Capital Wheel At Sunset In National Harbor

Kid Friendly Activities In The DMV: In DC

Downtown DC has plenty of kid friendly activities. As the main hub for the DMV area, Washington DC has some of the best things for kids to explore. From the Smithsonian Museums to the finding a green space to picnice, there are plenty of kid friendly activities here. 

National Zoo

The National Zoo is known as one of the most famous Zoos in the world and a top tier attraction for all visitors or residents to the DMV area. In terms of animals, the National Zoo has it all. From all sorts of mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds, the Zoo will have every visitor of all ages entertained. 

The popular features of the zoo are the lions, tigers, and cheetahs along with many rare animals. The giant pandas that use to be here were returned to China in 2023. But there are still many other great exhibits and animals here. 

United States Botanic Garden

The U.S. Botanic Garden is an escape from the city that has multiple different gardens, plants, and fountains for everybody to enjoy. They recently reopened a children’s garden that allows kids to get hands-on with the different attractions the garden has to offer. The Botanic Garden is a great place to explore for children of all ages that will have them engaged in nature in different interactive ways!

U.S. Botanic Garden
U.S. Botanic Garden

Monuments – Day Or Night!

Seeing the DC Monuments can be a great experience even for those who have seen them before. A night tour of these iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial can be especially fun for young ones when the weather is nicer at not cold outside. 

Beauview Outdoor Playground

Located at the National Cathedral Elementary School, this playground is different from most. It consists of jungle gyms, rock walls, swings, slides, rope bridges, and a zip line that will keep kids of all ages active for long periods of time. Beauview is an incredible outdoor hotspot for kids throughout the summer or after school!

National Children’s Museum

The National Children’s Museum has interactive exhibits for children to play with. These interactive exhibits and programs explore science, technology, engineering, and arts. The museum has a focus on activities that engage kids in a fun way while also educating them.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is a fun area to walk around with kids. Depending on the time of year, this area of Washington D.C. has different activities. During the winter months you can find an ice skating rink here. In the summer months, board the water taxi and head to the DC Wharf. You can also enjoy many of the kid friendly restaurants in this area that have outdoor seating. 

National Museum Of Natural History

The National Museum Of Natural History is very kid friendly. It is also a part of the Smithsonian Institution of museums. 

It’s one of the most popular museums for families and children, thanks to its wide range of exhibits and activities for young visitors. From dinosaurs and ancient fossils to the famous Hope Diamond and ocean hall, the museum’s diverse collections captivate the imagination of children, sparking their interest in the natural world.

Entrance To Natural History Museum DC
Entrance To Natural History Museum DC

The Butterfly Pavilion (requires a separate ticket) is a live butterfly exhibit that delights children. It is also fun for adults too. It gives you an up-close experience with various butterfly species in a beautiful indoor garden setting.

The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center has many shows that are great for kids to experience. You can head to Performances For Young Audiences on their website to see what type of special programs they have scheduled for children. 

National Museum Of American History

One of the most known museums in the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American History entertains all ages. If the numerous diverse halls consisting of different parts of American history is not enough, kids will be drawn to the multiple interactive activities as well as the STEM focused SparkLabs. This museum is great for a half day trip with all ages of kids and will keep everybody interested!

The Yards Park

Located on the waterfront of the Anacostia river, this park is a great spot for kids to be entertained in the fountains or play on the green. This is also a great spot to enjoy kayaking or canoeing as well. Along with the activities, the Yards Park offers many different special events on their events calendar for all ages to enjoy. The Yards Park is a great location for all ages and families to enjoy a nice summer day!

International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is one of the most interactive attractions DC has to offer. This multi-floor space introduces kids to the world of espionage by assigning them many different tasks and puzzles they have to solve. This museum teaches and tests kids about the life of being a spy. The International Spy Museum is a great place to take kids at any point during the year and they will be entertained for hours!

Rock Creek Park Nature Center And Planetarium

Rock Creek Park itself offers miles of hiking trails, but if the kids are bored than the nature center and planetarium are the right place to go. The nature center has numerous tanks of different animals including turtles and fish. The planetarium has multiple different shows in which some are ranger-led. 

