The National Mall badge is earned by visiting memorials on the National Mall and completing a worksheet at each.  The number of worksheets required is dependent on the age of the child and they give you a folder to keep them in as you journey.  For us we had to visit 4 memorials.  We were there in January, and thankfully it was unseasonably warm.  We spent the morning at the New African American History museum (which I will detail in another post) and it so close to the Washington Monument so we began there. One thing I really like about the mall is the openness, my toddler can just run his little heart out, which he did, shedding his jacket as he went, much to the dismay of passerby’s and my mother.  I figured he would come back for it when he got cold.

When we arrived at the monument I ran down to a small building to pick up the folders, not sure if we would have enough stamina to complete them.  I had hoped to pick up all the worksheets in a single place, but you actually get them AT EACH MONUMENT.  Or you can print them off beforehand.  While we were there the Ranger was excited and gave us the Inauguration Badge and Centennial Badge work books as well! I immediately was thrilled that we had 4 adults and 3 children, because that is a lot of Junior Rangering with a toddler in tow.

We visited the Washington monument and completed our worksheets on the wide benches at the base. None of the questions were too hard and it didn’t take long. I really enjoy the expansive view from that monument.  It evokes all those manifest destiny, as far as the eye can see kind of feelings.  Very America, and it just seems very appropriate, for better or worse.  We began our walk to the next the memorial which was the World War II memorial.  The walk was further than I thought and I started to have second thoughts as a light mist began.  The WWII worksheet was harder to get the kids to find the answers, and I felt like we were going in circles.  There is a column for each state and it was interesting to find our meaningful states. There was a lot of up and down through the monument and cuts around retracing our steps, in retrospect,  very trench like and very WWII appropriate.  While we were there it started to rain.  We googled walking directions to the nearest metro station right as a downpour began.  In case you are wondering, there are no metro stations “near”, but we began to hoof it to the nearest one.  My mother, being a New Yorker,  hailed the first cab she saw and I jumped in with my husband and the two smallest children who were soaked through and shivering.  We rendezvoused at the hotel for warm dry clothes and room service.

The following day was our last day, and we said goodbye to my parents and were going to head out of town.  But I had these Junior Ranger booklets burning a hole in my pocket.  So we decided to swing by the Washington Monument.  I stayed in the car with a sleeping baby and pulled into the tour bus drop off zone since it was pouring.  My husband took the big kids and they ran.  Unfortunately they did not have the two badges my kids had completed, so we drove back to the WW II monument to check there.  You can’t tell from the picture but it is pouring and they are huddling under the small outcropping.  The Ranger had both the Inauguration and the Centennial badge (more about those in my next post) AND took pity on them and slipped them the Mall badge, even though we only did two monuments.  We swore to complete two more worksheets and visit D.C. again to see more memorials. If you are planning a visit, do it on a dry day, start early in the day preferably in fall when weather is delightful and you should have no problems!



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