10 hours in Washington DC

It is somewhere I have always wanted to go, my daughter is doing American history at school and even my son knows about the landmarks so we spent the day today in Washington DC.

To get there I literally put “The White House” in the sat nav! The White house was therefore our first stop. It was free to park on the street nearby and as we are still on UK time we arrived at 9am so it was relatively easy to find a spot to park and there weren’t too many tour groups around. Although it looked just like it does on TV, I personally expected it to look bigger. I would have loved to see inside but at the moment it is impossible for British visitors to do this due to the British Embassy not having enough personnel so we had to make do with walking round the outside. We walked past the National Treasury building and round to where the rather sad looking National Christmas tree is located. From here we could see the other side of the White House and, in the opposite direction, the Washington Monument.

Our next stop was at Capitol Hill where we ran around the garden, looked at the monument and walked along the wall next to the water with the Washington Monument in the background.

After a quick snack we drove round to see the Pentagon and then we drove past the thousands of graves to the impressive National Marine Corps Monument.

We were going to visit the Air and Space museum but as we drove past the entrance we saw the enormous queue snaking out the door and down the street so we decided to head to the Smithsonian Zoo instead. At the Zoo we discovered that the car parks were $25 so with it being Sunday we parked on a street nearby instead.

The Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC is free to get in. A map is $5 but as we were on a tight budget we decided to explore without one. We were at the Zoo for a couple of hours and didn’t see everything but we did manage to see a few interesting animals. We especially liked the reptile house with its Alligator Turtle and the Elephants. For a free Zoo it is great and has a good variety of animals.

We finished off our day by driving half an hour North of Washington to visit the Medieval Times dinner show.

Washington DC with an autistic child?

If doing Washington DC in a day I would recommend getting a car. This gave us a base to go back to and easy way of moving between places.

The Zoo is free!

There are many free museums in Washington DC. It would be an idea to research beforehand and visit which you feel may interest your child.

For seeing sights such as the White House getting there first thing in the morning seemed to work well for us as it wasn’t busy.

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