Boulder Bridge Rock Creek Park
Boulder Bridge Rock Creek Park

The Nature Center and Planetarium is a great place for kids to have fun while learning about different things around them. The Rock Creek Park Planetarium has a seating for 60 people during ranger led star programs. Since some of the films have a defined perspective, capacity is limited to about 35 people. There is some space for wheelchairs, but it is limited.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park is most known for the Washington Nationals Baseball games, however they also offer many different events for kids on days when the Nationals are not playing. They also offer fun events for kids during game days, such as running the bases after the games! They have meet the players days and different festival activities during the off-season as well. Events at Nationals Park are well-organized and incredibly fun for all kids, especially ones that love baseball!

Washington Youth Garden

The Washington Youth Garden has an incredible variety of many fruits and vegetables being grown. They also have a kid-friendly section that helps teach kids about the food and their mission as well. Kids can be entertained by the many sections of food in the garden or can play in the play area as well. At the Washington Youth Garden kids can be educated and learn about planting and growing fresh food while also having a good time!

National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is focused entirely on architecture. This museum contains numerous stories of how different cities and buildings were created. While adults can learn about the different structures, the kids can play in the multiple changing attractions and exhibits they offer, including a hands-on foam area where kids can build their own structures! The National Building is a  mix for families to have fun and get their fill of architecture!

National Air And Space Museum

The National Air And Space Museum is one of the most visited and most popular sites in DC. The main one is located in Downtown DC and you will need a timed entry ticket ahead of time. Even though the museum is free, a reservation is required to help control the flow of visitors. For Saturday mornings, or Sunday mornings, be sure to reserve ahead of time. In the more popular months of DC tourist season, you will need to reserve these free tickets even during the weekdays ahead of time as well. 

National Museum Of African American History

The National Museum Of African American History is a great visit for young adults and teens. Visiting the museum can help young people develop a greater appreciation for cultural diversity and the contributions of African Americans to society. It’s an opportunity to learn about different perspectives and experiences, fostering empathy and understanding.

Kid Friendly Activities In The DMV: In Virginia

Northern Virginia has plenty of activities that the whole family can enjoy. Just a short drive from the nation’s capital are several places that young children to teenagers can enjoy. Let’s take a look at the kid friendly activities in Northern Virginia.

NovaWild – Drive Through Safari

NovaWild is around half an hour from the DC area. This DC area zoo is a very fun and interactive way for kids of all ages to have fun with animals. NovaWild has a drive-thru safari, where you can drive your own car and interact with numerous animals that come up to your vehicle. They also have a walking part as well. This is a great place for families to enjoy a variety of animals and have a wonderful time!

The Perch At Capital One – Mini Golf & Music

The Perch at Capital One Center in Tysons, Virginia, offers a variety of activities that are enjoyable for both adults and children, making it a family-friendly destination. Activities include:

  • Park in the Sky: Located on top of Capital One Hall and connected to the Watermark Hotel, The Perch has a lively village green environment. It is elevated more than 10 stories above the street. 
  • The Perch Amphitheater: An open-air amphitheater designed for theater plays and small concert performances. It has a large area for seating and is both kid friendly and pet friendly.
  • Grand Lawn: A large open park space suitable for various activities, including early morning stretches, picnics, and outdoor performances.
  • Interactive Games: The Perch has fun games like corn hole to keep your kids entertained.
  • Perch Putt: This outdoor mini golf course has food trucks and a Tiki Bar. While your child plays mini golf you can enjoy a frozen cocktail. This mini golf course is only open seasonally so be sure to check online before heading over. 

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

A part of the Smithsonian, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy is a large museum filled with hundreds of planes and space artifacts. Like many of the DC Museums this is also one of the best free activities you can enjoy in the DMV.

This museum is located in Fairfax County, Virginia. It has many exhibits, with the most popular one being the World War 2 planes as well as the space area. You can see the Space Shuttle Discovery at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the most famous orbiters in the NASA Space Shuttle fleet. It has a rich history of space exploration. The Space Shuttle Discovery is displayed in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, so you have a chance to see this iconic spacecraft up close.

Once the exhibits are done, guests can find their way up to the observation tower and watch and track live flights land at the Dulles Airport. For a more immersive experience, the museum also has multiple simulators and an IMAX theater. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is a great experience for all ages to enjoy!

Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park is a 800 acre park with miles of trails across the edge of the potomac river. This park is great for kids of all ages where everyone can walk on the scenic trails, look out on the overlooks at the glorious falls, and enjoy picnics on the grassy areas. Great Falls Parks is a great place for families to have fun and get exercise!

