Visiting Arlington Nationwide Cemetery with Youngsters: What You Have to Know Earlier than You Go | Mama Poppins

Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is among the oldest and most well-known cemeteries within the US. Based in 1864, this sacred floor serves as the ultimate resting place of greater than 400,000 veterans and their spouses and youngsters. Troopers from each main American struggle are buried there, as are many well-known Individuals, together with Presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft, Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and astronaut John Glenn.

With its rows and rows of completely aligned, equivalent white headstones, Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is a really breathtaking sight. However whereas it’s certainly a solemn place, additionally it is an awesome place to go to with kids and educate them about American historical past. The wonder and historic significance of Arlington Nationwide Cemetery has made it on our record of 100 issues to do in DC with children earlier than they develop up and high DC vacationer points of interest.

Here is every thing that you must find out about visiting Arlington Nationwide Cemetery with children.

Issues to Do at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery with Youngsters


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24/7. Picture by Kyler Becker (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington Nationwide Cemetery’s most iconic landmark, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is a white marble sarcophagus perched on a hill overlooking DC. Since 1921, it has served as the ultimate resting place of one in all America’s unidentified World Conflict I servicemen. Different unidentified troopers from later wars had been added in 1958 and 1984. The location symbolizes the service and sacrifice of all unidentified servicemen who died in fight.

2. Altering of the Guard

Each day of the 12 months, 24 hours a day, in all climate circumstances, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded by a extremely skilled soldier. The guard on responsibility marches 21 steps on a black mat behind the grave, turns and faces east for 21 seconds, turns again and faces north for 21 seconds, takes 21 steps over the mat within the different course and repeats course of over and over.

Guests are welcome to return and watch the guard on responsibility at any time, however the true deal with happens each half-hour on the hour and half with the Altering of the Guard. That is when a brand new guard replaces the guard on responsibility in an elaborate ceremony that features gun salutes, a white-gloved weapons inspection, and extra. It is a completely hair-raising expertise that by no means will get outdated for my household. We have been going to the Altering of the Guard since our children had been toddlers, and there is one thing concerning the solemnity of the occasion that has at all times stored them quiet, well-behaved, and entranced. No go to to Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is full with out witnessing the Altering of the Guard.

Associated: High Vacationer Points of interest in DC: Finest Issues to See and Do with Youngsters


Uncover the graves of many well-known folks. Picture courtesy of the writer

3. Exceptional Graves

At over 600 acres, Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is big, and most of the notable graves are very scattered. So map out upfront which graves you wish to go to. A superb wager is to obtain the ANC Explorer app, which is able to enable you to discover graves and different factors of curiosity. You can too obtain the cemetery map.

The most well-liked grave within the cemetery is the John F. Kennedy grave, the place an everlasting flame burns from the middle of a spherical granite stone. Subsequent to him is President Kennedy’s spouse, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, buried together with two of their kids who died as infants. Another notable graves to go to with kids are as follows:

  • President William Howard Taft
  • Senators Edward and Robert Kennedy
  • Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Thurgood Marshall, the primary African-American Supreme Court docket justice
  • Astronauts John Glenn and Gus Grissom
  • Normal Colin Powell
  • Robert Todd Lincoln, first son of President Abraham Lincoln

4. Welcome Middle

The Arlington Nationwide Cemetery Welcome Middle, situated by the principle entrance, presents displays concerning the cemetery, maps and brochures, and a bookstore. Right here you too can purchase tickets for an interpretive tour bus that stops at a number of notable places within the cemetery.

Associated: Free Museums in DC to Go to with Youngsters


The Army Ladies’s Memorial pays tribute to the American servicemen. Picture by Patrick Jones (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

5. Army Ladies’s Monument

This distinctive tribute to American maids consists of an schooling heart, interactive displays, a world-class assortment of ladies’s tales, and a present store. It is an awesome little museum to discover with children and the proper place to take an air conditioned break from the warmth.

6. Wreaths Throughout America

Each December on Nationwide Wreaths Throughout America Day, the general public is invited to put wreaths on the graves of fallen servicemen and their households at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery and greater than 2,500 different websites. This 12 months’s occasion will happen on December 17, 2022, and I extremely suggest bringing the youngsters if you happen to can. My household did it in 2021 when our twin boys had been 10 and our daughter 7, and it was such a transferring and memorable expertise for all of us. The proud appears to be like on the youngsters’s faces as they fastidiously positioned the wreaths in opposition to every gravestone had been priceless. Even if you cannot make it to the occasion, attempt visiting the cemetery through the vacation season to see the great thing about the inexperienced wreaths that line virtually each white gravestone.

Know earlier than you go

Arlington Nationwide Cemetery Hours and Admission

Arlington Nationwide Cemetery is open each day from 8 a.m. to five p.m. All guests aged 16 and over should current a sound photograph ID and move a safety test to enter. Wait instances for safety screenings may be as much as 20 minutes on busier days, so deliver as little or no baggage as attainable to hurry up the method.

Pedestrians can enter the cemetery by one in all 4 entry factors: the principle entrance at Memorial Avenue, Ord-Weitzel Gate, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Corridor Previous Submit Chapel Gate, and the Service Complicated Gate at Columbia Pike.

Parking at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery

The cemetery parking zone is situated on the principal entrance on Memorial Avenue, subsequent to the Welcome Middle. On the time of going to press, parking is $3 per hour, as much as a most of $12 per day. The storage closes promptly at 6 p.m., one hour after the cemetery closes.

Associated: 100 Issues To Do In DC With Youngsters Earlier than They Develop Up


The cemetery is understood for its sea of ​​white headstones. Picture Courtesy of Arlington Nationwide Cemetery Excursions

Extra Ideas for Visiting Arlington Nationwide Cemetery with Youngsters

Put on the proper footwear.

you are going to do it rather a lot of strolling in Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, so be sure that everybody in your loved ones wears snug footwear. Most trails are paved and stroller pleasant.

Know the place the bogs are.

Restrooms are situated within the Welcome Middle, Memorial Amphitheater and Columbarium solely. All Welcome Middle bogs have commodes.

Put together for warmth.

There may be restricted shade, so put on sunscreen and hats on scorching days and produce refillable water bottles. Water fountains are situated within the Welcome Middle, Memorial Amphitheater, and different places within the cemetery. Bottled water can be accessible for buy on the Welcome Middle.

Eat earlier than you go.

No meals is allowed at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, so be sure that everybody eats earlier than you permit, and depart snacks within the automotive to eat as soon as you permit.

Train kids right cemetery habits.

Remind kids {that a} cemetery is a spot of respect. They need to use their interior voice, stroll as an alternative of run, and keep away from climbing on tombstones and monuments. They need to additionally not take away something that relations have positioned close to tombstones, resembling flowers, toys, or flags. When a funeral procession passes by, kids ought to get out of the way in which and stay nonetheless and quiet till it’s over.

To make your go to to Arlington Nationwide Cemetery with children much more enjoyable, obtain the Youngsters Exercise Pack and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Exercise Pack.


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