If your kids are a little tired of art, history, and “old houses,” you might be able to bribe them into touring through the Hirshhorn, Corcoran, or Phillips collections with the promise of a trip to one of the three amusement parks in neighboring Virginia and Maryland.
Six Flags America
This family theme park offers more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions. There are eight roller coasters, including the Batwing, the Superman, and the ever popular Mind Eraser. There's also a variety of children's rides in Looney Tunes Movie Town; the Hurricane Harbor water park; live shows, games, gift shops, restaurants, and more. Six Flags is open from April through October (in April, May, September, and October the hours are limited to weekends and certain holidays, so check the schedule before you plan to visit), and hours vary. Admission for adults is $49.99 (discount on the Internet); for children and disabled, $34.99, and you'll pay $15 for parking, $25 for preferred parking.
King's Dominion is 400 acres of fun for everyone in the family, from the youngest up. It has over a dozen roller coasters and a 19-acre water park, with Big Wave Bay, a 650,000-gallon wave pool; Surf City Splash, which has fifty water attractions; and many water slides. There are special attractions for the little ones, who can meet their favorite cartoon characters and enjoy safe rides just like the big kids.
King's Dominion is open from April through early November (in April, May, September, October, and November the hours are limited to weekends and certain holidays, so check the schedule before you plan to visit), and hours vary. There are concerts and special events; call for information. King's Dominion is located 75 miles south of Washington D.C. Adult admission is $49.99; seniors fifty-five and older, $39.99; for children ages three to six it's $34.99. There are two-day tickets available, and Internet discounts. Parking is an additional $10 per vehicle. Take Interstate 95 south to exit 98 and follow the signs.
Busch Gardens Europe
A European-theme park with seventeenth-century flair, Busch Gardens boasts more than forty thrilling rides, dazzling shows, a wildlife preserve, quaint shops, European cuisine, and a separate water park. There are also more than a score of younger kid-friendly rides and shows. The park is open March through October. It is located in Williamsburg, VA, 150 miles south of Washington D.C. Single tickets are $51.95 for adults, $44.95 for children. There are special deals for seniors, and multiday and meal plan deals are available. Parking is $8.