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Op-Ed: What to do in DC with the kids on days it's too hot to be outside Special

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 24, 2013 in Lifestyle
Looking for something to do in the D.C. area this summer when it's too hot to be outside? There are plenty of things to do that are inside the comfort of air conditioned buildings and are very child-friendly.
With the last of area schools letting out, many parents might be wondering what to do to keep the kids busy. Especially on those days where it is just too hot to be outside. With temperatures expected to jump up into more seasonal summer hot temps this week, it might be a good time to start scouting some places to go to get the kids out of the house.
There are many indoor places to go with the kids in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia to escape the heat. Many are right downtown and others are within an hour's drive or less.
Here are some thoughts if you're in town for a visit or live local and don't get the chance to visit during the busy school year:
National Museum of Natural History
Run by The Smithsonian Institute and conveniently located right on the National Mall near a Metro Station, this museum is very kid friendly.
Sometimes there are entomologists that bring out critters where visitors can get a close up and pers...
Sometimes there are entomologists that bring out critters where visitors can get a close up and personal look. Many times insects are allowed to be held.
A word of advice, in my experience, mornings are usually a better time to visit due to high volumes of visitors. The museum opens at 10 a.m. For more information about other exhibits and summer hours, please see the museum's website.
The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is conveniently located not too far off the National Mall. This tour runs about 45 minutes and is very kid-friendly.
Jellyfish at the National Aquarium
Jellyfish at the National Aquarium
More information can be found at the aquarium's website. If you're looking for a day trip, I've never been, but the National Aquarium, in Baltimore, is said to have a lot more to see.
Air & Space Museums
Are your kids fascinated by aircraft or outer space? If so, a trip to one of the two Smithsonian Air & Space Museums might be in order. One is located on the National Mall, the other about 25 miles west in Chantilly, Va. Each museum is full of things to see and do.
Additionally, both museums have an IMAX theatre that could add to a fun day in air conditioning. For more information, please see the museum's website for list of exhibits, movies and other scheduled events.
Skyline Caverns
About an hour's drive west of Washington, D.C. on Interstate 66 is the Skyline's Caverns. This is a great summer activity since the temperatures inside the cavern are in the 50 degree range year-round. A nice way to beat the heat.
For more information and images of Skyline Caverns, Digital Journal did two pieces last year:
Review: A visit to the Skyline Caverns, Front Royal, VA
Up close view of anthodites, the 'Orchids of the Mineral Kingdom'
The anthodites are really something!
For pricing and hours, please see the Skyline Caverns website. There are also a couple of other activities on the property, such as a mini-train ride and a house of mirrors for additional entrance fees.
There are many discounted, or free, movies offered on certain days of the week. Here's a list that offers some locations in Virginia. It's very possible there are some theatres downtown that offer these as well.
These are only a handful of the many kid-friendly places to go in the Washington area that are indoors, but there are a lot of other things to see and do (for instance, older kids might enjoy touring a 19th century prison) or visit one of the many museums or historical homes located in Alexandria, Va. and the surrounding areas.
Summer time is a time most kids look forward to, but on those days where it's just too hot to even be at the pool, there are many other things to be found in the Washington area that can make for a fun day.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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