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Washington, DC Fun Facts for Kids

MLK Memorial

Discover DC's little-known stats, funny facts and family fun experiences

Presidential Pastimes

  • George Washington never lived in DC. The White House was 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. It was also the first equestrian statue made in the U.S.

  • 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 pay your respects today when you tour his home and estate.

  • The original phone number for the White House in 1878 was simply the number 1. A phone wasn’t installed on the President’s desk in the Oval Office until 1929.

  • The only president buried in DC is Woodrow Wilson, who is entombed at the Washington National Cathedral.

  • When Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Soldiers’ Home during summers, he would often commute the four miles to and from the White House on horseback. You can learn more about his day-to-day life at President Lincoln’s Cottage.

the white house north lawn

Awesome First Animals

Cats and dogs haven’t been the only presidential pets to roam the White House grounds.

  • Theodore Roosevelt allowed his six children to bring their pets to the White House in 1901. As well as many dogs they had a small bear, a lizard, guinea pigs, a pig, a badger, a blue macaw, a garter snake, a one-legged rooster, a hyena, a barn owl, a rabbit, a pony and Baron Spreckle the hen.

  • Calvin Coolidge also brought a zoo-worthy lot of animals. Not only did he have many dog breeds including terriers, a sheepdog, collies and chows, he also had cats, racoons, a donkey, a bobcat, birds, a bear, an antelope, a wallaby, a pygmy hippo and some lion cubs.

  • Not all animals at the White House have been pets. During World War I Woodrow Wilson bought a flock of sheep to graze on the White House lawn. Not only did it save the manpower needed for mowing the lawn, they sold the wool to raise money for the Red Cross. 

Jefferson Memorial Lit Up at Night

Monuments, Memorials and Museums

  • 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 washed at work. 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 took the title in 1889.   

  • The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with more than 162 million objects in its collection. This number is constantly growing with approximately 12,000 items added to the collections daily.

  • You can look at the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights at the National Archives.

  • The Statue of Freedom is the bronze statue on the top of the U.S. Capitol dome. It looks small from afar, but it’s more than 19 feet tall and weighs nearly 15,000 pounds.

  • The National Mall is a work in progress. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is one of the newest memorials, having opened in 2011 and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was unveiled in 2014.

  • 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 if you look closely you can still see the typo.

Washington Wizards Playoff Game in the Verizon Center

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 adopted the name the Washington Nationals.

  • The seventh inning stretch was started when President William Howard Taft visited a game in Washington, DC and decided to stretch his legs in the seventh inning. Everybody assumed the president was getting up to leave so fans throughout the ballpark stood up as well out of respect, 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 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.

Facts and Figures

  • 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 Chinatown was built in 1986 to celebrate the friendship between Washington and sister city, Beijing, China.

  • 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 175 embassies and international cultural centers. Fifteen percent of DC residents speak a language other than English.

newseum

Family Fun

  • There are about 1,800 animals from 300 different species at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

  • You can watch real money being printed when you do a tour of the Bureau of Engraving & 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, DC.

  • 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.

  • You can cruise across the Potomac River and see some of DC's famous monuments and memorials at night when sailing with Entertainment Cruises.

Looking for more family fun in Washington, DC? Check out 100 Free & Almost Free Things to Do in the nation's capital!