In June our family got to take a 10 day vacation to see Uncle Luke, Aunt Krista, and the six cousins on the East Coast. Two years ago, we started what we hope will be a biannual tradition of meeting up with them for a summer vacation. Last time it was country lake living in Tennessee and this time we were beach bound for Ocean City, Maryland! Once plans were in motion David and I decided it would be too much of a shame to be so near to D.C. and not pay it a visit. Months before we left I began scouring the internet for the best sites to see and tips for visiting D.C. with little kids in just three days. I researched and planned and mapped and pinned lots of ideas! Vacation planning is one of my favorite things to do and I enjoyed every minute of it! And, as you can imagine, our little information-aholic, Elliott, could not have been more thrilled at the prospect of spending three days in a city busting at the seams with museums!
Day 1: Planes, trains, & Automobiles!
After much anticipation, the day finally arrived for us to take flight! We woke the kids bright and early and loaded them into the van at 4:45am. They were already dressed for the day when they went to bed, making it a really easy transition. We thought that they might snooze on the way to the airport shuttle, but they were all abuzz on the drive there. Benjamin and Jude especially loved riding the bumpy “polka-dot” bus to the airport.
Each boy, even Benjamin, carried his own backpack with all of their busy activities and snacks for the trip. If they wanted to bring it they had to carry it. Plus, the big boys carried their own booster seats through the airport until we could check them at the gate. David and I had our hands full with luggage, a car seat, and a stroller.
Checking out our ride to D.C.
We grabbed a bite to eat for breakfast in the airport and then it was time to board the plane! We hadn’t really talked about seating arrangements, but once on board the boys all piled in next to each other tickled to be with one another. David and I looked at each other in amazement and smiled at the thought of getting riding next to each other without children separating us!
The boys did fantastic on the flight there! They are all at an age where movies, books, and coloring are plenty to keep them occupied. Without an itty bitty around there was no need for minute to minute busy activities and walking the aisles to count the minutes down until landing! Jude and Benjamin particularly loved taking off. “We’re flying, we’re flying” they would shout!
After only 3 1/2 hours we arrived in DC! We caught a minivan taxi cab easily and were off to the hotel! We really enjoyed seeing some of the sights as we made our way into town, and the cab driver was happy to tell us a little about some of them, too.
We arrived at the hotel around lunch time and were told that our room was ready early. Of course, we also checked out the lobby. Low and behold, there was a giant panda in our midst! Benjamin was over the moon!
Taking the elevators up to our room on the 8th floor was always a big hit
The view from our floor
Checking out the Koi Pond
For lunch we stopped at a cool hamburger joint called Burger Tap and Shake and chowed down! We all got milkshakes that were to die for, too. Poor Benjamin was wiped out and totally missed lunch though!
Snoozing through lunch
David’s burger! Wowza!
Our next stop: the metro! I was a bit nervous about traveling with three young children on the metro. I pictured doors opening fast, people moving fast, not knowing when to get off, looking like clueless tourists and frustrating the locals. And, lets face it, fast is not exactly our speed. But, with the help of some great online tutorial videos that I watched before the trip I felt like we were as prepared as we could be. As it turns out, the Metro was awesome! It was clean, the maps were easy to follow, people were helpful, and it was a super convenient and affordable way to travel around the city.
In one day we traveled by car, bus, plane, cab, and train!
First stop: The National Air & Space Museum!
I hadn’t originally worked this one into our plans, but when Elliott specifically asked to go I decided we could squeeze it in on our first day there. We were all pretty exhausted, but our excitement kept us going. This museum was HUGE! There was no way we could see it all in one afternoon, but we managed to cover quite a bit nonetheless. There were so many interesting things to see and do. A lot of it was over Jude and Benjamin’s heads, but Elliott certainly enjoyed himself. His favorite room was the exhibit on the Wright Brothers. It was extra special for him to get to see all of the things he had been learning about in 2nd grade. Even though I didn’t get a picture of it, I particularly enjoyed the room with World War II planes and soldiers’ uniforms from around the world.
Sculpture outside of the Air & Space Museum
From the Air & Space museum we made our way across the National Mall to the famous National Mall Carousel. We grabbed a snack and had the ride to ourselves! Jude was so proud that he got to ride the dragon!
We were a little bummed that a huge portion of the National Mall looked like this. I suppose there is always construction somewhere in D.C.
Before the trip I ordered this book for Elliott to take around with him. It was perfect for him and he really enjoyed checking off the boxes as we went!
Cutest little tourist ever
As we were heading back to the metro we caught a glimpse of the Washington Monument. On a whim we decided to go for it and make the trek down the rest of the National Mall towards it. The closer we got the more we knew that we just had to make it all the way. We were all so impressed with how much bigger it is up close.
Shortly after arriving I looked over at Jude sitting on a wall to find him dozing off. I plopped him down in the stroller and he took a long nap. At this point he had been awake since 4:30 am! He missed the Washington Monument, but got some much needed rest instead!
Elliott had me time how fast he could run around the base. He made it back in 24 seconds flat!
It really is such a majestic monument. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.
With Jude in the stroller and nearly a mile away from the metro station it was time for David to test out the Ergo. I am SO thankful that we brought it along. Benjamin rode in it every day quite a bit so that Jude could rest in the stroller some. He even took a few naps in there!
We got very good at obeying traffic signals and racing the crosswalk clocks!
One of the many embassies we saw while in D.C.
What to do at the end of a long day of traveling and sight-seeing when you’re tired, hot, and hungry, but still excited to be on vacation? Go swimming in the hotel pool, of course!
And, that’s exactly what we did. Every. Single. Night. We had a blast doing it, too! The indoor pool was warm and relaxing and just what we needed that night. David ordered a pizza that we ate by the pool and then it was off to bed to rest up for Day 2!