Our entire family loves history! So one of our favorite places to explore is Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. It is definitely a must see place if you are visiting the area. George and Marthe Washington’s home is located about 20 miles from Washington D.C. and I highly recommend that if you are already taking the trip here, you should go see this wonderful place.
Mount Vernon is open 365 days every year so you can choose to go anytime! They sell tickets at the entrance but the lines can get long. The easiest way to go is to buy your tickets online and avoid the wait. With your ticket, you will also get a timed ticket for the guided Mansion tour, you won’t want to miss it. Parking is free so you can either drive there or take a cab.
What to do in Mount Vernon with kids-
The first time we visited Mount Vernon, we didn’t take the boys. We weren’t sure of what to expect of such an important place. But we quickly learned that the boys would absolutely love it there! and that they would be so welcomed by the staff.
We have taken them now a few times, for different events and the sparkle in their eyes is an amazing thing to see.
When you first walk in, they have a security bag check and then the first thing you see is big statues of the Washington family. Kids love to touch them and ask questions about each of them, it’s a great opportunity to start an amazing educational day. After that, you walk in and see a miniature replica of the mansion which gets their little minds intrigued about seeing the real thing.
They have a 20-minute film on a theater right behind the miniature mansion. You will be tempted to skip it and just go on to see the place, but let me encourage you to take the kids in and see the very short but very powerful and inspirational film. My boys were so in awe of it! An, of course, they had many questions after which makes for another great teachable moment. All of that just in the visitors center.
When you finish the movie, you are ready to explore the grounds! Don’t forget to keep your timed mansion tour ticket! Be ready to walk a lot, this helps the littles to get some energy out! After touring the mansion, you can sit on the back porch of the first President’s home, and look at the beautiful Potomac River. I remember the First time we did this, the boys kept wondering what Washington would think about when sitting on that very same porch! Another teachable moment!
Right outside the mansion, you can take paths to see the outhouses and the beautiful gardens, before you set out to see the slave quarters, the Slave Memorial, and other small buildings.
Then you will take a short and easy hike towards the river, on the way, you will see George and Martha Washington’s tombs. Then head over to the farm and maybe even catch a wheat treading demonstration. All throughout the estate, you will find staff members, dressed up in appropriate period attire. Depending on the day you go, you might find more of them than usual, and they are always so very willing to answer all of the questions that the children have.
At Mount Vernon, we have learned so many things, hands-on and while interacting with the people who are always there to help little minds grow up loving history. Candle making, wood fire cooking, textiles of the period, laundry, animal care, gardening, are just some of the many things that we have learned during the various events.
After all that fun you still have one more place to see. The Museum and Education Center! our boys truly love it there. they have about 10 short movies and many interactive exhibitions for children and adults to dig deeper into the knowledge of the life of George Washington.
You don’t want to miss Washington’s teeth!
they also have a hands-on learning room for the smaller kids with books and activities.
And the very impressive wax models of Geroge Washington.
Things to know-
Tickets cost $17 for ages 12 and up. $9 for ages 6 to 11. Children 5 and under free.
Only drinking water is allowed on the grounds. But they have a food court where you can purchase food if necessary.
Plan to spend a whole day there, or if your time is very limited, at least dedicate half a day! that way you won’t need to rush and will be able to enjoy everything.
Encourage your children to ask questions, and enjoy making memories.
If you are in the area and are looking for other fun things to do in D.C. with kids, check out this post with 5 fun ideas!