Washington DC for Families

If your family can take only one trip to a major American city, Washington, D.C., will almost certainly be your destination. Washington is filled with some of the greatest and most recognizable attractions in the world, from the soaring Washington Monument and the grand U.S. Capitol Building to the spectacular museums of the Smithsonian Institution.  You can see the White House, home of every U.S. president since John Adams, watch the justices of the Supreme Court deciding the great legal issues of the generation, and pay homage at the scene of Lincoln's assassination or at the tombs of America's military and space heroes.  Washington offers great art, big-time sports, spacious parks, and surprising historical associations around every corner.  And it's an affordable city, with innumerable free attractions.



E-mail Larry Lain

Other Larry Lain Books

London For Families

Paris for Families

New York City for Families

Boston for Families

London for Lovers

Student's Guide to London


About the Author and Illustrator

Larry Lain is Professor of Communication at the University of Dayton. He wrote London for Families with son Michael Lain, London for Lovers with the only possible co-author, Barb Lain, his wife since 1969, and The Studentís Guide to London with UD colleague Jeff Griffin. Larry's next addition to his Family Travel Series will be Boston for Families, available in 2004. He also has done three books on journalism education. Larry has a doctorate in mass communication from Ohio State University, a masterís in journalism from Ball State University, and a bachelorís degree in English from Indiana State University. Family travel with Barb and their three sons, Mike, Rik, and Doug, has been one of the finest parts of Larryís life, something he hopes to enhance for readers of his Family Travel Series. Illustrator Barb Lain is a 3rd Grade teacher at St. Anthony School in Dayton, Ohio.  She did the illustrations for London for Lovers, the book she co-authored with Larry, and with this book takes over as illustrator of Larry's Family Travel Series.  She holds a master's in science education from Wright State University and a bachelor's in elementary education from Indiana State University, where she met the guy she travels with.





Updates to the 2003 Edition

Things change.  If they didn't, we'd never need new books and a lot of perfectly nice travel writers would be out of work.  But nobody can afford to reprint a book every thing anything changes.  This website represents a sort of middle ground.  Check this page when you begin planning your trip.  I'll post major changes here - the things I'll update when the next edition goes to print.  Between editions, I'll update the page regularly.  And you're welcome to contribute, too.  If you find something that's changed, or make a discovery you want to share with readers, e-mail me and I'll post that here, too.

Note that because of changing security conditions in Washington, some attractions may not be available at all times.  Check the websites of the things you most want to see before you leave home to avoid disappointments.


Part I Updates:  Chapter  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Part II Updates:  Chapter 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17

Part III Updates:  Chapter 18 - 19 - 20 - Weblinks


Chapter 1 - Washington, Here We Come


Chapter 2 - The ABCs of DC, USA


Chapter 3 - Make Yourself at Home


Chapter 4 - Travel Ins and Outs

  • Pg. 51 - Bus 5A now costs about $3 per person, still the cheapest way into the city from IAD

  • Pg. 52 - The MARC train in from BWI is up to $6 ... also very good value.

Chapter 5 - Getting Around

  • Pg. 60-61 - A single Metro ride now costs $1.35.  A 1-day pass is $6.50, a limited 7-day pass is $22, and an unlimited 7-day pass is now $32.

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Chapter 6 - Life in the Big City


Chapter 7 - Living Like a Local


Chapter 8 - Making Choices


Chapter 9 - Three Branches of Government

  • Pg. 119 - The White House is now open for tours again. For admission, visitors must contact their Congressional representative up to six months before the visit.  Visitors will be notified about one month before the tour whether the request has been approved.  Tours (self-guided along a prescribed route) take place from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.  In your letter to your Congressperson, give your preferred date of visit, and alternate dates.  Visitors in wheelchairs are admitted, and visitors with mobility problems who wish to borrow a wheelchair can do so on arrival at the Visitors' Entrance, although they cannot be reserved in advance.  Wheelchair-bound visitors are permitted elevator access inside the White House.  Those with hearing or visual impairments can also arrange tours through their member of Congress.  Restrooms are not available to visitors.

