My experiment as a mother of three has ended, now that my lovely niece is on her way home. It has been an intense and high-energy week. As one mom remarked, “I thought only boys acted that wild. You sure have your hands full.”
After some trial and error (and a few important lessons), I discovered some perfect places to take kids in DC. These aren’t new in our family rotation, but we rediscovered them this week, and I’m so glad that we did.
1. National Building Museum.
If you’re not a member, become one. Trust me. This place is far less crowded than the free museums nearby. Plus, it caters to younger children. Ever since Lira had a birthday party here a few years back, it has been a family-fave. The great hall is a huge open space where kids can run free. There’s a Lego exhibit where your little ones can build things and make a mess that you don’t have to clean up! And there’s indoor min-golf here through Labor Day.
Tip: Sign up for a spot in The Building Zone (for kids ages 2-6) as soon as you get there; you’ll usually have to wait at least an hour.
2. The Zoo.
Everyone knows that kids love animals, but I’m not talking about our furry friends. When my girls go to the zoo, there are only two things they care about: the pizza play area and the misters. If you go to the Kids Farm by the back entrance, you’ll see a giant pizza where kids can jump off blocks of cheese or tomatoes, and lift mushrooms as big as they are. Once they’re all hot and sweaty, you can run through the water misters set up around the zoo to cool you off. We only saw one animal on our latest zoo trip… a sleeping ape. I kind of wanted to join him.
Tip: The closer to closing time, the better. We got there at 6:30pm and there was only one other family in the pizza play area.
3. Yards Park.
This is the best new(ish) place to go in DC– especially during the hot summer months. We took the girls here for a picnic, and it was perfect. First, they got wet in the splash park. Then, we all sat by the water for a picnic. The water where kids can swim (more like wade) isn’t deep, so you don’t have to worry as much as you would at a regular pool.
Tip: Go on a weeknight. The weekends can be nightmarishly busy. The only people there besides us, on a Thursday night, were photographers on family photo shoots (so you know how beautiful it is!).
4. 32 Below.
In the sea of frozen yogurt shops, 32 Below is the most kid-friendly. The staff is wonderfully patient: they open the door for strollers, talk to your kids, help them with toppings, and (best of all) don’t seem bothered when children act like wild animals in their store. Check out the scene from our last visit:
Tip: If you’re looking for hundreds of flavors and toppings, this isn’t the place for you. It’s more limited than most yogurt shops. But if you want to relax (?!) and enjoy a treat that everyone is happy with, go here. You will be glad you did.
A lot of MomInDCity readers have asked where I find the energy to take the kids on so many outings. Here’s the answer: coffee. Ha! If only it were that easy. I’m exhausted. But my options are: taking them out or watching in terror as they wreck the house like FBI agents executing a search warrant. At least this way my house stays (mostly) clean!