Escapology Escape Room

Escapology Escape Rooms in Fairfax offers many different selections based on age and difficulty. They have a kids mode for ages 7-14 for just kids and their friends to have fun trying to solve clues and puzzles on their own. They also offer normal escape rooms with ranging difficulties for older kids and adults as well. Escapology Escape Rooms are a fun way for families to engage their intelligence in figuring out fun ways to solve the puzzles.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon – Great Day Trip

Mount Vernon is a well-known historic landmark for where George Washington once lived. While you are there, you don’t want to miss looking in the large mansion George Washington onced lived in, exploring the acres of grounds across the complex, and learning about the mansion and the cool stories that took place within the museum section. 

Mount Vernon Near DC
Mount Vernon Near DC

There are several things to do here and they also offer a wonderful food court. Mount Vernon is definitely a great place to go for all ages, especially those interested in the history of the country.

Tyson’s Corner Center – Shopping & Food

Tyson’s Corner Center is a very large shopping center where kids of all ages have places to go. This large mall is home to many restaurants, retail stores, and even a movie theater. There are many things to do here, including a play area for smaller children as well! Tysons Mall is a major hotspot for people in the DMV area since it is loaded with tons of shops and things to do!

Clemyjontri Park – Perfect For Toddlers

Clemyjontri Park is a 2 acre park located in Mclean, Virginia. This park has everything a child can dream of in a park and has many different activities for all different age groups. This park includes multiple play sets, a carousel, a mini train, swings, and even a large swing set for individuals in wheelchairs. Clemyjontri Park has tons of variety and will keep all aged children entertained for hours!

SkyZone Trampoline Park – Great For Thrill Seekers

SkyZone is a large indoor trampoline park with multiple different locations across northern Virginia. SkyZone is able to be used by all ages, and they have several different attractions separated for older and younger kids so everyone can enjoy. Outside of a large trampoline arena just for jumping, SkyZone has trampoline basketball, trampoline dodgeball, and numerous other non-trampoline attractions including a foam pit and a zip line! SkyZone is the perfect place for kids to get all their energy out and have fun at the same time!

Cox Farms – Best In The Fall

If you are ever wondering what to do in the fall, Cox Farms is a must go for everyone. From their world-famous hayride and petting zoos to a ginormous corn maze and numerous slides, Cox Farms has it all during their Fall Fest! During the Halloween season they are known for their fields of fear on Friday and Saturday nights which has multiple scary attractions for the older kids! Cox Farms is a great place for the family during a nice fall day and will have everybody in the family entertained and happy!

Scramble Indoor Gym – Great For A Rainy Day

Located in Falls Church and a second location in Alexandria, this indoor playground is popular with children. It’s especially handy when the weather is too cold to be outside but your kids need to burn off some energy. They also host birthday parties. 

Kid Friendly Activities In The DMV: In Maryland

Maryland also has plenty of kid friendly activities. It is a huge state with beaches as well as interesting cities. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do in Maryland with kids. 

Art Studios

There are many art studios in Maryland. These are not only great for hosting birthday parties, but also just to entertain your child on the weekend. Some popular art studios for kids include: 

  • The Amazing Art Studio in Gaithersburg is a fun place for kids and adults to paint pottery, fuse glass or make mosaics. They also host birthday parties.
  • Red Panda Art Studio in Bethesda provides hands-on art exploration for kids in classes and camps
  • ArtWorks Classes are located in Potomac and Bethesda Maryland.

National Harbor

National Harbor is an area of Maryland that is about a 20 minute drive from Downtown Washington. Its one of the best places to take your kids when the weather is nice. They can ride the famous Capital Wheel. From this huge ferris wheel, your kids can experience breathtaking views from 180 feet above the Potomac River.

Capital Wheel At Sunset In National Harbor
Capital Wheel At Sunset In National Harbor

Just a short walk from the Capital Wheel is a small carousel as well as a playground. If you want more interactive activities, check out the Gaylord hotel’s website since they always have interactive displays and events during different seasons of the year. 

National Aquarium

Located about an hour from DC in Baltimore, the National Aquarium does not disappoint. This aquarium is worth the drive up to Baltimore. Visitors of all ages can enjoy thousands of animals from all over the world, including sharks and dolphins! 

They also have multiple different shows such as some with live dives and others in the 4D theater. The National Aquarium is a great place for families with kids of all different ages to enjoy the wondrous views of the deep ocean!