  • Pg. 124 - The Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be closed during times of heightened security alerts. Be sure to check its website or telephone the tour office at 1-866-874-2330.  Tickets are not required from October to February:  Just line up.

Chapter 10 - Surrounded by History

  • Pg. 136 - The National Archives Building is open again!  You can see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in person here, some of the most noble expressions of freedom in the world's history. The building is open 7 days a week until 5:30 p.m. (7 p.m. in Apr-May and 9 p.m. June-Aug).  Don't miss this place - one of my favorite Washington sites.

  • Pg. 139 - The DAR Museum is now open Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

  • Pg. 140 - The Historical Society of Washington, DC has opened its new City Museum in its new downtown headquarters on K Street NW between 7th and 9th streets NW.  Metro:  Mt. Vernon Square (Green and Yellow lines) or Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red, Yellow, and Green lines).  Closed Mondays.

  • Pg. 145 - The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Chapter 11 - Monumental Monuments and Buildings

  • Pg. 155 - The Washington Monument is not presently open at night. Too bad, because the nighttime view is spectacular. Thanks to colleague Sam Wallace for his nighttime phone call from the base of the Monument to let me know about the change.  Hours are 9 to 5 daily. They may change again depending on Washington's fluctuating security status.

  • Pg. 160 - Along with the Vietnam and Korean War memorials is the new World War II Memorial on the central axis of the National Mall, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Like the others, it is open 8 a.m. to midnight daily.

  • Pg. 162 - The Old Post Office Tower has views almost as spectacular as the Washington Monument - and it's open until 7:45 p.m. on summer weekdays, 5:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  In the winter it closes at 4:45 (M-F) and 5:45 (Sa-Su).

  • Pg. 164 - The Old Stone House is presently open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Chapter 12 - Science and Technology

  • Pg. 173 - The Maryland Science Center closes at 5 p.m. every day but Saturday (6 p.m.) but has extended hours in the summer.

  • Pg. 179 - The Leesburg Animal Park is now closed on Mondays.

Chapter 13 - Keeping the Peace

  • Pg. 185 - Tours of the FBI Building are currently suspended again, and are scheduled to resume sometime in 2005.

  • Pg. 189 - The National Cryptologic Museum is open M-F and the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month (but Saturday hours are only until 2 p.m.). it is closed on Sunday.

  • Pg. 190 - The Marine Corps Museum and Navy Museum are now open M-F until 4 p.m. You must have a visitor pass to enter the Washington Navy Yard.  Telephone 1-202-433-3017 for information or complete an on-line application.

Chapter 14 - Something for Everyone

  • Pg. 196 - Here's a sad loss:  the Washington Dolls House & Toy Museum is now closed. The owner, Mrs. Flora Gill Jacobs, found it impossible at age 85 to fund and care for the museum as she wished, and has auctioned off the contents.

  • Pg. 198 - The National Capital Trolley Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays.  It closes at 5 p.m. on weekends, an hour or two earlier Th-F.  The museum is open in December only Sa-Su 5 to 9 p.m.

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Chapter 15 - Unforgettable Art and Culture

  • Pg. 213 - The Corcoran Gallery of Art is closed on Tuesdays.

  • Pg. 214 - The Phillips Collection is open until 5 p.m. Tues-Sun.  The museum stays open 8:30 on Thursday evenings.  The basic admission price is now about $8 on weekends but is free on weekdays.

  • Pg. 214 - The National portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art are now scheduled to re-open in July 4, 2006.

Chapter 16 - Living Heritage


Chapter 17 - The Great Outdoors

  • Pg. 244 - Both the museum and the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks and Gardens are now closed on Mondays.

Chapter 18 - Top Attractions


Chapter 19 - Sample Itineraries


Chapter 20 - Budget Worksheets


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updated 02 Jun 2015