A Family Trip to Washington, D.C, Part 22: Places We Did Not See

In case you missed the first few posts in this series, we are chronicling our family trip to Washington D.C.  The first post in the series is here.  You can find the rest under the travel menu on our main page.   Last week Melissa reviewed how we ate while we were in D.C.. Today, I will recap some of the things we were not able to see or do on our trip.

We spent a full week in Washington, D.C., and saw almost everything we wanted to. A few places were being renovated or were closed for another reason. Others we felt were not suitable for all our children to walk through. Since it was a family vacation, we wanted to make sure we did things as a family. And there were a few places we plain did not have enough time to see. The items we missed will be added to list of stops for our next Washington, D.C. trip.

Below is a list of the places we did not see, but thought would be enjoyable.

Monuments after Dark
Once evening sets in the monuments are lit up. They are supposed to be even more majestic to look at under the lights. There are a few companies in D.C. offering bus tours of the National Mall after sunset. There are also walking tours of the Mall. Both should give a good opportunity to see the illuminated monuments.  We had a preschooler with us whose bedtime made nighttime monument viewing difficult.

Holocaust Memorial Museum
This is one of the places we did not think was suitable for all our children. Especially our youngest. Sure, we could have gone through in shifts, but Melissa and I enjoy historic places more when we can discuss them with one another. That is tough to do when we are not together. The significance of the events surrounding World War II forever changed the course of history. We wanted to pay respects to the millions of people who lost their lives in Europe.  To be able to walk through a place that commemorates such a significant time in history is definitely on our list of must do’s for the next trip to Washington, D.C..

Holocaust museum
Picture courtesy of the National Holocaust Museum website

Old Post Office Tower
The Post Office Tower is supposed to provide great panoramic views of the city. Second only to those from the Washington Monument. It also houses some fun national artifacts.  Since tickets are not needed for the tower, it is easier to get into to enjoy the views of the city than the Washington Monument. In fact, many people recommend it as a reasonable alternative. Unfortunately for us, it was closed for renovations during our visit.

Postal Museum
This was a museum that would have been fun, but it did not make the cut for the must see museums on this trip. Walking through a museum that encapsulates the vast changes the postal USPS has undergone would definitely be an educational experience. Our kids may not be very familiar with the history of the stamp, but they would have enjoyed the horse and dog drawn postal wagons. Our time was limited, though, and the kids said this was something they could skip.

Washington National Cathedral
This is a beautiful building. The architecture is magnificent. It would have been fun to tour. Unfortunately, it in itself was not a destination for us, and there was not much else around it that made it worth the stop. We considered stopping at it after our day at the zoo, but we were too tired for the additional walk. A fun fact you may not have known: the building is on the National Register of Historic Places but finishing work is still ongoing. 120 years and the building is still not complete!

Newseum
This is a unique twist on the museum concept. This museum is geared towards modern items. Hence “new”seum. There are a lot of new technological gadgets housed in the building. There is also a fair amount of space dedicated to print and digital media since it’s main focus is on first amendment rights. It is supposed to be a highly interactive museum, which would have been fun for our kids. Once again, it missed the cut of must see places for this trip due to constraints of time and general interest to the kids. Perhaps next time.

Newseum
Image courtesy of the Newseum website

Smithsonian Institution Building
This castle shaped building (also the original facility to the Smithsonian complex as a whole) would have been fun to tour for the architecture. Unfortunately, it contains mostly artwork and our kids made it clear that one art museum was enough for this trip to D.C.. In order to see all the art in the city, it will take a few more trips. Maybe we will just have to leave the kids home next time.

National Portrait Gallery
This building fell off our list of definite places to visit for the same reason as the Smithsonian Institution Building. The collection includes both modern and historic photography and artwork. Even so, our kids said no to any more art.

Tour of the US Capitol
As you may have read about in an earlier post, we pondered a tour of the Capitol building while we were there. We decided against it in order to keep peace and order with our kids. Waiting for a tour time and then trying to keep them quiet for the duration was more than we wanted to tackle. One note: if you do decide to tour the Capitol, you can book the tour in advance in order to sip the waiting in line.  We did spend some time in the US Capitol Exhibition Hall, which is attached to the Capitol.  It was interesting, included a great deal of historical information, and offered just enough information so the kids could call themselves officially “educated.”

us capitol dc with kids

Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
This is a living memorial to all those who have given their life in the line of duty. Each spring, the names of officers who have fallen the previous year are added to the wall. In May, there is a ceremony to unveil the names. The monument is a simple, somber reminder of the cost some people pay to keep us safe.  This did not make our list due to time constraints.

Iwo Jima Memorial
Probably the most iconic war memorial in all the Washington, D.C. area, it is situated a short distance from Arlington National Cemetery. It was on our list to do after the cemetery on day three of our trip, but we were exhausted. We had walked miles. Much of it through and around war memorials. Our feet, hearts, and minds were exhausted. We also planned on driving to the monument on our way out of D.C., but we did not. It was across the entire city, and headed in the wrong direction. Instead, when we climbed in the car we decided it was best to just head toward home.

Have you been to any of these locations? Would you recommend visiting them again? Share it with us in a comment so others will know!