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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

1. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

See the most popular monuments of the U. S. capital illuminated at night on a guided trolley tour. The route follows streets that have been traveled by presidents and makes three stops for you to get off the trolley and explore the memorials on your own and take photos. Enjoy entertaining commentary from a professional tour guide who will entertain you with stories about the Capitol’s colorful past. The three stops on the tour are: 1. The Martin Luther King Memorial & the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial 2. The Iwo Jima Memorial (aka US Marine Corps War Memorial) 3. The Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Besides stops at the major memorials, you will also get spectacular views of the Washington Memorial the White House, the National Mall, the Capitol Buildings, the Jefferson Memorial, the Smithsonian Museums and Castle, the FBI & Dept of Justice Buildings, and the World War II Memorial.

New York City: Full-Day Washington DC City Highlights Tour

2. New York City: Full-Day Washington DC City Highlights Tour

Discover the political center of the world on a full-day trip to the Capital City of Washington DC. See the iconic buildings of Capitol Hill and visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Depart from central New York and head south to Washington in comfortable air-conditioned buses or minivans. Pass through New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland before arriving in the nation's capital. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery and stand at the Kennedy family gravesite. Continue to Capitol Hill, and see the Capitol, Senate, and White House. Learn about the buildings and their functions in the US government. Arrive at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, before visiting the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. In the late afternoon, embark on a panoramic city tour before your departure back to New York.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

3. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

Let your guide help you navigate through the over 145 million specimens at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on this tour. Discover an extensive collection of human artifacts, dinosaur bones, preserved plants, and animals. Meet your tour guide outside of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and begin your tour. Go directly to the collection highlights without getting lost. Save time and energy by visiting with a guide that knows the museum well. Listen to additional commentary on exhibits from your guide. See the world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. View dinosaur remains and tools used by early humans. Admire unusual gemstones and ancient mummies.

Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

4. Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

Glide around the streets of Washington DC on a guided tour by a battery-operated electric cart. See all the major monuments of the United States capital, like Capitol Hill, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial with an onboard guide. After getting comfortable onboard, head first towards the Smithsonian complex. Admire the size of the largest museum and research complex in the world.  Next, discover three of the most well-known monuments in Washington DC. Admire the monuments to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, arguably the three most beloved presidents of the U.S. From here, take a moment to pause and remember those who lost their lives in battle as you visit various war memorials. Pause at the memorials to World War I, World War II, the Korean War Veterans, and Vietnam War Veterans memorial sites.  Get your camera ready for when you pass by one of the most recognizable landmarks in the whole world, the White House, the home of the U.S President. Finally, feast your eyes on Capitol Hill, home to the United States Congress.

Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

5. Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

Admire the atmospheric landmarks of the capital from an open-top or glass-top bus as the sun sets on Washington, DC. Take a trip to the twilight zone with mesmerizing views of the city highlights at dusk. See the most famous monuments lit up, casting a glimmering glow over the city. Begin at the U.S. Navy Memorial, before heading through the half-light to capture views of the White House, the Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Each monument features special illuminations at night, with regular opportunities to hop off and see the spectacular sculpture work up close, along with countless photo opportunities. Marvel at the full shimmering skyline at the start and endpoint of your tour, which also includes views of the twinkling Tidal Basin and Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Night tours don’t get much more magical than this, and pair perfectly with a day tour the following day.

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

6. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

Test your night photography skills and see some jaw-dropping views while learning the history of the United States on this monuments tour at night. Hop into the electric-powered vehicle and learn about the monuments illuminated at night with your guide. Start at National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, before heading towards the Smithsonian complex. Your guide will regale you with the story behind the amazing museums at the largest museum complex in the world. Drive past two of the city's most famous monuments, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. Afterward, wander through the Franklin D Roosevelt and Martin Luthe King memorials and enjoy a stroll along the serene Tidal Basin at sunset.  Continue past the World War I and World War II Memorials before arriving at the Lincoln Memorial. Here, be amazed by the views of the Potomac River and the National Mall sparkling in the dark.  Be entertained by stories of the city’s history, statues, and famous buildings on your way to the White House. Take a monument here to capture what is possibly the most iconic American landmark, known worldwide.  Your tour will end by exploring Capitol Hill. Home to the world-famous dome of the United States Capitol, plus the United States Supreme Court Building and the Library of Congress. 

Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

7. Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

Hop onboard a climate-controlled bus that will take you around Washington D.C. — perfect for first-time visitors or those who want to make the most of their day. Throughout the tour, your guide will enlighten you about what life in D.C. is like now and in its exciting historic past. Enjoy photo stops at the U.S. Capitol and White House. Explore the World War II Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and more. From the bus or boat, see the National Archives, the National Mall, numerous Smithsonian Museums, the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, the Kennedy Center and so much more.  Break up your day with a lunch stop at the DC Wharf or Georgetown in the colder months, or the Potomac River Cruise in the warmer months.

