Our first stop on our 2nd full day in DC was to Ford’s Theater. We did the first tour of the day. You can get your tickets on a first come, first served basis at the theater for free, or pay a small fee to book the tour time online.
When doing a tour of Ford’s Theater, know that it is going to take much longer than you anticipate! When it’s your tour time, you HAVE to visit the museum in the basement, while you wait for the tour of the theater. Ok, at least there were some interesting items to check out – including the gun that Booth used to shoot Lincoln.
Then you can enter the theater, and you have to wait for a ranger to come and do a talk. The talk is about 20ish minutes, but at least the ranger we had was not very nice. Our toddler started walking around (quietly in the side aisle, AWAY from everyone), and she said we could leave. She did this with SEVERAL different people with small children. She kept stopping her talk to tell people they could leave – which was more of a disruption than the kids playing QUIETLY. I left with the toddler, while the rest of the group listened to the talk, which was interesting and informative.
Then you cross the street to the Petersen House – the house where Lincoln died. For some reason, they limit the number of people in there and it takes FOREVER to get in there. Once your talk in the theater is over, book it across the street to be one of the first in line. You then take an elevator up and there is a 4 story museum you can tour. Now it would have been interesting to tour if you still have the patience at this point. My toddler didn’t. Frankly, even the adults in my family were done. You, of course, exit through a gift shop. The tall tower of books up the stairwell is pretty cool though.
Now that I’ve gone, not sure I have a need to go again. It was great to visit once, but not sure I really need to go back multiple times. We’ll probably go back when our little ones are older, but that’ll be a few years. So yes, visit once, then you can probably skip on future trips.
Kids can also earn both a junior ranger badge and patch – my kids earned both. We actually did it beforehand and mailed it in, which worked really well for us. You could also fill them out with all the waiting around you have to do just to get into the dang theater & house….