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27 July 2009

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Best Indoor Places for Toddlers Around Washington DC

Traveling with toddlers and preschoolers can be difficult.  You don't always know which destinations will accommodate their endless activity and curiosity, and still allow you and the older kids in the family to enjoy themselves.  Around Washington, DC, these are the some of the best places to take a toddler where they can have fun.


14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, Virginia

reviewed on: November 23 2009

"Better than the one downtown"
Located near Dulles airport, in many ways Udvar-Hazy is better than its well known brother downtown.  If you are staying outside the city, especially in Virginia, it's easy to get to and admission is by the car not by the person.  And the crowds are far less than going downtown.  Inside, it's two floors of a giant hangar full of airplanes, the space shuttle, helicopters, rockets, and lots of other flying related stuff.  Get up close to the space shuttle and the concorde.  Udvar-Hazy is also great for families who have toddlers because it's a wide open space that is suitable to running around.  For toddlers, the giant space will be an adventure, while it's educational for older kids.  The only knock is the eating, which is limited to an on-site McDonald's.  We have been here many times and the kids still enjoy it.


401 F Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia

reviewed on: November 23 2009

"More play area than museum"
As far as museums go, this isn't much of one.  But it's actually a fantastic play area for kids from 2-6.  The carpeted atrium is one of the largest indoor spaces in DC, and has hosted inaugural parties.  There are lots of building blocks  and stuff for kids to stack (and knock down) at one end of the atrium.  There is also a separate room called the Building Zone with more building materials, dress up costumes, make believe house, books, and more.  Everything is free but there can be a line to get into the Building Zone.  Parking around the museum is limited.  There is a small snack shop with drinks, cookies, and fruit.


10th St & Constitutional Avenue
Washington, District of Columbia

reviewed on: November 23 2009

"Must see"
This is one of the must see places when visiting DC.  It's the best museum on the mall for kids small and large.  Kids love the dinosaurs, mammals, and the new sea creatures exhibits.  This museum can get very crowded, especially during holiday weekends.  The food area is much improved recently.  Like most places on the mall in DC, parking is a challenge.


1961 Chain Bridge Road
Mc Lean, Virginia

reviewed on: November 23 2009

"More than just shopping"
Sure, Tysons Corner has shopping.  It's one of the largest malls in the country.  But it's also a great destination for toddlers.  In the newest section by the movie theaters and next to the food court is an enclosed toddler play area with parent seating all around.  It can get pretty crowded but it's a good destination on a rainy day, or when you need to get some shopping done.  There are plenty of restaurants.  Go straight to the top levels of the parking garage and take the walkway directly to the food court.


2254B Hunters Woods Plaza
Reston, Virginia


reviewed on: November 23 2009

"Better than a restaurant"
If you are looking for a place to have a bite to eat, but have toddlers or small kids with you, this is a great option.  There is a supervised area where your kids can play while you watch them and eat in peace.  The food isn't great but they have basic sandwiches, snacks, and coffee.  There is a reading area for older kids.


19 West Cork
Winchester, Virginia

reviewed on: November 23 2009

"Worth the trip"
It's a hike from DC, but if you are in Virginia it's a nice day trip.  The museum is in an old historic building.  You'll think you went back in time 100 years.  All the exhibits are interactive and the entire museum is child proof so it's safe for even the young ones to roam around.  There is no food on-site but you can leave and return throughout the day.