Maryland Science Center & Davis Planetarium

The Maryland Science center is a 3 story museum that will have kids entertained wherever they go. The Davis Planetarium is included with your admission, however there are specific showtimes and all shows are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The first level contains a dinosaur exhibit, an isaac newton exhibit, and a large imax theater offering multiple different shows. The second story is mostly about space and offers many different activities for all ages. The third level has different science sections too but is also home to the large kids room! 

Orioles Park At Camden Yards

Orioles Park is a great place to go in the evening for those who had spent a day in downtown Baltimore. Going strong for over 30 years, Orioles Park at Camden Yards is so well-maintained that you would think it was brand new! Kids and adults of all ages will love going to a classic baseball game and enjoying the numerous classic snack options! If you check the event schedule, they also offer different shows in the park as well when the baseball games are not happening that can entertain everybody as well. Orioles park is a great way to spend the evening and end your visit in Baltimore by enjoying a baseball game or show!

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry, known for its historical background, is a great place to spend a day. It offers large green areas to walk around as well as many different historical facts about the place. It also offers plenty of different events that take place every weekend that help kids learn about history in a fun way! 

Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry’s defense against the British attack during the War of 1812 and the sight of the American flag flying over the fort after the battle directly inspired the words of The Star-Spangled Banner. This links the fort forever to the national anthem. Fort McHenry is a great place to go and learn about history while stretching your legs!

Six Flags America

Located in Bowie, MD, Six Flags America is home to many roller coasters and water rides for all ages to have fun. Thrill seekers can embark on the multiple large roller coasters they have to offer and smaller kids can ride all the different kid rides that are there and perfect for their age.

If you are not into roller coasters or just want to cool off on a hot day, Hurricane Harbor is a huge waterpark with many slides and rides and even a lazy river and wave pool! Six Flags America is a great spot for families to spend a day since it has many options for everybody to enjoy!

Port Discovery Children’s Museum

Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a great way to spend a day, especially for kids 10 and under.This 3 floor museum is full of adventurous and fun activities to keep your kids entertained for an entire day.

Each floor has different activities where kids can find their niche or explore the entire museum. The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a great way to entertain your little ones for a day!

Watkins Regional Park

Watkins Regional park has a lot to offer for all different types of people. They have a great campsite for people who enjoy camping. They also have a tennis bubble, a nature center, a carousel, a train, and mini golf. This park is a great way for all aged kids to get outside and enjoy numerous activities for a day or for camping as well.

It is also home to the Old Maryland Farm, which is a great place to look at and learn about farm animals. Watkins Regional Park is a great spot for everybody in the family to enjoy themselves!

Brookside Gardens

Brookside Gardens is a 50 acre, award winning-garden located in Wheaton Regional Park. Brookside gardens has multiple distinct areas, such as the Aquatic Harde, Azalea Garde, BUtterfly Garden, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Style Garden, Trial Garde, Rain Garden, and the Woodland Walk. 

They also have formal garden areas such as the Perennial garden, Yew Garden, the Maple Terrace, and the Fragrance Garden. As well as 2 conservatories! This is a great way to spend a nice day walking and admiring the different sections, and if you get bored, then Wheaton Regional Park is nearby with all sorts of things.

Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo Park is a highly versatile environment with many different options for families and kids to explore. They have a playground, a carousel, and picnic areas. They also have different areas where people can take classes, view an art gallery, or see a show.

Historic picture of Glen Echo from the early 1900s
Historic picture of Glen Echo from the early 1900s

Glen Echo was originally developed as a Chautauqua site in 1891. The Chautauqua Movement was an adult education movement in the United States, popular in the early 20th century. Glen Echo was intended to be a place for learning, cultural enrichment, and spiritual upliftment.

In the early 1900s, Glen Echo transitioned into an amusement park. The amusement park closed in 1968. In the 1970s, the National Park Service took over the management of Glen Echo Park and began a process of revitalization.

It is now a popular place for families to visit. Glen Echo Park is a very family friendly park with many different activities to keep everyone entertained!

Kid Friendly Activities In The DMV: Summary

The DMV area has so many kid-friendly activities. From downtown DC to Northern Virginia and Maryland, the D.C. area has plenty of things to do when it comes to family-friendly activities. Some of the highlights include Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the National Monuments, U.S. Botanic Garden, The Children’s Museum, the Steven E. Udvar-Hazy Center, NovaWild, Glen Echo Park, the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center. For a full list see the complete article above.

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