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Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

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Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

I'll be visiting DC over Christmas with my 10yo. Our dates are flexible and I'm wondering if the weekend or weekdays would be less crowded? Or is Christmas just going to be crazy all week? Also, can you recommend any particular things that might be fun for a 10yo boy? We're planning on the zoo and the Museum of Natural History already. We'll be staying in Alexandria, so I'd love to hear of anything fun to do there as well. He's not too keen on history yet, but he's really into animals and nature (farm kid.) Thanks!

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1. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

Except for Christmas Day, I doubt the crowds will vary that much from day to day. Definitely go to Zoolights in the evening and the Botanical Gardens one day. It is a rare thing open on Christmas Day itself. Zoolights isn’t open on Christmas Day. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/events/zoolights

Edited: 17 December 2017, 18:51
Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

The miniature train and Roadside Attractions exhibit at the Botanical Gardens is fun, but expect crowds on the weekdays after school is out for the holidays and huge crowds on the weekends.

Here’s a link to attractions in the various Smithsonian museums that are geared towards kids. Besides Q’rius in the Natural History Museum, there’s Spark!Lab at the American History Museum and flight simulators at Air and Space (fee for the simulators).


Washington DC
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3. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

well, for tourist things, weekends are always more crowded, as people who work locally have time on the weekends to go to things. Maybe a lot of locals have that week off, I have no idea, but I would still bet there isn't any way the weekdays are going to be the more crowded days, I don't know how that could be.

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4. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

Get there early. We were just in DC and there were lines to get into the Natural History Museum but less so when it first opens. Lots of stuff to do there - you may want to go more than one day. Check out the butterfly atrium ($7.50 for adults). It was great fun but very hot. (hotter than other butteryfly gardens that I've been in) Air & Space museum is good for kids too.

Is your son into who done its? There's an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery of "nutshell" (dollhouse size) crime scene dioramas created decades ago that are still used police training.

Even if your son doesn't like history he'll probably like walking the Mall area and seeing all the iconic monuments and the white house. We like walking the Mall area as a break between museums.

Check museum websites - some have locker or coat checks.

Arlington, Virginia
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5. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

I would have suggested Bureau of Engraving and Printing, but unfortunately they'll be closed Friday, December 22 - January 1. On Dec 24 you can see the waterskiing Santa: https:/…

If it's not too cold, you may want to take the water taxi to National Harbor (highlight there for a 10 year old would definitely be the Peeps store), check the hours though, around the holidays. Have fun!

Fairfax, Virginia
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6. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

For a 10 y old, following activities may be of interest:

Udvar-Hazy center (even if he is not that much into technology)

Illumination at this he Mormon Temple

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Yul log and Christmas trees near the White House.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

I just returned from DC and was surprised that Zoolights only has the main walkway open at night. Except for a few indoor spots you will not see almost any animals. If you do go, time it right (late afternoon) to see animals in daylight and maybe an hour of lights. I was there on a somewhat cold weekday Thursday evening. It was extremely uncrowded.

The Botanic Garden was great. The train exhibit. Likely get there early as the exhibit is small and I could see it being mobbed easily. Again I was there on a weekday early and was thru without any wait.

Udvar-Hazy is a great air and space museum but difficult / time consuming to get there without a car.

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8. Re: Christmas in DC with a ten year old.

Michael Cabonaro is performing his awesome family friendly magic show at the DAR until the end of December.

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