One of the toughest parts about traveling in Washington DC with kids is that there’s so much to see and do. Even when you narrow down the “must see” there’s still a great deal of physical ground to cover. Getting to and from so many monuments and memorials takes time and can wear on travelers young and old. So when I discovered Bike and Roll, I ran, or should I say rolled, with it.
Bike and Roll runs a number of tours in the Washington, DC area. I booked my family on their Monuments@Nite Bike Tour the first night we were in town.
Biking through Paris was a huge hit with my family, and along with having a blast, it really helped give us a good sense of direction in Paris. I hoped for the same in DC and I was not disappointed.
Monuments@Nite Bike Tour
After checking to make sure everyone was comfortable on their bikes and donning oh so attractive reflective vests, we were off. A great deal of biking is done on walkways, so know in advance there will be some do-able people dodging, but we didn’t get going until about 7pm so the monuments are less crowded and the temperatures are cooler.
National WWII Memorial
Our first stop was the National World War II Memorial. It honors the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces and the more than 400,000 who died. Our guide, Jas, gave just enough background information, then set us loose to explore.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the men and women who served in the controversial war. Visitors leave thousands of items at the Memorial every year. All items are collected and kept by the Smithsonian and are anything but typical. A former Army chaplain left his Medal of Honor, and a group of motorcycle enthusiasts from Wisconsin left a custom-built Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
The Einstein Memorial
We never would have visited The Einstein Memorial on our own and it turned out to be the kids’ favorite. Go stand in the middle of the Memorial facing Albert Einstein and say something. A fun echo will bring smiles to kids and adults alike.
Don’t be surprised if you see more than one person climb up Einstein’s body to rub his nose. I haven’t been able to track down how it started, but rubbing his nose is supposed to bring knowledge and luck. Either way, the kids will have fun on the upward expedition.
It was just starting to get dark when we made it to the Lincoln Memorial. The massive marble statue is impressive any time of day, but has a certain wow factor at dusk.
The statue of the 16th U.S. President stands 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons. Rather than just take the stairs back down to her bike, my 10 year-old got creative.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
It was a treat to see this presidential memorial at night. Lit up, the Jefferson Memorial dominates the southern end of the National Mall. From its steps there’s a great view of the White House, across the water a mile to the north and the can’t be missed Washington Monument.
More than half a dozen monuments and memorials in just three hours. That includes a snack break. Fun family travel doesn’t get anymore streamlined than that.
Photo Credit: Dana Rebmann