Ford's Theater, the place where Lincoln was shot. It's also the location of an annual production of A Christmas Carol during the holiday season and other shows (typically of historical value) throughout the year.
The people at the Ford's Theater were so friendly and full of information. We first went downstairs and looked at the many items and read so much about our History. It was an amazing place to visit. Then we were escorted up into the Theater to hear the story about President Lincolns visit there. A great place to visit.
Having a kiddo who loves early US History, the Ford Theater was on our list of things to see in DC. The lines for this place are always long during peak season, so although free - it might be best to purchase the tickets ahead of time through Ticketmaster and pay the small fee to make sure you get tickets for when you want to visit. The lower level museum is packed with various short films, memorabilia, and interesting facts about Lincoln, the time leading up to his death, and the Civil War. Take your time in this area - although you are going in with a large group of people, it will thin out as people make their way into the theater and you will be able to read/see everything. The theater portion of the self guided tour is like stepping back in time. You can see the balcony where Lincoln was shot and sit in the seats of the theater as one of the other patrons in the 1800s. The great part of this museum if that there are rangers stationed throughout each of the areas to answer questions and provide background information - this is especially neat in the theater as there are not things posted there to read since it is still a working theater throughout the year. During this tour, we also had the Acoustiguide audio tour booked which just proved to be too difficult with a child. First, you must hold/keep up with the handheld audio player (no headphones like the White House tour). Second, there are so many videos playing in the museum itself that there is plenty of audio already to keep the kids attention. Possibly an older child (over 10) might have a better time using the Acoustiguide system, but it would be safe to skip for younger ones. Located near Metro Center, Gallery Place/Chinatown, and Archives metro stations.
My husband and I went to see Ford's Theater's rendition of A Christmas Carol; it was absolutely amazing.
Until seeing A Christmas Carol, I hadn't been to Ford's Theater since I was a child visiting DC. It hasn't been on my list of things to do in the city with because my kids are still quite young and just beginning to recognize President Lincoln.
The show is advertised as family-friendly for ages five and up. I was a bit skeptical about this age recommendation and left my kids at home. I'm glad that I did.
The scenes with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, while not inappropriate, are scary. There was an eight year old in front of us that looked a bit spooked. It's at least as scary as Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride - probably scarier. But, if your child doesn't scare easily, bring them along; they're certainly welcome and there is no inappropriate material. I think that most kids ages 10 and up would really enjoy the show.
The sets, the costumes, and the acting were all excellent. I particularly loved how several Christmas carols were seamlessly woven into the show.
Ford's Theater is a nice venue for seeing a play. The theater feels small and cozy. I think that next time I would choose a seat in the front of the balcony - if I had the choice.
We arrived at the theater about 45 minutes before the show started, and were allowed to go downstairs into the museum to look around while we were waiting. It was really busy and difficult to really enjoy the museum - but nice to have somewhere to wait. The small museum is very educational about Lincoln's life - but it doesn't really have much to involve young children so I'll probably hold off on visiting with my young children for a few more years.
There's so much to do in DC with kids, time becomes a factor. We loved that with timed tickets, touring Ford Theater only took us about an hour (budget two hours if you also want to see the house across the street where Lincoln died). I agree with the other reviewers that the NPS rangers at the theater were all very friendly and full of information. We really enjoyed the 20 minute talk in the theater describing the events of the night Lincoln was shot, and seeing the actual presidential box is always impressive.
The museum is small but good; opt for the timed tickets that include both. We opted to skip the house where he died, because while your timed ticket gives you entry, they limit the number of people let in at a time, slowing the line down considerably.
Definitely worth doing!
We find it pretty neat to be able to visit places of such historic significance. Here, you get to sit in the theater where President Lincoln was shot and listen to a Park Ranger talk about the details of that fateful night. The Ranger is available for questions after his (or her) talk. Afterwards, walk across the street to visit the house where Lincoln died.
Tickets are free but timed.
I had never before visited Ford’s Theater, and I was pleasantly surprised. My daughters are both very interested in Abraham Lincoln, and as a family, we have visited several note-worthy spots where they learned a lot about his story. By far, this was the most detailed and informative place that we have yet seen. I was expecting a short visit to simply see the infamous balcony, but there was so much more. Upon entering, you first visit the museum that chronicles his entire life, even going so far as to give biographies of his father and mother. There are many pieces of memorabilia that you won’t see anywhere else, including items that were in his rooms at the White House, letters written by his hand and personal photographs that give insight into his life. In another part of the museum, the assassination plot is painstakingly detailed and even more memorabilia is on display. When you are finished walking through this area, you will take a staircase up to the balcony of Ford’s Theater where you can truly feel immersed in history. During your visit, you can sit in one of the chairs and imagine being there on that fateful night. My children (6 and 9) were enthralled with the museum and the theater. Younger children will probably be less patient, but there are a lot of exhibits that may get their attention. There is, for an additional fee, an audio tour that you can take that will give you a more directed course throughout the museum, but we opted not to take it and had a wonderfully interesting and educational experience. I recommend following up your visit with a stop at the Petersen house across the street.
I have taken the tour at Ford's Theatre a couple of times. It is very neat and still in great shape. I haven't been able to watch a production yet, but hope to one day. The only reason I haven't given it 4 stars is because the last time I was in, they weren't allowing veiwing of the room where Lincoln was shot. Not sure if that has changed since then.
We walked around the theater was President Lincoln was shot and talked to our children about the events surrounding it and the importance to our country. For younger kids you probably don't need to say much. It's pretty amazing to be in a place where something so historical to our young country took place. There is a museum in the basement which was very informative and held quite a collection of things that belonged to Lincoln. The kids enjoyed the exhibits.