By Donna Rayburn
Like many families, my family is looking forward to summer vacation. When we thought about past vacations and our family favorite so far is Washington D.C. Traveling to learn about the roots of our country is well worth the effort. Did you know that you can visit almost every museum or federal building free of charge?
Washington D.C. is the most cost effective and most educational family destination that my family has visited. It’s a 14-hour drive from Brandon, but car games such as the buzz game,  top 20 favorite things game, books and DVDs can make car time fun.
Although reservations are not needed for most of the destinations, it helps if you don’t want to wait in line to visit your destination of the day.
The city is very busy, but clean and easy to navigate. My family chose to do a lot of walking but the metro system also makes destinations more accessible.
The White House, Capitol Building, Supreme Court and Library of Congress were among our favorite sites. The House of Representatives and Senate were in session during our visit so we were able to watch proceedings while we were there.
The Supreme Court was delivering decisions from their session and were given copies of the decisions while we were there. God is the forefront of our nation’s founding, which is evident as we explored documents in the Library of Congress.
The memorials are among the best our country has to offer. They offer an emotional journey through time. From the Apotheosis of Washington painting on the ceiling of the Capitol building to the 555 ft. Washington monument to the priceless documents in our National Archives that heralded a society founded on Judeo-Christian principles of self-reliance and servitude to an Almighty Being.
The city is an inspiration to patriots and Christians all over the world. History became real in our eyes through the pictures and stories about the trials of our country.
My children were of various ages from 6 -14 years old, so each of them retained something different from the experience. The one lesson I hope they learned from this trip is that they experienced the essence of what makes America great – Our faith that God can do anything. I hope that you’ll consider Washington D.C. for your family vacation.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.