Despite having just seen a camel the night before giving camel rides at the Bull Run carnival, my clan had a major Beatles moment over the Christmastime camel at Mount Vernon. George Washington brought in a camel one year as an exotic Christmas treat for the estate, and now Mt. Vernon brings one out yearly as well.
Peppers was too afraid to approach, but he did stand up on the highest part of the stroller at a safe distance and call out, “Doggie! Doggie! Gimme five, Doggie!” with his little mittened hand outstretched.
Fluffy was enchanted and could have stood in the mud looking at him for half an hour. His name was Aladdin, (hello, Disney!) and he was six years old–just like Fluffy! Obviously, they were meant to be besties.
Salty squealed with delight, ran up to him, retreated, ran back, repeated. He kept up a flow of one-sided conversation mostly featuring iterations of “You are a camel!” and “You are a stinking boy!”
Clearly we have not been to the zoo enough because the sheep pen produced the most wild delight from the boys. Totally disproportionate reaction to the half dozen sheep that ignored us entirely as they grazed.
At the oxen, Fluffy said, “I’d like to see one of those poke the other one with his horns on the bum!” Ew. Peppers was all smiles and sing-song jibber-jabber, until one of them lowed loudly in his direction. Peppers screamed like a Banshee and threw himself into my arms. “Peppers scary-ed! He scary-ed me! I wan go home!”
Sadly, the weather was too cold for the Presidentially pardoned turkeys to be outside, so we didn’t get to see them this year.
We did have time to visit both the Museum (of artifacts) and the Education Center (tour of Washington’s life geared toward kids). The latter is full of great stuff, but the only thing the boys were interested in was a big wall map of the Revolutionary war battles which has buttons which light up 1) battles Washington fought in, 2) Brittish victories, 3) American victories, and 4) stalemates. Salty would still be there jabbing those buttons like a man possessed today if I hadn’t finally picked him up and carried him off.
On leaving the Education Center, Fluffy found a big bird’s eye map of the nation’s capitol. “That’s our city. That’s Washington, D.C.,” I told her. “That’s Watching T.V.C.,” Salty repeated. Mmm…Watching T.V….Si.
The other development from our excursion is that I called them all “Fluffies” enough to know that this is a thing now. I’ve been calling the boys individually “Fluff”‘s a little bit lately, and I guess it’s sticking. Apparently, Fluffy is more of a descriptor than a name.
And as usual, no one made it more than 15 minutes in the car afterward without zonking out.
Try this outing
Difficulty Level: Easy That is, if you don’t count pushing everyone back up the hill in the stroller. The mansion tour is the exception and can be very difficult with young kids. On the mansion tour there are no strollers, no touching, no leaning, no shouting, no kicking, and no being children.
- Weekdays aren’t crowded.
- If you go on a crowded weekend, go early and do the mansion tour first. The line there is the longest as the day gets going.
- Even if you’re on the edge of not needing a stroller anymore, bring one anyway. Off-roaders prefered for those steep gravel or wobbly cobbled paths. We were there long enough to shed layers and for the kids to get too tired to walk up the path at the end. It was nice to have a stroller as a shopping cart.
- Bring water bottles and possibly lunch if you intend to survey all the grounds. There’s quite a bit of walking. The cafeteria is fair. The sit-down restaurant is fun and atmospheric, but the food is overpriced for the quality.
- Neither I nor the kids has ever really enjoyed the harbor cruise. The best thing it has going for it is that it provides an opportunity to sit down.
- Go again. Often we spend all our strength outside or on the mansion tour and don’t have much left in the tank to devote to the awesome museums. If you think you’ll come just once more this year, it’s worth getting the annual pass so you can come back and go to the mansion tour and children’s center at your leisure.
Fluffy Fun Factor (Kindergartener Rating): Super fun! We’ve been many times now, and it still has not lost its charm.