From NYC: Philadelphia and Washington DC 2-Day Tour

8. From NYC: Philadelphia and Washington DC 2-Day Tour

Day 1: NEW YORK – PHILADELPHIA – WASHINGTON DC Depart New York through New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia. Arriving in the historic area of Philadelphia, visit the famous Liberty Bell, one of the symbols of freedom in America, Constitution square, and Congress Hall. Stroll Elfreth’s alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. Continue on a panoramic tour of Philadelphia that includes the financial district, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Historic Philadelphia, and more. Depart Philadelphia and see the famous “Rocky Steps” and then continue east to Lancaster county home of the Amish people. Enjoy an authentic Amish Buggy ride through the Amish farm country. Learn how Amish culture survived centuries without the benefits of technology, to this day their towns survive without the central power and sewage systems, that modern civilization take for granted. Learn how the Amish adapted, incorporating technology to create farms that are self-sufficient and make use of renewable sources of energy. After the ride, visit the marketplace where you can shop for handmade arts crafts and products. In the late afternoon, depart east for an evening arrival in Washington DC. Day 2: WASHINGTON DC – NEW YORK Start the day with a visit of Thomas Jefferson Memorial, by the Tidal Basin, surrounded by famous Japanese cherry blossom trees. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard, and the Kennedy family gravesite. The next stop is Capitol Hill. See the US Capitol and the White House to understand the core of the US government. Continue to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (while Air and Space Museum is closed due to renovations) before visiting the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. In the late afternoon, depart north for an evening arrival in New York.

Washington DC: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

9. Washington DC: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

Enjoy a full day of exploring with your 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. From the open-top double decker, you’ll see amazing views of the White House, Capitol Hill, Jefferson Memorial, and more. Learn about the city’s most magnificent landmarks with expert digital commentary. Hop off at The Wharf to enjoy your roundtrip Potomac River cruise onboard the city water taxi. You can cruise along the water to see the John F. Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more before hopping back on the bus to continue your day. Your ticket gives you access to the city loop, giving you the freedom to hop off and explore at your own pace. Big Bus Washington DC is the authorized interpretive transportation services concessioner of the National Park Service and National Mall & Memorial Parks giving you the closest access to meaningful monuments and memorials. Your ticket also includes 1-hour bike rental, so you can get off the tourist trail and discover more of the city.

From New York City: 5-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & White House

10. From New York City: 5-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & White House

Embark on a 5-day trip to Niagara Falls, Toronto, the 1000 Islands, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and the Amish Country in Lancaster from New York City. Witness the magnificent Niagara Falls, visit the Arlington National Cemetery, and enjoy the convenience of included accommodation and entry tickets. Day 1: NEW YORK – FINGER LAKES – NIAGARA FALLS Depart from the Big Apple heading north where you will pass the beautiful Delaware Water Gap to Watkins Glen State Park in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Walk through Watkins Glen Canyon to visit the beautiful waterfalls and then continue to Niagara Falls passing Seneca Lake, arriving in the late afternoon. Tour the US side of Niagara including the American Falls, Goat Island, and Luna Island. Experience the power of Niagara aboard the Maid of the Mist. At night, you can appreciate the colorful lighting of the waters. Stay at the Ramada by Wyndham. Day 2: NIAGARA FALLS – TORONTO – 1000 ISLANDS Start with the magnificent Horseshoe Falls view followed by the visit to the picturesque village of Niagara on The Lake. Continue to Toronto, the financial capital of Canada. Visit the HTO Park, Brookfield Place — home of the Hockey Hall of Fame — City Hall, and The Distillery Historic District. Towards the evening, depart Toronto east along the world-famous Lake Ontario for an evening arrival to the 1000 Islands area (in April, based on weather conditions the tour may return to Niagara Falls for overnight). Stay overnight at Gananoque – Comfort Inn (April, Niagara Falls – Ramada by Wyndham). Day 3: 1000 ISLANDS – NEW YORK Start the day with a cruise through the amazing 1000 Islands along the St. Laurence River. See the houses of the rich and famous built atop private islands — such as Boldt Castle and Heart Island. Enjoy a shopping excursion at one of the large outlet malls along the way. Arrive at your hotel in New Jersey at the La Quinta Inn and Suites. Day 4: NEW JERSEY – PHILADELPHIA – WASHINGTON DC Depart from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia. Visit the famous Liberty Bell, Constitution square, and Congress Hall. Continue on a panoramic tour of Philadelphia that includes the financial district, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Historic Philadelphia, and more. See the famous “Rocky Steps” and then continue to Lancaster county home of the Amish people. Enjoy an authentic Amish Buggy ride through the Amish farm country. In the late afternoon, depart east for an evening arrival in Washington DC where you will stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Alexandria. Day 5: WASHINGTON DC – NEW YORK Start the day with a visit to Thomas Jefferson Memorial, by the Tidal Basin, surrounded by famous Japanese cherry blossom trees. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard, and the Kennedy family gravesite. The next stop is Capitol Hill. See the US Capitol and the White House to understand the core of the US government. Continue to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (while the Air and Space Museum is closed due to renovations) before visiting the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. In the late afternoon, depart for an evening arrival in New York.

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What people are saying about Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,676 reviews

The tour is worth it. 100% recommended. You can see the most important places in Washington with enough time in each one. Alberto, our guide was excellent. Super talkative, nice and knew perfectly the history of each place as well as important details. The bus is super comfortable.

I enjoyed the detailed content of the tour, plus getting to parts I had not scene . . . The Iwo Jima memorial and the MLK and Roosevelt Memorials.

Joel was a fantastic guide!! so friendly, so knowledgeable, and so pleasant, what a great tour!

Our tour guide Jewl was very informative. Great experience!

Absolutely worth it with our top tour guide Brian :D