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Touring the National Mall in Washington, DC, with the Family

RV Lifestyle & Repair Editors
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The National Mall is one of the country’s most treasured spots. On a recent RV trip, the McEwen family toured the Mall and shared their tips for visiting the area with kids.

The McEwens planned to take a full day to explore the National Mall. They used the DC Circulator, a public bus system, to get around the area. They made stops at:
– National Archives to see the Constitution
– National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden
– Washington Monument
– World War II Monument
– Reflecting Pool
– Lincoln Memorial
– White House

National Archives

The Constitution is inside the National Archives. You’ll go through metal detectors and be able to tour the building, which includes a room that houses the Constitution. The room is temperature-controlled and guarded, and the documents are preserved in glass cases.

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You can’t take any pictures inside, though, because camera flashes can harm the one-of-a-kind documents.

National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden

If you go to the National Archives, there’s a small but amazing sculpture garden in front of the building. With large pieces of colorful art, a fountain, and shade, it’s a great place to wander around for 15 minutes or so.

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Washington Monument

You can go inside the Washington Monument, but there’s only a limited number of tickets available each day. Be sure to book in advance. Even if you don’t go inside, you should certainly snap a few pictures of the 555-foot-high tower that’s dedicated to George Washington.

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The McEwen family decided to walk from this point to the Lincoln Memorial.

World War II Memorial

Opened in 2004, this monument is a new addition to the mall. The plaza forms a ring of columns—each column representing a US State or territory—and their united effort in the war. The center features a fountain.

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If you’re walking from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, you’ll come to the World War II monument first.

Reflecting Pool

After the World War II Memorial, you’ll walk along the Reflecting Pool. There are always ducks hanging out in the pool.

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Lincoln Memorial

It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. Both of the McEwen girls, Adalyn, 7, and Riley, 6, were excited to see Lincoln since they’ve been learning about him in school.

The Lincoln Memorial has 87 steps up to the monument. It’s actually the most-visited monument in the city, with an estimated 6 million people visiting the site each year.

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The girls are surprised to see Honest Abe sitting so high up in a chair, and they both agree he should be wearing a top hat, but they think it’s cool to see such a historic site.

Next stop: The White House. The DC Circulator gets you close to the White House, but you’ll still have a handful of blocks to walk to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The historic landmark is the last stop on the McEwens’ tour for the day.

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Tips to tour the National Mall with kids

– Consider planning a trip during the offseason. It’s quietest in October and December.
– There are a few big events that draw a lot of people to the area: Fourth of July, Memorial Day Weekend, and the Cherry Blossom Festival.
– Have a transportation plan. The DC Circulator is a good option.
– Bring a backpack with water and snacks.
– Pace yourself; the mall is bigger than you think.
– There are dozens of kid-friendly museums and parks that you can visit, but you should plan ahead for each activity.

Most importantly, if you decide to take an RV trip with your kids to DC, have fun and enjoy learning about the nation’s history.

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