Tuesday, May 30, 2017

25 fun things to do with kids in and around DC in the summer

It is amazing how many different things there are to do in Washington, D.C. with kids. The top-rate museums and the National Zoo are a given, but did you know there are a number of other things you can do in and around the District?

Here are some ideas for this summer:

1. See money get printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Tickets are free and are distributed early on Monday through Friday. First come, first serve. This is a cool tour.

2. Ride the historic carousel on the National Mall and then walk through some of the nearby outdoor museum exhibits and gardens.

3. Take a ghost tour in Old Town Alexandria and hear real-life stories from days gone by.

4. Before or after your ghost tour, stop for ice cream on King Street (Pop's is a favorite in our family).

Take in the beautiful scenery at Great Falls and have a picnic before or after you explore. Pack a frisbee too!

6. See the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights at the National Archives.

7. Explore the gardens and try to spot butterflies and hummingbirds at Mount Vernon (also check out the farm animals and take a walk through the wooded paths).

8. Enjoy the animals and kid-oriented fun at Frying Pan Farm Park and Kidwell Farm in Herndon, Va.

9. Watch the planes fly in and out of Reagan International Airport from the National Mall, Harbor or take the Metro to the airport and watch the planes from there.

10. Learn about Colonial farm life at Claude Moore Colonial Farm (originally Turkey Run Farm) in McLean, Va.

11. Enjoy all the year-round fun to be had at Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly, Va.

12. Go swimming at one of Fairfax County’s many pools/waterparks.

13. Visit SplashDown Waterpark in Manassas, Va. for the day. If you're local, they offer season passes.

14. Enjoy the riverfront, play areas and scenery at the National Harbor.

15. Go hiking in Manassas Battlefield Park and count how many squirrels’ nests or see how many other butterflies, hawks or other critters you can spot.

16. Visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Tuesdays are free – but get there early, tickets often go fast!) 

17. Rent a paddle boat for an hour and ferry yourselves around the Tidal Basin (no more than 4 to a boat).

18. While down at the Tidal Basin, have a picnic while viewing the monuments or spotting wildlife.

19. Have fun at Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Va.

20. Take a day trip and drive over the Chesapeake Bridge to visit Maryland’s nature preserves, parks or beaches.

Scene at the Terrapin Nature Reserve

21. Visit 
President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home, located in the District, and learn about this "home for brave ideas".

22. Head on over to Burke Lake Park and go on a hike, play mini-golf, ride the carousel, ride the train and simply enjoy the great outdoors.

23. Spend a few hours learning about dinosaurs with The Dinosaur Fund (this is something I'd like to check out).

24. Plan an evening out and check out one of the many free movie nights around the region.

25. Go on a pirate ship and be a buccaneer for a day.

26. OK, I know I said 25 but as I was winding this post down I realized I forgot to mention one of my favorite summer outings, especially if looking to get those special family pics. In mid to late summer, depending on the season, Burnside Farms out in Haymarket holds its annual Summer of Sunflowers. Seriously, great photo ops! After you're done taking photos and picking your sunflowers, there are some other fun things for the kids to do too.

There are so many things to do in and around the District, and these are just 25 of them. Most of the above we’ve done ourselves but there are a few on the list that we’re hoping to get to this summer (hello, pirate ship!)

[ Related reading: Fun indoor things to do with kids in the summer in the DC area (when it's too hot to be outside!)  ]

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