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Washington, D.C., Tours for the Whole Family

The Deal Detective is’s resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She’s always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.

Sue writes, “I have a grandson who has taken a real interest in the election of President Obama. We would like to take him and his little brother to Washington, D.C., this summer. The boys are eight and four years old. We definitely want to see the White House and the Air & Space Museum. Any tips or suggestions?”

I applaud your grandson for taking such an active interest in politics at such a young age. Washington, D.C., is an ideal place to cultivate his curiosity. With museums, historical monuments, and national memorials located within just a few miles radius, however, the city can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to deciding what to see or do. Instead of suggesting my top picks for where to go, I’m going to instead suggest taking a tour, which can help take the headache and guesswork out of planning.

If you want to focus your trip solely around President Obama, you can plan your time with the help of an itinerary that highlights many of the key locations in his election and presidency thus far, including a visit to the Library of Congress to see Abraham Lincoln’s Bible used in the inauguration, having a photo taken with the life-like wax version of the President at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, and breakfast at the Hay-Adams Hotel where the Obamas lived before moving into the White House. Since the itinerary contains only suggestions for things to do, you can build your trip around what interests you (and your grandsons) most.

For active family travelers, Bike and Roll offers a monuments biking tours ideal for adults with kids under nine that cover four miles and include sites such as the Vietnam Memorial, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial. The tour costs $40 per adult and $30 per child. If you’re traveling with a tyke too little to ride, they can always ride along in a tandem trailer. The company also offers a variety of other tours for jetsetters and families with older children.

Sometimes, however, you just want to experience a city from the seat of an amphibious vehicle, and that’s where DC Duck Tours comes into play. The 90-minute narrated tour costs about $29 per adult and $14 per child, and passes significant sights and monuments before driving into the Potomac River. Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis, but you will want to reserve your tickets in advance.

If you’d prefer to see the sites independent from a tour guide, but still want to add a little bit of fun into the mix, you can purchase a pre-planned scavenger hunt for $15. You and the little ones can explore D.C. with a purpose in mind, while learning about each place you visit. This is an interactive way to keep kids entertained while incorporating the history of the city.

Since you’re visiting in the summer, you can also choose from a slew of free activities and events.

These are only a few options for ways to explore the city, but you can find many more (including trolley, river cruises, Segway, and walking tours), as well as other tips of things to see and do on the Washington, D.C., tourism website. You will also be able to find suggestions on places to stay, along with deals available during your travel dates.

I hope, whatever you decide to do, your grandson’s interest in the presidency only continues to blossom and grow.

For my other readers: Do you have a top spot in D.C. that you want to share? Can you offer Sue tips on the best family friendly places to visit? Please share with everyone any and all tips below.

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