Summer may be coming to a hasty end but that doesn’t mean that the family fun has to. Here are some suggestions on things to do with the kids on the weekends. Best of all–these ideas are all low to no cost!
1. Watch the National Zoo‘s conservation efforts first-hand and pay a visit to Tai Shan, only the third panda to be born and thrive in the U.S.
2. See the stars in Rock Creek Park at the only planetarium operated by the National Park Service.
3. Explore an exhibition and create a related art project to take home through the Freer & Sackler Gallery‘s Imaginasia family programming.
4. See the National Mall with DC by Foot, a walking tour company that gives free, kid-friendly tours (gratuity recommended) infused with games, fun facts and trivia.
5. Take pictures with Fala, the famous presidential pooch, at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
6. Make money (or see money made) with a free tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
7. Explore the beautiful grounds of the National Cathedral, the sixth largest cathedral in the world, and then take a Gargoyle Tour ($5/ages 10+), and see how these whimsical creatures reflect history in stone. There’s even one fashioned after Darth Vader.
8. Play pilot in a mock cockpit at America by Air, an exhibition on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
9. Walk among living butterflies at the National Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Pavilion (adults $6/children $5). Tuesdays are free, but timed-entry tickets are required and are available at the Butterfly Pavilion box office beginning at 10am each Tuesday.
10. Teach kids about history at the newly renovated National Museum of American History. The redesigned attraction reopens Nov. 21 and will offer visitors a rare look at the original “Star-Spangled Banner,” the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem.
11. Check out the latest performance at the Smithsonian’s family-friendly Discovery Theater. Shows range from tap dance performances to puppet show workshops, and tickets are always under $10.
12. Let kids roam free at Friendship Park (aka Turtle Park), DC’s most popular playground, located in the city’s Van Ness neighborhood. Little ones love the huge sandbox (always full of toys).
13. Take a ride on DC ‘s clean and safe Metrorailsystem to give kids a taste of a train ride, and a break from the summer heat. Day Passes cost just $7.80 and the Metro travels all over the city.
14. Fly a kite next to the Washington Monument for a great family photo.
15. Give kids an inspiring lesson in freedom with a stop at the National Archives Building to view the Emancipation Proclamation followed by a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
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