Been There Done That? Innovative Family Tours in Washington DC

Since we’ve been highlighting multiple ways to explore DC through Dana’s posts about Touring the White House, Choosing Kid-Friendly DC Tours, and DC Kid-Friendly Museums (to name a few) — I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon.

Last spring, I tried to hunt down some new ways to explore Washington DC with my kids as they’ve been there many times. This is the follow up post about the innovative tours that got my kids re-energized about exploring Washington DC.

DC by Foot Tour Washington DC

First stop on DC by Foot tour, Ford’s Theatre

What do you know about Lincoln’s assassination?

Now, we all know that he was shot, but have you ever learned about what preceded the event and the details involved? Steven, our guide from DC by Foot, turns his gifted storytelling into a 2-hour captivating tour covering the details of that famous day.

Not only does he bring the story to life, but he also has you walk the path that President Lincoln followed that very night to Ford’s Theatre. My kids were riveted by his engaging story, but heads up — there are some gory details! Of course, that is what draws some in, but for younger kids, it may be too much. Ages 8 and up are ideal for this tour.

We booked a private tour with DC by Foot, which was terrific, because my kids could ask a million questions. Steven, an IBM consultant during the week is a history buff during the weekends.

Steven’s tour and story is based on the intelligence he’s gained from pouring over the court documents from the trial of John Wilkes Booth. My 10-year-old son proved he was in fact paying attention when he said, “I had no idea that he also plotted to kill the Vice President and Secretary of State!”

The group tour  is offered for free (tips are welcomed of course!) and covers 1 mile on foot. Contact DC by Foot directly for private tour pricing and current schedules.

Spy City Set Up

Getting set up for Spy in the City tour

Are you meant to be a spy?

The Spy Museum is a big hit with kids in DC, but if you have done it before or looking for a way to get the kids really engaged, look at their Spy in the City tour where each participant is given a GPS spy unit that gives step-by-step instructions.

You have to go to different locations and enter information that decodes messages to complete your mission (i.e. break up the imaginary spy ring). My kids loved it.

I would note, however, that there is a limited age range with this tour. If kids are too young, it will be frustrating because they won’t be able to read the instructions or enter the information. Now, if they are too old, they will not buy into it. 7-12 is the best age range for this tour.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended kid-friendly hotels in Washington DC

Tips for getting a tour at The White House

Choosing between kid-friendly tours in Washington DC

Exploring Washington DC museums with kids

Washington DC family trip planning tips

10 new ways to experience Washington DC with kids

Washington DC with kids, top planning resources

Washington DC attractions, favorite family activities

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  • I would highly recommend touring the monuments by bike with Bike and Roll. Saves parents tired feet and the guides are great with kids and even bring snacks too. We did the night tour and it was FABULOUS! We even got to hear the echo at the Albert Einstein monument. Getting to see all the monuments and get a brief synopsis and fun facts within 2 1/2 hours is a great time managing tour if you are only in town a short time.

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