November 20, 2017

Washington, DC: 5 Presidential Experiences that Don’t Involve the White House

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Ford's Theatre

When visitors come to Washington, DC, they naturally want to take a tour of the White House. Well, White House tour tickets can be difficult to obtain, and now, all tickets must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress (along with the Social Security number of every member in your party). So why not enjoy a few other presidential activities in the city on your next visit. Here are my five picks.

  • Ford’s Theatre: The site of the 1865 assassination of President Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre holds a unique place in U.S. history. Spend an hour and 15 minutes enjoying a self-guided tour and a presentation from a National Park Ranger on Lincoln’s presidency, assassination and legacy. You can also rent both adult and kids versions of audio tours for a richer experience.
  • Madame Tussauds: Yes, it’s a wax museum, but I think the Presidents Gallery is fantastic. I took my kids there a few weeks ago and found the wax displays of all 44 U.S. Presidents to be fascinating. There was so much to learn about each one and there were even interactive displays for the kids.
  • Newseum: Through the end of 2011, the Newseum has an exhibit on display called “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets.” It’s a fun way for your family to learn more about the U.S. Presidents by way of their pets, like the Obama’s dog, Bo, and even Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog, Fala.
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage: I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area nearly my entire life, and to be honest, I had no idea that President Lincoln’s summer cottage, where he lived with his family during the Civil War years, was here in DC. Guided tours last one hour and it’s best that you purchase your tickets online before you go.
  • Woodrow Wilson House: Enjoy a video presentation, featuring historical footage, to help you and your kids better understand the house and artifacts in the context of time. Guided tours last one hour and the last one starts no later than 3:15. It’s best to make an advance reservation for your tour, but general tours are available on a walk-in basis as space permits.

Have you been to Washington, DC? Do you have any other favorite presidential museums or must-sees when in town?

Comments

  1. Pam Johansen says:

    I have heard awesome things about the Newseum, but we have not been there yet. We LOVE the White House Visitor’s Center which is just a few blocks over from the White House. A nice big, indoor open space (which was fun when my daughter was just learning to walk) or when the weather is bad. Good exhibits for Mom and Dad to enjoy or share with the kids. On the 4th of July, they had tons of activities for kids including historical characters walking around, a chance to sign the Declaration with a feather pen, beeswax candle making, old fashioned kids games and more. Check out their special events to see if they do this or anything fun like it at other times.

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