Extended hours from April through August. Mount Vernon opens from 8am to 5pm. In the months of March, September and October, Mount Vernon is open 9am to 5pm.
We loved roaming the property, exploring the gardens and greenhouse, sitting in rocking chairs overlooking the Potomac River, and wondering through the recently redone museum and interactive George Washington exhibit. There's plenty to fill your day, and it's an nice relaxing break from the crowds in DC. It's also a beautiful drive along the Potomac River from DC to Mount Vernon. The only thing we couldn't do with our 2 year old was tour George Washington's house. He couldn't be still during the tour, so one of us (me) chose to wait outside and play on the grass instead. Regardless, we'll go again the next time we visit DC.
I would put this destination as a must see. Our entire family had a wonderful day (kids age 10, 9, 7). We learned so much about George Washington, the times he lived in, the land and so much more. You really need to plan to be there for several hours to get the most out of this experience. The grounds are large and there is so much to see.
The Mansion itself was interesting, however because there are so many visitors, they keep you moving through and you don't get a long time to take it in. We were lucky and only had to wait a few minutes before entering but I understand lines can get quite long. When you are done inside, be sure to walk around to the back porch and have a seat in one of the chairs and enjoy the view of the Potomac.
All along the grounds you can explore buildings like the keepers quarters, the slave cabins, the blacksmith, and many more. There are staff at certain locations dressed in period garb to provide information, answer questions, etc. You can also visit the old tomb as well as the current one.
On the ground there are animals such sheep that will come right over to the fence. The kids enjoyed checking these out. After we walked down to the water , checked out the farming grounds and the barn, we took the nature path back up.
They have a van to take you to some points of interest on the property for those who have difficulty walking long distances, hills, or may be short on time. We did not use this convenience but it did appear as if many others were enjoying it.
Inside there is an educational center and a museum. There are a few movies in the educational center, George Washington's dentures, a children's hand's on learning area and plenty more on his life.
There is a food court inside. Prices are a bit pricey, as they usually are in this type of setting, but there is a Pizza Hut, you can get burgers and fries, sandwiches and other things. I like the court set up so everyone could get what they like.
There is a nice sized gift shop inside as well. They offer a variety of books, soveniers, area wines, and many other items.
Mt. Vernon is a favorite spot of mine. My husband and I usually spend an entire day at Mt. Vernon. There is so much to see, and not just inside the mansion. The grounds are still nicely kept and it's a working farm to this day. Take a stroll by the river or a walk in the garden. You are sure to love this place!
We studied colonial times and the American Revolution for three months prior to our trip, so we found that the money we spent at Mt Vernon was worth it. We also encouraged our children to play the online game for children that introduces the estate and its history.
This is absolutely the best way to prepare your children for the visit, because they will walk through Mt Vernon "virtually" many times before they arrive. Then when they do arrive, they will immediately identify items on the estate because they've already seen them online.
We encouraged our kids to wear their colonial period costumes for our trip, and the docents at Mt Vernon were very engaging with the kids, curtseying to them and asking them questions about their costumes and studies. Mt Vernon offers a wonderful room for young preschool-aged children, as well as a special room for teachers (public, private and homeschool) where you can pick up educational materials for the classroom.
We watched the video on Washington's life and walked through the exhibits, which are first-class. The cafe was expensive (Pizza Hut is available), but we found a coupon online that allowed us a pretty good discount on admission, so I would recommend planning your visit ahead and trying to find a good discount if possible.
***Books to read before you go***
1776 by David McCullough (young adult - adult)
This Country of Ours by H. E. Marshall (children - young adult, selected portions of the book relating to GW)
George Washington by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire (young children)
We are a homeschool family. We love to read books that will prepare our children to experience fully the history, wildlife, culture, religion, and even architecture of our trip destinations. If you have any reading suggestions for this destination, will you send me a note with the title, author and why you love this book for this destination?
We are a nerdy family so we like all things history related and Mount Vernon is a must see. We also travel alot by Amtrak train and we actually took a bus to Mt Vernon (I researched the routes before our trip to DC) as we rarely have a car on vacation when public transportation is available. You take a combo of Metro trains and bus to get there.
The grounds are gorgeous and the Pioneer Village was fascinating and interactive. Little kids will prefer to spend time outside watching the re-enactors and exploring the buildings. The new visitor's center was under construction when we were there so we are looking forward to going back and experiencing that attraction as well.
Kids hate waiting on line but mine like old architecture as they are amazed at being in houses where people actually lived. There are lots of little details that only kids notice. If the kids are getting restless, you could always skip the tomb of George and Martha as it is a marble mausoleum but it is nice to know that it is all right there from a historical perspective.
An honor to visit and experience history on the beautiful banks of the Potomac but the tied down benches are a little off-putting. Make a day of visiting Mt. Vernon when you know the weather will be nice and conducive to both indoor and outdoor activities and it won't disappoint.
Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, is very well preserved and provides an authentic view of how life used to be all those years ago. For children just starting to learn this nation's history, a visit to Mount Vernon is an invaluable experience. Nestled on the banks of the Potomac River, the sprawling estate offers wonderful, tree-lined lung space for children to stretch their legs to the fullest. A tour of the house is a must and a hike through the gardens and a stroll along the river are definite pluses.
