Thursday, May 22, 2014

What to do in the D.C. area with the kids on hot summer days

Looking for something to do with the kids in the D.C. area this summer when it's too hot to be outside? There are plenty of things to do that are inside the comfort of air conditioned buildings and are very child-friendly.

With the end of the school year approaching, many parents might be wondering what to do to keep the kids busy. Especially on those days where it is just too danged hot to be outside. With temperatures likely to jump up into more seasonal summer hot temps in the near future, it might be a good time to start scouting some places to go to get the kids out of the house. There are many indoor places to go with the kids in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia to escape the heat. Many are right downtown and others are within an hour's drive or less.

Here are some thoughts if you're in town for a visit or live local and don't get the chance to visit during the busy school year: 


National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of American History

Run by The Smithsonian Institute, conveniently located right on the National Mall near a Metro Station, there are a number of museums on the Mall, however, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History are both very kid-friendly.
Holding a critter at Smithsonian Natural History Museum
Sometimes the entomologists at the Natural History Museum bring out critters where visitors can get a close up and personal look. Many times insects are allowed to be held.

A word of advice, in my experience, mornings are usually a better time to visit due to high volumes of visitors. The museums open at 10 a.m. For more information about other exhibits and summer hours, please see the museum's website.

Ruby red slippers
Ruby red slippers worn by "Dorothy" in the classic "Wizard of Oz" movie are housed at the American History Museum

Air & Space Museums

Are your kids fascinated by aircraft or outer space? If so, a trip to one of the two Smithsonian Air & Space Museums might be in order. One is located on the National Mall, the other about 25 miles west in Chantilly, Va. Each museum is full of things to see and do. Additionally, both museums have an IMAX theatre that could add to a fun day in air conditioning. For more information, please see the museum's website for list of exhibits, movies and other scheduled events.

Space Shuttle Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery located at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

Skyline Caverns

About an hour's drive west of Washington, D.C. on Interstate 66 is the Skyline Caverns. This is a great summer activity since the temperatures inside the cavern are in the 50-degree range year-round. A nice way to beat the heat. The anthodites are really something! There are also a couple of other activities on the property, such as a mini-train ride and a house of mirrors for additional entrance fees.

Stalactites at Skyline Caverns
Skyline Caverns makes an interesting and fun trip during sweltering temps


There are many discounted, or free, movies offered on certain days of the week. Here's a list that offers some locations in Virginia. It's very possible there are some other theatres downtown that offer these types of deals as well. 

These are only a handful of the many indoor and kid-friendly places to go in the Washington area, but there are a lot of other things to see and do (for instance, older kids and teens might enjoy touring a 19th century prison out in Warrenton, Va.) or visit one of the many museums or historical homes located in Alexandria, Va. and the surrounding areas.

Summer time is a time most kids look forward to, but on those days where it's just too hot to even be at the pool, there are many other things to be found in the Washington, D.C. region that can make for a fun day.

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