An insider’s guide to a day trip in D.C.

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Paddle boating in the Tidal Basin

Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing a new point of view of the Jefferson Memorial as they paddle around on the Tidal Basin. If the cherry blossoms are in bloom, it can be especially scenic. New swan paddle boats were added this year. One person 16 years or older is required per boat. All passengers must wear life vests.
Admission: $18/hour for a two-person boat, $30 for a four-person boat, $34/hour for a two-person swan boat.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, mid-March to Labor Day; Wednesday-Sunday Labor Day to Columbus Day weekend, weather permitting.
Getting there: Located close to the Smithsonian Metro or pre-pay on the website for a guaranteed parking spot.
1501 Maine Ave., SW

Pit stop:
Picnic on the Mall, street vendors or food trucks

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage

Free performances are offered daily at 6 p.m. and can expose kids to different styles of music, dance and theater. No tickets are required. Check the website for scheduled shows.
Admission: Free
Getting there: Close to the Foggy Bottom/George Washington University Metro. Some limited paid parking available at a garage.
2700 F Street, NW

Pit stop:
The Kennedy Center's casual KC Café is open daily from 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. selling sandwiches, salads and other dishes.

Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

Part of the National Arboretum, the Youth Garden is specifically designed for families to explore the natural world. See, smell, touch and even taste a wide variety of plants and flowers and enjoy an outdoor classroom with wooden xylophones and a stage. If there's time, explore the rest of the arboretum including a walk through the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, which has wide trails and bridges that are inviting for kids.
Admission: Free
Hours: Daily 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Getting there: Parking lot available. No Metro stop nearby.
3501 New York Ave., NE

Pit stop:
Take a picnic to eat in the National Arboretum in the National Grove of State Trees.

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