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Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

Boise, Idaho
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Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

We are visiting dc for 5 days at the end of April to beginning of may. Looking for the best days to visit the following:

Air and space

Natural history

America history

National zoo

National archives

Thanks a bunch

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

You want nice weather the day you visit the zoo, otherwise what difference would it make? I wonder what would make one day better than another for visiting the Air & Space Museum, for instance. Get an advance reservation for the Archives to avoid having to stand in the outside line.

Edited: 11 April 2011, 01:09
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for Scottsdale
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2. Re: Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

We visited DC first week of May last year....we were surprised to see so many school tours in line for the museums. I tried to stay positive about how valuable it was for our students to be exposed to the history they were able to see while visiting, but it would add up to an hour or more of wait time to get in some places, especially the National Archives. The American History Museum was packed with many, many children, very few of them supervised.

I am not sure if this is typical for the end of the school year or it is an every day occurrence in DC. And as i said, it is really terrific that schools are still able to make it a priority to visit the national capital in today's economy. These museums belong to the citizens and are open to all. Not sure if you can do much to plan ahead, or if calling to confirm schedules would help. Some places you can purchase advance tickets to shorten your waits. Maybe just knowing ahead of time that this could occur will help you be ready in case you must "punt" and be flexible and move on to another attraction.

Edited: 11 April 2011, 01:28
New York City, New...
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3. Re: Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

From March 15 - Labor Day (September 5 this year), the National Archives are open until 7 PM. So you might consider going there in the late-ish afternoon, and then have dinner at one of the many restaurants in the vicinity. Oyamel is one of my favorites:


And you can skip waiting in line by getting timed-admission tix (last time for those is 5:30 PM) for a service charge of $1.50/person:


The Museum of Natural History will be open until 7:30 PM during some of the days you'll be here, so if it's becomes too zoo-y for you earlier in the day, you can return there later:


The Museum of American History and the Air & Space Museum typically have extended hours during "tourist season", so check those calendars too. Think you'll find you're best off by getting to any of the Smithsonian museums when they first open and then getting out by noon or so, making a return visit or 2 at another time, rather than spending much of the day in any one place... which can induce "museum fatigue" in even adults.



Do you know about the National Building Museum? Awesome place -- the interior courtyard is about the size of a football field & has been the site of many Presidential inaugural balls:


They always have interesting exhibitions, e.g.,


and because the exhibition space isn't vast, it's a very "manageable" museum still off a lot of tourists' radar screens so typically not as crowded as the Smithsonian museums. Plus, explorer kits & activity booklets for kids:


and a great gift shop with something for everyone in all price ranges. Highly recommend!

The National Postal Museum is also relatively unknown (and therefore less crowded), but is far more engaging than you may be thinking.



Edited: 11 April 2011, 04:51
Bethesda MD
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4. Re: Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

You might want to visit the websites for the public school systems of DC and each of the immediately surrounding counties to see when they're on spring break. That's not uniform across systems, though, and it won't create bad crowds in any event.

5. Re: Best days to visit dc attractions in April/may

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