Quick Survey of Touristy Activities in DC

(I know this is supposed to be about Williamsburg. I will write that post, soon I hope.)

Our friends visited this weekend. They are from Kentucky and have a 13 year old girl and almost 11 year old boy. Because our friend is about to have surgery on his knee, they had a handicap parking sticker. They also have an eight-seater van. These considerations made doing some of DC very easy. As you probably figure, parking is a nightmare, but there are usually handicap spaces available at the monuments.

Here’s what we did.


  • The FDR memorial. I love that place. It is beautiful, thought-provoking, peaceful, and more. Plus the dog is adorable.
  • The MLK memorial and Tidal Basin. Interesting. My friend’s kids noted that he is breaking free of the big stone. Very astute.
  • Vietnam War Memorial. This is where Gilbert started to lose it.
  • Lincoln Memorial. I haven’t been there in about 15 years. So worth a visit. I’d forgotten. Mostly though, S and G wanted to run up and down the wall.
  • Korean War Memorial. I didn’t get to go see this because this is when Gil went into full meltdown mode, so we stayed near the car while others checked it out. Seamus loved spending time with Kayleigh and Kolby.
  • Cookout at our house. So fun! Y’all those five memorials could easily take all afternoon, and we did them in two hours.


  • Seamus had swim class, so I went out with Gilbert and our friends.
  • First off ended up being the Air Force Memorial because we kept getting turned around.
  • Arlington National Cemetery. We saw the Women in Military Service exhibit. That was cool and I’d never seen it before. Worth a stop if you go, especially in the summer because it’s indoors, air conditioned, and there are bathrooms, no changing tables though. Ironic, no? We also caught the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, twice. Gil couldn’t muster proper respect so he ran up and down some stairs away from the action. We also saw Kennedy’s grave and the eternal flame.
  • WWII memorial. I hadn’t been here either. Totally fun. Very interesting. A big highlight for Kolby. A highlight for Gilbert too as he dunked his feet in and drew a bunch of baby ducks toward him.

    WWII with Ducks
  • I rode home on Metro from the Smithsonian stop and my friends continued on, seeing the American History Museum.


  • We rode the tandem 20 miles out to Reston. The boys had pancake day.
  • Our friends had another packed day of the Holocaust Museum, the Natural History Museum, and they tried to get to the National Archives but didn’t have time.
  • Another cookout, and we had Kayleigh and Kolby babysit while we all went out for a quick look at Falls Church.


  • The NRA Museum in Fairfax. A big big hit for Kolby and Nicholas. Something like 17,000 guns and a movie setup.
  • The Air and Space Museum in Chantilly. We’ve never been there, but we’ll make a trip out there soon because it sounded awesome! Huge. Includes a space shuttle.
  • Swimming at the hotel pool.
  • Celebrated Kolby’s birthday coming up.
  • We’re so glad they visited.


  • We had planned to all go to the zoo, but they wanted to get on the road to Virginia Beach.
  • I took the boys plus our friend KJ to the zoo. Highlights today included the orangutan defecating from the O-Line, the octopus putting on a show in his tank, and the donkeys snorting at us rather loudly. Today is perfect for the zoo. 70 degrees.

For Next Time

  • The National Cathedral
  • Congress (need tix from Congressperson)
  • The White House (need tix way in advance)
  • The Supreme Court
  • National Archives
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing


  1. Wow! Again you wore me out with how much energy you’ve expended. I too love the FDR memorial (and mostly because of Fala). If you have not had an opportunity to see the memorials at night that is certainly worth the effort — the Korean War Memorial is especially effective at night (I think that is the one with the bronze soldiers). The photo with the baby ducks was precious!!!

  2. Good Lord. Kayleigh is the same age Shelley and I were the first time we went to DC. Glad you all had fun!

  3. Rachel, tell me about it!
    I’ve been meaning to post forever and keep forgetting. Anyway, we had such an awesome time, with some very excellent tour guides 😉
    We will definitely come back in a couple of years and finish out that list! Unfortunately, we probably will not have that handicap sticker! Lol! I think the WWII memorial and the Air & Space hanger were our 2 favorites, but the cookouts at your house and all that good time together were the absolute best! Love y’all!

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