As a DC metro area resident, it’s very often that I “play tourist.” Visiting all the sights and museums is on my list, but I never seem to find the time. After living here for nine years, I’ve visited only a handful of museums.

This past weekend, our family played tourist, just for a day.  Thanks to the folks at the Washington Court Hotel, we had a mini-staycation right in the middle of Washington, D.C.


We got up bright and early (just like tourists) and headed to the National Zoo. The zoo has the cutest cheetah cubs, and they’re only out twice a day: from 10am-11am and 1pm-2pm. There was a short line when we arrived, but it was worth the wait. I caught a few good photos of the cheetah cubs on my digital camera, but watch out for the folks with the ginormous cameras and their tripods. We spent the rest of the  morning visiting the animals we somehow missed the last time.


The kids were exhausted by early afternoon, so we headed to the hotel. We arrived earlier than we originally planned, but the front desk staff and manager Kurtis didn’t bat an eye. They checked us in early, even though they didn’t have to. The staff at the Washington Court Hotel were friendly and attentive. Jaxson passed out on the drive from the zoo, but he woke up when a surprise tray filled with cookies, fruit, chocolates, milk and sparkling water was sent to our room. The suite was spacious with lots of windows and a great view of the Capital building. I took that photo from our room. I have skills right? Nah, just a decent point and shoot camera.


Our stay at the Washington Court Hotel included the ZOOperior Fun Package, inspired by the cheetah cubs. Upon check-in, the kids each received a welcome package. They completely ignored the iced cookies and water bottle and went straight for the cheetah plush. Both Sophia and Jaxson did not let their cheetah plush out of their sight. Jaxson took his cheetah out to dinner at Union Station.

Also, the kids enjoyed having their own big beds and their own tv to watch cartoons. I even let them eat in bed. They were in kid heaven.


Once the kids were finally asleep in their own beds, hubby and I called for our safari inspired cocktail, also part of the ZOOperior package. Voila, the Red Panda and the Funky Monkey. Both were delicious and the perfect way to unwind. Hubby and I laid in our big bed and watched Storage Wars. Not very romantic but very relaxing. We were in grown-up heaven.

The muted tones throughout our rooms suggest that the hotel caters mostly to business travelers. Still the rooms were spacious and the shower had really great water pressure. My kids acted like kids (talking loud, jumping up and down, etc) throughout the hotel, and I never noticed a staff member grimacing or giving them “the eye.” Everyone we encountered was sweet to the kids. I always appreciate that because Jaxson kept racing around the lobby yelling, “I win!” Cute, but not after the gazillionth time.

Though the hotel was a 15 minute drive from the National Zoo, it’s only a couple of blocks away from Union Station, which had plenty of shopping and restaurants. Union Station is on Metro’s Red Line so you can hit all the main DC sites.

I was sad to check out of the hotel the next day and return our apartment, where various toy foods and Lego pieces strewn all over the living room. If only we could have played tourist the entire weekend so I didn’t have to worry about the dirty dishes in my sink.

Looking for a mini-staycation or visiting DC? Washington Court Hotelis close to the Metro and offers a great view of the Capital. For an additional $25, you can add the ZOOperior Fun Package to your stay. The package includes:

  • Two all day metro passes – a $28 value!
  • A comfortable room with a view of the US Capitol
  • Two safari inspired cocktails for the adults at Federal City Bar (located in lobby)
  • Stuffed plush Cheetah for the kids
  • Goodie Bag of iced animal cookies
  • Two Washington Court Hotel water bottles
  • Top Ten list of our favorite FREE things to do in DC

For more info or to book your room, visit the Washington Court Hotel website or call (202) 628.2100 or (800) 321.3010.

Thien-Kim chronicles her love-hate relationship with squash on My Cup of Creativi-Tea, wishing she got paid to nanny her own children at I’m Not the Nanny and sneaking time to read books at From Left to Write.

Disclosure: Washington Court Hotel provided our family with one night’s stay and the ZOOperior package. All opinions are my own.