One of our very favorite places to play and explore in DC is the Botanic Gardens.
In case you aren't familiar, it's a stroller unfriendly labyrinth of footpaths and bridges leading through cacti, palm trees, venus fly traps, and bamboo.
On weekends, holidays, and tourist season we avoid this place like the plague.
If you have never suffered from claustrophobia before, you will experience your first full blown attack by attempting a visit here on any Christmas break day in December.
But on random weekday mornings while schools are in session, we have full reign of the gardens.
For a brief few hours the bamboo hide and seek games, the watering cans, and the log bridge in the middle of the rain forest keep these little guys engrossed in all things horticulture.
Of course the draw of water and dirt have a lot to do with the appeal of the place.
And venus flytraps and cacti bigger than any of the boys factor in there too.
But I'm good with knowing they're going to get soaked and dirty while we hide out in our own secret gardens.
You'd never know the Capitol is steps out the door. You'd never know how fast a polo shirt could get drenched. You'd never know barricaded pomegranate and orange trees entice little guys towards creative ways to jump said barriers.
No one said these gardens were peaceful, but not many buildings we visit in the city allow one to dump watering cans over heads or play tag throughout bamboo, so it suits us just fine.
We can knock out some school, take in some sights, burn off some energy, and as with every DC visit, meet every police man stationed around the Hill, on our trips to the not so secret gardens.
It's just a matter of time before this littler lady is joining in the garden antics. But at the moment she's content to watch and I'm ok with not having four soaking wet kids walking back through the city...for now ;)