Busters is a fan favorite in our house. The reason? My husband is pumped to play arcade games with me and the kids, especially Aria who has taken a liking to the bright lights and excitement of collecting tickets for a prize. Eat first! Their dining area is surprisingly kid-friendly and the food is really on point. You can “supercharge” your meal to add bonus tokens to your D & B card to play more games with. The best part of D & B is their prize room so the kids can take home a souvenir from their visit with us! Admission for the arcade is FREE. Food and games are NOT included. More info.
8661 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910
4. United States Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Garden is definitely in the running for the prettiest DC park, right behind the National Arboretum. The garden is full of plants from all biospheres and walking through it feels like a trip walking through all the seasons that are happening in one place. Ages 9+ can ask for a Junior Botanist Kit to spark their interest in gardening and plant life. The Children’s Garden is a place where small kids can plant real blooms and get hands on experience gardening from the pros. Admission for this park is FREE. More info.
United States Botanic Garden Conservatory
100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20001
5. National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the Native American is a little-known of gem in DC. American Indian culture is hardly touched on in American History so a trip through this place is fascinating to get a different perspective on American’s settlements and sections of tribes living throughout the country up until today. The coolest thing hidden in there is the imagiNATIONS Activity Center that has experiments and interactive activities you can play to learn about Native American culture including state-of-the-art simulation videos. Admission for this park is FREE. More info.
National Museum of the American Indian
Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20560
These adventures are where childhood memories are made! There are so many ways to explore the city in a new way now that a lot of us have children! There are a ton of free admission parks that you could easily pack lunches for if you wanted to skip the pricey cafeteria-style food & vending trucks for lunch. Be sure to take a lot of pictures, the last time we were with Aria at the National Zoo was when she was hardly older than Sire who’s now seven months. Time flies!
Those who play together, stay together. Get active with the kids outside of the house to make long-lasting family memories.