There is still a lot to see and do in Washington, D.C., despite the partial government shutdown that has closed top federally-funded attractions. Who needs the Smithsonian museums and National Zoo, when you can hit the Crime Museum or be inspired by the great artists at the Corcoran Gallery of Art? You may have to pay an entrance fee for some, but here are some top places that are worth the trip and money:
1. The Newseum
Learn about the process of news gathering at The Newseum, where each of the museum’s seven levels is packed with interactive exhibits that explore how news is covered and impacts us.
Admission: $21.95 for adults
2. The Crime Museum
Be a crime solver at The Crime Museum that includes a crime lab, filming studios for “America's Most Wanted”, a simulated shooting range, high-speed police-chase, and hundreds of interactives and artifacts pertaining to America’s most famous criminals.
Admission: $18 for adults
3. The International Spy Museum
See if you have what it takes to be a spy at The International Spy Museum, where you adopt a cover identity, can see an exhibit on James Bond villains, or step into a fictional country on a top-secret mission.
Admission: $20.95 for adults
4. Mount Vernon
Time travel back to George Washington’s time at his Mount Vernon home. This presidential home —unlike many others -- is privately funded. The Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association pays the bills, so the doors are open, including access to the farm compete with animals and gardens.
Admission: $17 for adults
5. WalkingTown DC
Take a free tour with WalkingTown DC of a District of Columbia neighborhood under the auspices of Cultural Tourism DC. Check out historic markers, diverse architecture and multiple ethnic groups in the city’s varied neighborhoods.
6. National Geographic Museum
Explore the World at the National Geographic Museum with interactive experiences and photography exhibitions featuring the work of National Geographic explorers, photographers, and scientists.
Admission: $11 for adults
7. Corcoran Gallery of Art
Be inspired at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which is chock-a-block with work by 19th and 20th century American and European artists. You can also see contemporary art, along with photography, and decorative art. Use the family guide when visiting with younger kids.
8. The National Building Museum
Check out the Family Tool Kit at The National Building Museum and discover what makes a house a home. Learn about creating architectural design or practice with construction tools.
9. The Kennedy Center
Take in a performance at The Kennedy Center. While the government pays for the building’s upkeep, private donations pay for performances. So shows will continue.
10. Ford’s Theatre
While performances have been suspended, the walking tour, Investigation: Detective McDevitt, will continue. This walking tour of downtown D.C. is led by an actor portraying Detective James McDevitt, who was on duty the night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the conspiracies around his death.
Eileen Ogintz is a nationally syndicated columnist and creator of TakingtheKids.com. Her new Kids Guide to Boston is available online and from major booksellers, along with the Kids Guides to NYC, Washington, DC, Orlando, LA and Chicago. Coming later this year: San Diego, San Francisco and Denver.