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Washington, DC Fun Facts for Kids

Discover DC's little-known stats, funny facts and awesome kid experiences.


Presidential Pastimes

George Washington never actually lived in the White House – let alone Washington, DC. Photo Credit 

  • George Washington never lived in DC. The White House was actually completed a year after he died and the second U.S. President, John Adams, was the first to live there.
  • The statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square (directly across from the White House) was partially made from British cannons that were taken in the War of 1812.
  • The White House has a total of 35 bathrooms.
  • George Washington was supposed to be buried at the U.S. Capitol but his will stated that he wanted to be buried at his home, Mount Vernon, just outside of DC in Virginia. You can visit his gravesite today and pay your respects when you tour his home and estate.
  • The original phone number for the White house in 1878 was simply the number 1.
  • The only president buried in DC is Woodrow Wilson, who is entombed at the Washington National Cathedral.

Awesome First Animals

President Teddy Roosevelt’s love for exotic animals led to many wild first pets – bears included. Photo Credit 

Besides cats and dogs, some presidents actually brought horses and ponies, hamsters, sheep and chickens to the White House. Here is the full (crazy) list:

  • The Obamas have two Portuguese water dogs: Bo and Sunny.
  • Theodore Roosevelt allowed his six children to bring their pets to the White House in 1901: a small bear named Jonathan Edwards; a lizard named Bill; guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans and Father O'Grady; Maude the pig; Josiah the badger; Eli Yale the blue macaw; Emily Spinach the garter snake; Baron Spreckle the hen; a one-legged rooster; a hyena; a barn owl; Peter the rabbit; Algonquin the pony and many dogs too. 
  • Similarly, Calvin Coolidge also brought a zoo-worthy lot of animals: Dogs and cats: Peter Pan, a terrier; Paul Pry (also called Laddie Buck), an Airedale; Calamity Jane, a sheepdog; Boston Beans, a bulldog; King Cole, a shepherd; Palo Alto, a birder; collies named Rob Roy (also called Oshkosh), Prudence Prim, Ruby Rough, and Bessie; chows named Blackberry and Tiny Tim. Cats named Bounder, Tiger and Blacky; Canaries named Nip, Tuck and Snowflake; raccoons named Rebecca and Horace; Ebeneezer, a donkey; Smokey, a bobcat; Old Bill, a thrush; Enoch, a goose; a mockingbird; a bear; an antelope; a wallaby; a pygmy hippo and some lion cubs.

Monuments, Memorials and Museums

The memorial to World War I on the National Mall is not a national memorial, but a local one, dedicated to District of Columbia residents. Photo Credit 

  • The DC War Memorial, which honors local residents of Washington, DC, is the only memorial dedicated to World War I on the National Mall.
  • There’s a bathtub in the basement of the U.S. Capitol! Four marble tubs were installed in 1859 when most senators lived in boarding houses on Capitol Hill that had no running water so they came to work – and to wash. One of these baths can still be seen today.
  • When the Washington Monument opened in 1884, it was the tallest structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower in Paris opened in 1889.
  • The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with more than 160,000,000 objects in its collection. The Library is based on the personal collection of President Thomas Jefferson, which contained more than 6,000 books.
  • Visit the National Archives to see the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  • The Statue of Freedom is the bronze statue on the top of the Capitol dome. It looks small from afar, but it’s more than 19 feet tall and weighs nearly 15,000 pounds.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is one of the National Mall’s newest memorials, having opened in 2011. The newest memorial is the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
  • Instead of chiseling the "F" in "future," the letter "E" was mistakenly carved into Lincoln's second inaugural address on the north wall of the Lincoln Memorial. It has been touched up, but you can still see the typo.

Sports Stats

The Washington Nationals are not DC’s first baseball team ever, that distinction belongs to the Washington Senators, founded in 1901. Photo Credit 

  • DC’s first baseball team began play in 1901 as the Washington Senators but they were also commonly known at the Washington Nationals until the team moved away in 1971. There was no professional baseball in DC until 2005 when a team was moved to the city and (re)adopted the name the Washington Nationals.
  • The seventh inning stretch was started when President William Howard Taft visited a game here in Washington, DC and decided to stretch his legs in the seventh inning. Everybody assumed the president was getting up to leave the game, so fans throughout the ballpark stood up as well out of respect for the president, thus beginning the tradition of the seventh inning stretch.
  • The Washington Wizards were originally the Chicago Packers when the franchise was founded in 1961.
  • The Washington Redskins were founded in 1932, but did not move to DC until 1937. They were originally known as the Boston Braves, playing their games at Fenway Park from 1933-36.
  • Stephen Strasburg holds the record for most strikeouts in a game by any Nationals pitcher since the franchise moved to DC, whiffing 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in his professional debut on June 8, 2010.
  • Robert Griffin III won the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award in 2012, becoming the first Redskins player to do so since running back Mike Thomas in 1975.

DC Data

Built in 1986, the Friendship Arch in Chinatown celebrates the friendship between DC and sister city, Beijing, China. Photo Credit 

  • The Maine Avenue Fish Market has been operating nonstop since 1805, making it the oldest continuously functioning fish market in the country.
  • The cherry blossom trees that line the Tidal Basin and have beautiful pink blooms every spring were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912.
  • The Friendship Archway over H St. and 7th St. in the Chinatown neighborhood was built in 1986 to celebrate the friendship between Washington and sister city, Beijing, China. The shops and restaurants in the neighborhood also have signs with their names in Chinese to further highlight the spirit and Chinese heritage in this part of town.
  • Georgetown is the oldest part of the city, dating back to 1751  40 years before Washington, DC was founded.
  • DC averages 39 inches of rainfall a year — more than Seattle!
  • Washington, DC is a very international city, home to more than 170 embassies and international cultural centers. The city’s colleges and universities host about 20,000 international students each year, and 15 percent of DC residents speak a language other than English.
  • Washington DC was the site of the first long-range television broadcast in 1927.

Interesting Experiences

Did you know there’s a Titanic Memorial in Washington, DC? It pays tribute to the men who sacrificed their lives for women and children. Photo Credit 

  • There are about 2,000 animals from 400 different species at the National Zoo.
  • You can watch real money being printed when you check out a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
  • You can play reporter for a day or go behind the camera and see if you have what it takes to be a photographer at the NBC News Interactive Newsroom at the Newseum.
  • You can come face to face with all 44 Presidents or pose with your favorite rock star or actress at Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.
  • Take the Top Detective Challenge and solve The Case of the Missing Medallion at the Crime Museum.
  • The International Spy Museum is the only public museum in America that is all about spies. Learn first-hand how to go undercover as a super spy.
  • In DC’s Southwest waterfront, there stands a memorial to the infamous 1912 Titanic Disaster. The statue honors the men who lost their lives to saving the ship’s women and children.