Guest Author - Candyce H. Stapen
If visiting Washington, D.C.,this summer with children, take advantage of the DC Cool Kids Contest to win a free return trip next year. Also, bicycle past the monuments at night, watch the new baby panda cub at the zoo, tour the National Archives, take in a baseball game and splash in a relatively new riverfront park.
The first step in the DC Cool Kids Contest is to download the free activity guide. Then when you visit the Air & Space Museum, the American History Museum, the Newseum, and the National Zoo, all in the heart of the District, plus Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home just 16 miles from the capital, get your activity guide stamped at each attraction. Send in a photo of your stamped pages by September 1, 2014 to DC Cool Kids and hope to be chosen.
The winning child gets to come back to DC with three family members. For the summer 2015 return trip, the lucky family receives either four round-trip tickets on American Airlines or on Amtrak plus a three-night stay for four people at the Palomar, a Kimpton hotel, four tickets to the International Spy Museum, Madame Tussauds, a wax museum of famous figures, and the Crime Museum as well as four tickets to Bike and Roll’s Monuments at Nite tour. That’s when the monuments look their best and the evening breezes make biking fun.
The winners also receive four nights of free meals. At Urbana, families can design their own pizza; at Carmines choose pasta, chicken or fish dishes, at Hard Rock Café munch on Buffalo wings and burgers and at Hill Country Barbecue Market, choose ribs, brisket or chicken.
On your DC visit this summer, get out of the mid-day sun by exploring the air-conditioned museums. In addition to the attractions you visit for their stamps, be sure to tour the National Archives, home to the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. While admission is free, the waits to get inside can be 60 minutes or more. Cut to the back of the inside line where there’s air-conditioning by reserving a ticket ahead of time for a nominal fee.
To see another District star, visit the National Zoo. Arrive in the morning when it’s not too hot and head straight to the Giant Panda habitat to admire the baby panda cub Bao Bao.
Another DC summer tradition: baseball. Root for the home team at Nationals Stadium. Be sure to arrive hours ahead of the game so you can enjoy the adjacent Yards Park. Connected to the stadium by a walkway fronting the Anacostia River, the park, opened in 2011, is a lesser-known gem. Bring sandwiches for a picnic on the grass or dine at one of several restaurants. Stroll the boardwalk with its view of the Navy ships and relax on the wooden chaise lounges in the shady garden area. The piece de resistance: the 66,000-gallon canal basin pool. Only 11-inches deep, the pool is perfect for splashing. Be sure to bring a bathing suit, a towel and a change of clothing for the game.