If your local park is feeling a little played out these days, it may be time to visit a new (old) kind of park—a cemetery. Washington, D.C. is home to several famous cemeteries (think: Arlington National), but the 35 acre Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill just might be the most kid-friendly of them all. Why would you want to take your kids to walk among the dead? Read on to find out.

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It’s educational.
More than 55,000 people are buried in Congressional Cemetery, including some major figures in our nation’s history. Take a stroll and introduce your kids to the likes of FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover, Stars and Stripes composer John Philip Sousa, and the first woman to run for President, Belva Lockwood. Learn even more about the cemetery and its interesting interments by joining a free fam-friendly Saturday tour, April through November at 11:00 am.

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It’s pet friendly.
Families aren’t the only ones roaming the grounds of the cemetery. It’s also a dog park! Members pay an annual fee to let their dogs run around leash-free. The pups bring the landscape to life (ha) as they jet through the gravestones chasing squirrels, and your little ones will surely be happy to join them.

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It has personality.
Whether it’s an angel holding a butterfly, a sleeping lamb, or a regular obelisk (they look like the Washington Monument), the differences between each tombstone is what makes this graveyard unique and beautiful (and not a snooze fest for kiddos). Explore each of these different designs, stroll through the September 11th Memorial Grove, and don’t miss the Lummi Nation totem poles at the end of the grove—a gift of healing and freedom from all Native American tribes.

Insider tip: There’s free two-hour street parking near the gated entrance of the cemetery, or you can take Metro’s Blue/Orange line to Potomac Ave, which is a five minute walk from the gate.

1801 E St., SE
202-543-0539
Open daily from dusk to dawn
Online: congressionalcemetery.org

Have you ever hung out in Congressional Cemetery with your kids? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below?

—Besa Pinchotti

Photos courtesy of Besa Pinchotti and jsmjr via Flickr