The museums and memorials on the National Mall in Washington, DC are awesome, but sometimes it’s nice to add a bit of unexpected FUN to your trip.

I’ve recently noticed people using camping hammocks to hang in Constitution Gardens on the National Mall, but with further research, learned that this isn’t allowed, BUT the National Park Service’s list of allowed activities on the National Mall includes several activities I had no idea you could do!

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Photo Credit: Alysia D.P. Malmström

5 Things You Never Knew You Needed to Pack for Your Visit to the National Mall with Kids


1. Kite
– Did you know you can fly a kite on the National Mall? There is a kite festival on the grounds of the Washington Monument every spring, but you can fly a kite anytime you’d like. Just make sure you use a quality kite, so you can get it up and flying easily and stay away from anything it could get tangled in.

2. Football, frisbee, or baseball and gloves – As long as you don’t wear cleats, the National Park Service doesn’t mind at all if you play catch or ultimate frisbee in the open grass whenever you feel like a little break from the memorials and museums.

3. Toy Boat – Believe it or not, you’re actually allowed to take a motorized toy boat and play with it in the Constitution Gardens Lake. See Section E, Number 9 of the NPS list of approved activities.

4. Fishing Pole – You can fish in the Potomac River, the Tidal Basin, and in the Constitution Gardens Lake! I never knew this until today. You will need to make sure you get your DC Fishing License first. Section E, Number 7

5. Ice Skates – I’ve skated on the ice rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (it’s a fountain from spring to fall and an ice rink in the winter), but didn’t realize that the Constitution Gardens Lake sometimes opens for ice skating. You can only go when it’s posted, and they don’t have skate rentals there (like at the Sculpture Garden), so you’ll need to take your own ice skates. Section E, Number 13a

Let me know if you do any of these activities on your next trip to the Mall, I’d love to hear how it went.