Washington, D.C. with Kids

Washington D.C.

 

We have always questioned, when is the “right” time to take our children to the nation’s capitol? When will they take away the most from the experience? Will they be able to enjoy all of the museums and understand the history or will it just be a wasted effort? We did wait until the kids were older, but found we didn’t need to since there is so much for kids to enjoy in D.C. regardless of their age. One of the most attractive things about this city is that many sights are free, so if you kid throws a major tantrum or complains of boredom, you won’t feel guilty leaving and returning later (or saving it for another time).

Washington, D.C. is fairly simple to navigate due to the numerous recognizable monuments located throughout the city. It is very helpful to use them as navigation points if you are ever lost. Most of the Smithsonian museums and major monuments are centrally located along “The Mall” which heads west away from the Capitol Building.  You can walk to the sights, take a tour bus, ride a boat, use the metro, or even borrow a bike. However you get there is up to you, but know that getting there is half the fun. Just be sure to bring your comfortable walking shoes.

 

10 Things to See and Do in Washington, D.C. with Kids

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Essential Travel Gear for Families

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When you travel as a family there is a lot of planning involved, along with a lot of gear. However, when you travel frequently, you learn to scale down and bring only the necessities in your bag. Over the years we have come up with a set list of essentials we never leave home without. I’m not talking about the usual toiletries, medicine, and clothes, but those items that always travel with us. The next time you get ready to head out the door, you might want to throw these in for good measure.

 

12 Essential Items to Pack for Your Next Family Vacation

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Chicago’s Greatest Attractions for Families

Kids in Chicago

When our family moved to the Chicago area nine years ago, we were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of kid-friendly activities the city has to offer. Chicago almost feels like a city built with children’s entertainment in mind.From the Lincoln Park Zoo to the Museum of Science and Industry, the city offers destinations for children of all ages, which makes it a perfect destination for a family getaway.

Chicago is a city made for walking (except in the dead of winter). Gorgeous architecture abounds, but there is also a sparkling lakefront, a charming river, world class restaurants and endless shopping. These are the features that make the city attractive to adults, but children find the city appealing for many other reasons. In creating this post, I decided that my kids (ages 7, 9, and 11) would be the best ones to ask about their favorite Chicago attractions. Hopefully, their perspective will help guide you in choosing the sights you want to visit with your family.

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Packing Tips for Families

Family Packing Tips

Don’t Take More Than You Need!

Packing for a trip can be an overwhelming task, but when you add kids to the mix, the task becomes more daunting. With the addition of each child comes more clothes, toys in every shape and size, and the need for new packing strategies. As a parent you need to have a game plan in place. There are things you will need to do before you go, things you will have to pack in your suitcase, and things you will need on the plane. Here are our tips for managing the mounds of clothes, eliminating the extras, and saving space in your suitcase.

Before You Go

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Universal’s Islands of Adventures – The Other Orlando Theme Park

Islands of AdventureIf your kids love Harry Potter and super heroes more than princesses and cartoon characters, Universal’s Islands of Adventure could be the place for you. People often overlook this Orlando attraction, but it actually delivers on some things where Disney falls short. However, it does fail in some rather important areas, namely rides suitable for the little ones and a lack of food allergy awareness, which is a problem for our family.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is a theme park that is easy to manage in a day. There are seven “islands”:

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Around the World in A Day: 5 Things We Learned at Epcot

EpcotIf you have never visited Epcot, you don’t know what you’re missing. Think of traveling around the world, but never leaving the confines of the United States. Well, central Florida for that matter. Think “It’s A Small World” on steroids. The park is made up of two distinct sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is not so futuristic, it actually consists of an aquarium, soaring experience, and some hands on technology exhibits that now seem incredibly dated. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know why World Showcase appeals to our family. Eleven pavilions, each representing a different country, ring a central lagoon and within each one you can experience a bit of culture through shows, rides, shopping, and our favorite, food. This time we showed up just in time for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (bad idea) so the park was crazy busy. NOTE: These people actually run a half marathon and then tour the park the rest of the day. Who does that? Be sure to check the Disney calendar and make sure there are not any major events on the days you are planning your visit.

We entered the park and headed directly for the FastPass+ kiosk (see previous post about navigating Fast Pass +), got our coffee on at Starbucks, and set off to explore. Continue reading