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Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

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Cincinnati
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Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

We will be coming to DC March 31-April 5th. I have not got our iterary figured out yet but I wanted opinions about if there were any "must see's" for the boys. I really don't want to pay for a whole lot since there are so many "free" sites. However, if there is something that is really reccommended I would love to hear them.

For example - the spy museum, crime & punishment museum, newseum, bike tours, boat trip, etc.

Some of those museums looked like they would be for older children and I don't want to pay if it is not worth it.

Also, I recently realized we will be there during Cherry Blossom Festival - any special things we should look to do or AVOID during this time.

Thoughts?

Washington, DC
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1. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Your children are way too young for the paid museums. They will get nothing out of them.

texas
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2. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Having just visited the Air and Space, I would recommend that for sure. Also the Natural History I think would be good. My 7 yo grandson loved. If they like animals the Zoo.

texas
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3. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

He also liked the Lincoln Memorial for the sheer size of it.

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

I agree that your children are too young to get much out of the "pay" museums, so focus on the free Smithsonian museums.

If the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom, I think it's well worth dealing with the crowds to walk around the Tidal Basin for a close-up look--it may a once-in-a-lifetime event and the photos you can get will be great! There are paddle boats for hire (around $20 per hour for a 4-person boat) on the Tidal Basin which would be fun, but they are likely to be booked out. I would not make an advance booking as you never know what the weather will be, but you could check to see if there are any available slots when you get there. Who knows, you might get lucky!

Cincinnati
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5. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Thank you. I was thinking it wasn't worth the cost for those "pay" museums. Does anyone reccommend that we take a day trip out to Baltimore via the train. I heard there was lots of ships/boats to explore on the harbor. I am just worried that since it is "Cherry Blossom" time the museums are going to be crazy with people and we will need to add extra time for each museum.

Rockville, Maryland
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6. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Your time is limited. Baltimore is the whole day. But if you go, go to a "crab place" and have the boys wrestle with hammering and eating hard shell crabs--top of the list among locals. The wait staff will be happy to show you how to negotiate with a crab. A photo with bibs or big crabs and smiling kids is a nice souvenir--you can get the jump on Christmas cards. There are crab places in DC and the suburbs by Metro, but if you're going to Baltimore.... Locals tip: with the crabs: try vinegar and butter (separately), and see which you prefer.

For some things to do in DC, you might consider:

The Insect Zoo, the giant elephant, the Hope Diamond, and the dinosaurs (before they go on vacation-renovation for 5 years starting in April) at the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian carousel

The Childrens' Discovery Center at the Ripley wing of the Smithsonian, the Spark Lab and the Invention at Play exhibit.

New and very popular among locals: Daikaya Ramen Noodles and Soup, 6th St., NW behind the Verizon Center. Maximum slurp coefficient potential, and inexpensive.

The DC Duck, an amphibious craft that gives tours of DC starting from Union Station, crosses the River, and then goes in, but you and the boys stay dry.

At the National Zoo, the pandas (and new baby), cheetah and lion cubs.

At the Space Museum: look at the internet and reserve an IMAX movie before you go; if you're not sure, try "To Fly". Don't miss touching the moon rock.

Next door, the American Indian Museum; the exhibits are fascinating, the cafeteria is outstanding.

The small Capitol subway, usually during Capitol tours.

Near the paddle boats, the Tulip Library off Ohio Drive

The Greek Deli, 19th Street, NW near L. Superb lunch take-out; can eat at a few tables outside or do a picnic such as (if open) in the little park near the Christian Heurich Mansion off 19th Street, NW near Dupont Circle.

National Geographic Society Museum

National Building Museum

The Georgetown waterfront and (rental) bike trip on the C&O Canal towpath from Georgetown (not strenuous)

Don't worry about the Cherry Blossom crowds--just enjoy.

Edited: 13 February 2014, 11:02
Rockville, Maryland
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7. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Would the like going back in time? The Decatur House on historic Lafayette Park opposite the White House--how people lived in the early 1800s. Home of the 1st licensed architect in the US who redesigned the White House after it was burned during the War of 1812.

Edited: 13 February 2014, 11:06
washington dc
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8. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

Spark Lab is closed. National Geographic only has special exhibits - check their website. American Indian Museum isn't what kids expect or hope for - mostly things in drawers, but since everything is free, you can pop in and see for yourself.

Botanical Garden is great. Also the Amazonia hall at the National Zoo. If you have a car, a day in Baltimore would be fun. They have a super kids science museum, plus all the ships. Kids just like taking the water taxi around too - and Fort McHenry is fun for that age.

The museums will be crowded, but mostly in the popular halls - mammels, gems, ocean - the hall of bones (Natural History) is the best and never crowded.

Falls Church...
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9. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

I second the National Building Museum. Lots of cool stuff for kids even in the main foyer. They can try and build their own stone arch.

The National Arboretum is a great outdoor option, it's a little off the beaten path though. You'll have to take a bus, (but they do have a parking lot that I've never seen full). They have the old capitol columns that make you feel like you're in an old ruin/scene from Lord of the Rings.

10. Re: Boys (6, 8, 9) - 5 days in DC - Museums/Cherry Blossom

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