I and my sister-in-law were longing for a family vacation together and hence we both were waiting for our kids to finish their semester exams.
So finally all 6 of us decided to visit Washington DC for a family holiday.
Washington DC is the capital of United States with an estimated population of more than 6 lakh.
One of the most popular seasons to visit Washington DC is spring time hence we chose this beautiful and refreshing season to visit this capital. We all were excited to explore Washington DC to get a taste of American culture and history.
We took an early morning flight to travel via British Airways and arrived at Reagan National Airport (DCA) at 6 in the evening.
We checked in a beautiful luxury hotel located in Central DC just 8 miles away from the Reagan National Airport. We all were very tired since we had worked overtime in our respective workplaces to complete pending tasks and duties. Hence, we decided to take it easy that evening and start our tour from next morning.
We started our day with lovely bed tea and English breakfast containing poached eggs, sausages, baked beans and some lovely fresh bread. Our first place of visit was the National Mall located in downtown Washington DC. This place houses a lot of museums, gardens and interesting landmarks and hence makes the nation’s capital city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
We stared our tour with the National Museum of American History which gives a glimpse into the history of United States covering areas of politics, science, culture and military. This museum actually reflects the life and experiences of American people. The guide told us that this museum has more than 3 million artifacts in its collection. The original Star Spangled Banner flag is displayed as a centre piece which is a sight to see which one must not miss. We also saw Archie Bunker’s favorite chair from the show ‘All in the Family’. This museum showed us a lot of facts about America which we were not aware of.
After spending more than an hour here, we moved on to National Air and Space museum. This museum holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. The kids almost went crazy seeing the aircrafts and they loved the aircraft carrier, where you can see Navy jets taking off & landing on an aircraft carrier. In fact they were keener on listening to the history of spacecraft than us. . The museum was so amazing that it would interest even the most scientifically challenged person.
Next in line were the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of the American Indian, National Museum of African Art and the Smithsonian Castle. We took a few minutes to relax in the lovely garden surrounding the castle. After a nice coffee and cookie session, we took a leisurely stroll to the Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House. It was a great honor to see the house where the President lives.
Overall, the first day was a great educational day for our whole family.
We ended our first day with a lovely dinner in downtown before departing to our hotel.
The next morning, after breakfast, we proceeded to tour the Capitol Hill and its neighborhood to explore the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and Supreme Court. The US Capitol building is among the most architecturally inspiring and historically important buildings in the world. The building was beautiful to view and a guided tour definitely helped in getting more insight into the history of the Capitol. Next in line was the Library of Congress which was again a beautiful building with awe striking interiors. We were in the middle of all of Thomas Jefferson books and spent more than two hours exploring various exhibits. We then visited the Supreme Court. Although Court was not in session during our visit, we were still captivated by the Supreme Court building and its history. The guided tour provided a rich history of the Court and its beginnings and the extraordinary educational qualification it takes to be considered for this court.
Post this; we visited the Union Station which is also in the vicinity of the Capitol. Union Station is a train station and one of the busiest and popular places in Washington DC. Union Station is visited by around 32 million people each year has many shops, cafes and bistros. It is situated on the metro red line, so one can easily connect from the metro train to Amtrak or a bus. The Food Court there had a lot of variety including sandwiches, salads and burgers. We munched on some yummy cheese burgers, fresh muffin and coffee. There were shops, restaurants, transport – one could actually spend a day here without getting bored. The kids loved visiting the Union Station since there was ample space to run around and have fun.
Our third day was dedicated to the National Zoo which is one of the places every kid will love to visit. We took the Metro to the Woodley Park -Zoo station. The National Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States and is home to around 2,000 animals of 400 different species. The entry to the zoo was free. In fact the entry to most of the museums was also free! There are a lot of animals in the zoo right from exotic birds, monkeys, Asian elephants, reptiles, pandas, octopus and much more. This zoo is a must visit for kids as well as adults. One tip from me would be to carry good walking shoes while visiting this zoo since there is a lot to walk. The kids had good fun and the best part for them was the overhead trek by the orangutans from one building to another.
The zoo was quite big and we were very tired walking and wanted some energy so we halted at a nearby food stall to grab some energy.
The next destination was the Ford’s Theater which is a historic theatre in Washington DC and also the place where U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. This theatre produces plays which reflect the exclusive and diverse character of American life. There is a museum in the basement where we saw the real gun which was used to assassinate President Lincoln since it was on display. We then sat in the audience and attended to a 15-20 minute presentation on Lincoln. After the presentation, the guide escorted all of to the house across the street called The Peterson House where Lincoln died. Indeed, it was very interesting and informative.
We had dinner at our hotel and dived into some nice ethnic food and beer. Since both the kids were very tired after a long day, we put them off to sleep and spent some time at the pub inside the hotel.
We had to depart the next day in the evening; hence we decided to spend the mornings indoor. After breakfast, the kids got busy in the swimming pool while the couples decided to go for a relaxing massage at the hotel. The foot and body massage gave me a very relaxing and calm experience. Apart from the massage, I loved the ambience of the spa with dim lights and lovely aroma candles.
We departed in the evening with heavy hearts since we knew that our cities and offices were eagerly waiting for us.