We spent an entire day at Mount Vernon and it was our favorite stop. I would definately recommend "The National Treasure Tour" if its still going on. We watched the movie prior to our trip, and then took the tour and the kids loved it. They recognized a lot of the places from the movie - and even noticed the few things the tour guide got a bit wrong. We even got to tour the basement of the house - which is normally off limits. The guided tour through the property was so helpful and I would recommend this to anyone. You get so much more out of the experience. I learned more about George Washington on this tour than I ever did in history class!
It's very beautiful there and of course the history makes it a treasure, but there are long lines and lots of crowds, and young ones will not appreciate George Washington for the history alone. The grounds are really nice and as an adult with an older child I enjoyed myself but I'm glad that I went when she was in middle school.
I took my 4 1/2 year old who doesn't really understand the concept of George Washington yet so we didn't go inside the mansion, we only did the estate. We loved seeing the pigs and the bison. We also really enjoyed walking through the gardens since we started growing our own veggie garden...she could actually identify what was growin at Mt. Vernon.
Mount Vernon is one of the other homes you can visit in the area. It is gorgeous, but of course not too kid friendly unless you have a baby that is in a carrier of some sort. Or you can handle your kid on a tour. I would probably avoid it after 1 and before 9 or 10. But it's a nice way to see the history and is in a gorgeous location.
For anyone who hasn’t taken the drive to Mount Vernon, the trip is well worth it. Mount Vernon, a lovingly restored riverfront property, was George and Martha Washington’s plantation, where the first president lived (although he spent a good deal of his time away from it).
Additional reasons to visit include: the Ford Orientation Center, the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, and slave cabin. Start your tour by watching the 18-minute film narrated by Pat Sajak—yes, the pick-a-vowel emcee—at the Ford Orientation Center. The film showcases Washington against the background of life at Mount Vernon and his exploits in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.
The 23 galleries in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center present George Washington the boy and man as opposed to the legend. Highlights include the three life-size wax figures of Washington—as a 19-year-old surveyor, a 45-year-old general, and a 57-year-old president. To create these figures, especially the faces, the museum employed a sculptor, a forensic anthropologist, a computer specialist, and a good deal of high-tech equipment. The result: some of the most accurate likenesses of Washington anywhere.
Along with the physical re-creations of our first president, the galleries present Washington the boy, military leader, farmer, and husband through eleven films and hundreds of artifacts. The museum also talks about Martha, his loving wife. In 1799 she wrote, “The day you died. I could not speak or cry. I did not go to the funeral. I locked our chamber door never to sleep again in the bed we shared.”
At the Hands-On History room, in Reynolds Museum and Education Center, kids can try on colonial-era clothes, piece together pottery shards similar to those found on the estate by archaeologists, and assemble woodblocks and trussing rings to craft buckets as coopers did.
The tour of the historic house may not be the most exciting for kids, but the guides are good at mentioning details that bring Washington’s character to life. Much of the furniture in the 7,000-square-foot mansion is authentic. The dining room, the most ornate room, lacks a main table and the chairs are placed against the wall. Constant hosts, the Washingtons never knew exactly how many guests to expect.
Rather than set a formal table, trestle tables were set up to accommodate whomever arrived. After dinner these were dismantled so the room could be used for dancing, something Washington loved to do.
Allow time to explore Mount Vernon’s grounds, especially the Pioneer Farmer site. From April to October the facility offers hands-on opportunities such as cracking corn, visiting the animals in the sixteen-sided “round” barn, making a fishnet, or hoeing the fields with “farmers” in period dress. The gardens on the grounds contain trees, flowers, and herbs selected and planted by Washington himself.
Washington chose a nearby setting as the grounds for the family tomb. In September 2007 Mount Vernon debuted a newly reconstructed slave cabin, a tiny 14-by-16-foot dwelling with a clay floor. It was the hard work of the slaves who served at Mount Vernon that created the splendid estate that Washington loved.
George and Martha Washington are buried at Mount Vernon and a nearby plaque marks the burial grounds of the plantation’s slaves. Picnicking is not allowed on the grounds, but tables and chairs are outside the gates. The property offers a food court and the expanded Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
After standing in line for almost 2 hours we finally made it into the house only to find out that you can't actually enter any of the rooms or touch anything. Mostof the rooms are filled with "re-creations" which means they are all fakes. There are people stationed throughout the house to give you a bit of informationn about the room you are looking in to - that means if you talk while they are talking they glare at you - which was rough for my middle schoolers (and even me).
The view of the Potomac River from the Washington's back porch is AMAZING!! He definitely choose the right location for his house.
There is a little petting zoo area for sheep and lambs. I'd never seen a lamb up close...too cute for words!
You can also visit Washington's grave while you are there.
The muesum has several interesting videos and we learned a lot about George and Martha W.
On the dirve out there we saw several bald eagles - very exciting!
I'd skip this, unless you can go on a day without a million other people there.
This was a highlight for our children and another history lesson. A warning to parents- the waiting to get into the house is long so bring snacks, water and things for the kids to do while you are waiting in line. The tour through the house is fairly quick but very interesting. The views of the Potomac were fabulous- you can sit on the porch in a chair and just enjoy the view. The tour of the stables (and animals), distillary servants quarters and tombs will be more exciting for the kids because it's outdoors and they can run around more freely. There is an adventure map for kids that gives them activities to do (older children) There is a trail you can walk if you have time and are interested. We enjoyed it and told the kids to run around because it would be a long car ride to our next destination. The kids didn't care much for the museum, but they did enjoy the film- We Fight to Be Free (I don't remember if it's appropriate for all ages). If you're in the area, don't miss this special place.