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Washington, DC Fun Facts for Kids

Discover DC's little-known stats, funny facts and in-the-know experiences.

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Presidential Pastimes

  • George Washington never lived in DC. The White House was actually completed a year after he died and our second 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.
  • 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 DC War Memorial, which honors local residents of Washington, DC, is the only memorial 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 to work – and 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 biggest library in the United States. It has 535 miles of bookshelves.

Sports Stats

  • 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 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 Redskin to do so since running back Mike Thomas in 1975.

DC Data

  • 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 people and government of Japan 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.

Exciting Experiences

  • 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.