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Cherry blossoms are at their peak, perhaps a (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Cherry blossoms are at their peak, perhaps a bit past due to a warm spring, but the National Cherry Blossom festival runs through April 27. (March 25, 2011)

Family trip just a short ride away: D.C.


The nation's capital is one of the best family destinations on the East Coast. Not only because of its renowned cultural institutions and historical significance, but because so much of what D.C. has to offer is free. --Cate Latting, special to Newsday

Cherry blossoms are at their peak, perhaps a
(Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Cherry blossoms are at their peak, perhaps a bit past due to a warm spring, but the National Cherry Blossom festival runs through April 27. (March 25, 2011)

It's good to be a kid in Washington
(Credit: Getty Images)

It's good to be a kid in Washington in springtime. Sage Nagle, left, 3, participates in the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., last year. About 30,000 people are expected to attend the 133-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn. (April 25, 2011)

Washington makes a great family destination because of
(Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Washington makes a great family destination because of the historic and educational treasures that happen to be free. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is one such venue. (April 7, 2011)

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The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia at the
(Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. This module carried Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and back in 1969. (July 16, 2009 )

Visit the new prehistoric exhibit
(Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Visit the new prehistoric exhibit "Titanboa: Monster Snake" while at the National Museum of Natural History. (Sept.24, 2008)

Permanent exhibits at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue
(Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Permanent exhibits at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue include "Blood and Ink: Front Pages from the Civil War," and "First Dogs: Presidential Pets in the White House," both running through 2012. (Aug. 26, 2010)

The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, known as the
(Credit: Chris Greenberg/Getty Images)

The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, pays honor to Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775. It's located near Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va. (July 1, 2006)

No matter what you say about the people
(Credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

No matter what you say about the people who work here, the U.S. Capitol does the people's business, and it is open to the public. (Aug. 2, 2010)

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Chilling. Moving. The subject of a stamp in
(Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Chilling. Moving. The subject of a stamp in its honor. The Korean War Veterans Memorial is relatively new. More than 54,000 Americans died and twice that number were wounded in the Korean War. (July 5, 2007)

Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees
(Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/ AP)

Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States in 1912 to celebrate the nations' friendship. As many more have been planted, Washington has become known for its Cherry Blossom Festival. (March 19, 2012)

Blooming cherry blossoms grace the Martin Luther King
(Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/ AP)

Blooming cherry blossoms grace the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. (March 20, 2012)

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