The Washington Post

What to do with kids in Washington D.C.

The carousel at Zoo Lights is one activity to add to your list before it’s time to go back to school, work, and the same old, same old. (Craig Hudson/For The Washington Post)

How are you spending your winter vacation?

After a week or so of family, friends and kids begging for more to do, the seemingly endless possibilities don’t seem so endless, do they? Here are a few ideas to make the most of the next few days.

National Children’s Museum.

It’s not what it once was when it was in the city. But this play space is indoors and has a bunch of activities that can stoke some imagination. A firetruck with helmets and coats, a dress up area where children can don clothes from other parts of the world, a block area, a cash register and an area where they can load crates, then pull them via pulley system like shipping containers were all popular when we tried it out this week with friends. And then you’re at National Harbor, which has a carousel, restaurants, shops and more.

Zoo Lights.

Yes, it’s still going and will until Jan. 1. For $10 per car for members or $20 per car for nonmembers, it’s not cheap. It costs $3 per ticket if you or your child want to ride the inner tubes down the slides near the lions. Same goes for the mini train or the whirly ride nearby. It costs to ride the carousel as well. The lights are pretty, the popcorn smells good, and if you bundle up and know that it’s going to cost you, it can be a fun night. (Free glow sticks in the Think Tank!)

Get there as early as possible to avoid parking lines. It’s open every night from 5 to 9 p.m. and hey, if you take public transportation, admission is free.

Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at the Sculpture Garden cafe while watching skaters swirl on the temporary rink. And if it’s skating you’re interested in, there’s a skate rental, and tickets are sold in two hour sessions.

Trying to stay indoors? Good bets this week are the National Building Museum, Udvar Hazy, College Park Aviation or the Phillips Collection for those with slightly older children. Nothing like a van Gogh to pique artistic imaginations and brighten up a dreary winter day.

Little foodies can have fun at Union Market. Help them decide between homemade sodas, empanadas and fresh veggies or fruit, then pull up a chair and watch the world go by.

My six-year-old suggests bowling for the whole gang. Bowlmor in Bethesda, White Oak duckpin bowling in Silver Spring, and there’s always Glow-in-the-Dark bowling Falls Church.

Movies! Not too much for kids at the moment, except for Frozen. But it’s a winner, according to critics and kids alike.



Amy Joyce is the editor and a writer for On Parenting.



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