Educational Summer Vacation to Washington DC with Kids

March 3, 2022

The majestic National Mall, the solemn stoicness of the Lincoln Memorial, and the glittering Potomac River are just a few of the many monuments, memorials, and landmarks that call Washington D.C. home.

While a fun and family-friendly educational trip might seem like an oxymoron, Washington DC provides just the playground to achieve such a lofty goal. So follow along as we reveal the hottest spots to visit with kids this summer in Washington, D.C.!

Cruise along the capital of the United States, soaking in American history as you marvel at everything from George Washington's sword to the Jefferson Memorial.

Ooh, and aww over everyone's favorite Pandas at the National Zoo, or strap in for some world-class espionage when you stop by the International Spy Museum.

A Fun and Educational Washington DC

Whether you are fascinated by revolutionary war history or more intrigued by aerodynamics, Washington DC provides endless opportunities for educational kid-friendly activities.

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Smithsonian Museums

National Museum of Air & Space Tour

Aviation, space artifacts, and art, oh my! The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum boasts the world's largest and most significant collection of aviation and space-related items and curiosities.

Your two-hour semi-private guided tour of the Air and Space Museum will give you an in-depth look at everything from real moon rocks to spacesuits worn by actual astronauts!

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Learn all about the history of human flight, soak in early versions of the Wright Brother's famous aircraft, and snap a photo of the Spirit of St Louis, the first plane to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean!

Dive into the escalation of the Space Race, sneak a peek at a real Tomahawk Cruise Missile, and marvel at the 43 ft long cylinder known as the Hubbel telescope.

Curious kiddos who crave hands-on learning will be enthralled by the 'How Things Fly' exhibit, which allows them to push, pull, press, lift, spin, and balance several items to discover the principles of flight gravity, and air. 

Wide shot of a room full of rockets at the National Museum of Air and Space in Washington, D.C., USA

photo credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution via Facebook

National Museum of American History

Bring our country's illustrious heritage, history, and culture to life when you peek behind the scenes of the National Museum of American History.

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This engaging two and half hour semi-private guided tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History allows you and your family to experience the full ascent of our nation, from a ragtag group of colonists to dominant world power.

Dodge the stodgy textbooks and paint colonial history vividly as you absorb everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner to Thomas Jefferson's Desk. Pop culture enthusiasts will flip over spying Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers, and the special pop-up 'Muppets Take American History' displays.

Pay respects to our fierce female leaders when you revel in the high fashion and drama of the First Ladies' Gowns. Gaze at pieces worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.

Wander through 'America on the Move.' An exhibit that examines how the automotive vehicle has shaped the American identity.

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Don't forget to snap some pics of the over 300 objects on display. They have an original 1926 Ford Model T Roadster and 1942 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Wide shot of the exterior of the National Museum of American History on a sunny day in Washington, D.C., USA

photo credit: National Museum of American History via Facebook

Big Bus Tour - Washington DC

Sightsee your way when you completely customize your experience with any number of diverse Big Bus Tours in Washington D.C. Select from:

    • Hop-On, Hop-Off 1 Day Classic Tickets
    • Deluxe Tickets
    • Exquisite after dark Panoramic Night Tours.

Cruise around America's Capital in style, as you revel in the majesty of landmarks and renowned sights such as:

      • The White House
      • The Capitol Building
      • The Jefferson Memorial
      • The Lincoln Memorial

Ideal for families looking to inject some flexibility and fun into their plans, the Big Bus tour allows you to explore Washington D.C. at your own pace.

Have your camera at the ready! You'll be dying to grab snaps at areas such as: Chinatown, L'Enfant Plaza, and the Wharf.

Download the handy Big Bus App on your phone. You'll be able to observe in real-time when your next bus will arrive. 

A Bug Bus tour bus driving in front of the Lincoln Memorial on a sunny day in Washington, DC, USASmithsonian's National Zoo

Black, white, and cute and cuddly all over, no trip to D.C. is complete without stopping at the Smithsonian National Zoo to peek at some giant pandas.

While these adorable mammals may be the main attraction, this renowned institute of conservation and biology is home to over 1,800 animals representing 360 species. Nestled in the heart of Rock Creek Park, this ever-popular (and free) tourist destination has been delighting visitors of all ages for over 130 years.

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Catch up with all creatures scaly, slithering, and spiky at the Reptile House, or travel East to explore the mysterious animals of the Asia Trail. The Zoo's Great Ape House is where the mighty gorillas and orangutans roam.

Intrepid youngsters can test their strength at the Think Tank by participating in a tug-of-war with an orangutan. Or, head over to the Elephant Community Center to watch these gentle giants cool off in their pool.

Lastly, be sure to check in on everyone's favorite pandemic baby, the giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji!

Close up of a tiger with it's mouth open walking near water at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., USA

photo credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute via Facebook

International Spy Museum

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will lead you down a dark path at 700 L'Enfant Plaza. Channel your inner Tom Cruise, and play spy for the day when you enter the city's most high-stakes museum.

The International Spy Museum is an edifice of espionage and excitement. Jam-packed full of educational thrills, exhibits, and programming. So begin your undercover assignment, and step into the real-life identity of a spy. Meanwhile, traversing the museum's two floors of galleries and 1,000+ espionage-related artifacts.

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Throughout your visit, your skills of deceit and deception will be challenged. You will be asked to participate in activities ranging from cracking codes to crawling through an air duct. All while spying on other undercover agents.

Take a deep dive into famous spies throughout history, including our country's very first leader. Learn essential 'tools of the trade' that allow operators to plant a bug or communicate discreetly.

Puzzle masters will put their noggins to good use when they take a stab at code-cracking. Or, they can even try their hand at Red Teaming. This immersive exercise lets museum-goers participate in training that CIA analysts used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Wide shot of the exterior of the International Spy Museum with their red lights on at night in Washington, D.C., USA

photo credit: International Spy Museum via Facebook

Infuse your next summer family vacation with some patriotic spirit when you head to our Nation's Capital.

Summertime in the District City means balmy weather, blue skies, and plenty of sightseeing. Speed through the Potomac on a quirky D.C. Duck Tour, or get your hands on actual space rocks at the National Museum of Air and Space.

Challenge your kids to keep their cover identities intact at the International Spy Museum. Or marvel at the brilliance of Dorothy's Ruby slippers. Plus countless other pop culture artifacts at the National Museum of American History. 

However you spend your Washington DC getaway, you are guaranteed a trip of nonstop educational entertainment.

Tell us, How Will You Find Fun and Education in Washington DC during the summer?

Leave us a comment below!

isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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