Field Trip Provides Inn Families a Chance to Explore DC

Walk around the National Mall any day and you will see tourists converging on Washington, D.C. from all over the world. Earlier this summer, that included families from The Children’s Inn at NIH, many of whom were getting their first looks at the well-known monuments and landmarks of the District after months staying just outside the city at The Inn.

Inn Families and Program Leaders Gather for a Photo In Front of The White House

Led by Emily Johnson, Gal Daskal, and Matthew McCormack of the Family Programming team, a small group of families took the bus from the NIH campus to the National Mall, disembarking at the Washington Monument on a hot summer day.

“So many of our families have never had the chance to see Washington beyond the views from the airport,” said Johnson, the Family Programs Operations Manager at The Inn. “Off-campus trips are always requested by our families, so we try to make them fun and different while keeping everyone as safe as possible. Our current COVID protocols require us to keep our trips outdoors or completely private.”

The group began the morning at the Washington Monument, briefly pausing in the shade of the 500-foot tall obelisk to orient themselves and take in the panoramic views of the monuments and historic sites dotting the landscape. They crossed Constitution Avenue and circled around the Ellipse to see the White House. Luciano, a six-year old from Peru, was particularly excited to see “la Casa Blanca,” home of the President of the United States.

Luciano In Front of The George Washington Monument

Crossing back over to the south side of Constitution Avenue, the group made its way through the Constitution Gardens, enjoying the shade and quiet in the out-of-the-way space before heading to the World War II Memorial.

Throughout the field trip, Daskal engaged the Inn families in conversation using their native languages, speaking Spanish to Luciano and Micael, a 16-year old from Bolivia. The field trip gave the families a chance to bond with her and other Inn staff members away from their everyday setting, learning about each other’s backgrounds while exploring the nation’s capital.

It was lunchtime when the group finished at the World War II Memorial, so the Inn families viewed the Lincoln Memorial from afar before turning back towards the Washington Monument to find a shady spot to enjoy a picnic lunch from one of the many food trucks parked around the Mall. The variety of trucks provided options for everyone, paid for by The Inn’s programming budget.

The Inn DC Tour Group In Front of The World War II Memorial

The field trip concluded with a walk towards the Capitol building, the dome of which made the perfect backdrop for some family photos. But the heat of the day cut the walk a bit short before reaching the Capitol, and the group reboarded the bus to head back to The Inn.

Despite the heat, it proved to be a memorable first visit into Washington for the Inn families, and one that Johnson hopes they can follow up on in the future. “We are hoping that COVID-19 continues to ease,” she acknowledged, “and we will be able to share more of the city and its indoor museums and landmarks with our families in the future.”

To support The Inn and help make programs such as this tour of Washington, D.C. possible, click here.