Washington DC museums with soft side cooler?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by jmpellet, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. jmpellet

    jmpellet DIS Veteran

    Jun 27, 2005
    Of course I don't want to have to buy drinks at the museums and would like to roll around my small soft side cooler in an umbrella stroller much like I donat Disney. Will I be allowed to bring the stroller/cooler in the museums? Thanks!
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  3. NYCDiane

    NYCDiane DIS Veteran

    May 31, 2009
    I doubt it. I know that at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC, you are allowed to bring NO drinks at all into the museum. NONE. The security guards check your bags (and purses) when you come into the museum. I'm sure they would have a collective stroke if someone walked in with a cooler! Why? Because liquids may spill or get on the art pieces and destroy them. I'm sure the DC museum has a similar rule. Why not check their site to see what's allowed and what's not allowed.

    (You can't bring food into the museum, either)
  4. ClarabelleCowFan

    ClarabelleCowFan <font color=teal>Found Someone You Have<br><font c

    Jun 23, 2005
    No - this isn't allowed or it wasn't about 18 month ago. We had to toss our drinks when we entered the Smithsonian museums and the Capitol building.
  5. miknsusn

    miknsusn Mouseketeer

    Jan 12, 2010
    We just got back from a DC vacation about 2 weeks ago. Not being able to bring food and drinks to most attractions was definitely a budget buster. At the Smithsonians we visited, no one said anything about the snacks in our backpacks. We didn't have them out of the bags at any time but I'm sure the security guards saw the food. I got the idea that the enforced rule was food/drink in peoples hands. (However, we were prepared to throw out anything that kept us from getting in.)

    Two things we did to save a little on drinks:

    1. Brought empty water bottles in our backpacks and filled them up at the outside water fountains on the Mall.

    2. On the Mall, near all the museums, are overpriced snack buildings (not the carts). They sell a souveneir cup (32 oz?) with drink that can be refilled for $2. The original price might have been $5-6. We carried that cup around a lot of days.

    The food trucks parked all along the streets have bottled sodas and water for $2-3 and the cheapest food if you don't want to walk very far.

    MSSANDRA DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 2006
    We spent a TON on drinks when we went to DC during the summer a few years ago. We were stopped at the first building with our water bottles in hand and had to toss them. Thing is however.... almost everything we did was super cheap or free so that sota balanced things out. Food is crazy expensive. We stayed outside of the city where there was few choices for family resturants. We did pizza delivery like 2-3 times that week....oh we do like DC and are planning to go back....just nice to know what you are dealing with. We will stay in the city next trip.
  7. jmpellet

    jmpellet DIS Veteran

    Jun 27, 2005
    Thank you all for the valuable advice! Maybe I will get some crystal light packets since my youngest dd despises water.
  8. GatorMama

    GatorMama DIS Veteran

    Feb 27, 2011
    The only thing I remember (from my spring 2008 trip) is being stopped at the Holocaust Museum with a bottle of water. They made me open it and take a sip before they'd let me carry it in. Fine with me. I also remember that halfway through our day in there (it was a long one, I think I read almost every word in there!), my aunt and I went into the bathroom and chowed down on a couple of granola bars so that we could enjoy the rest of the museum without our stomachs growling.
  9. Poohforyou

    Poohforyou DIS Veteran

    Mar 16, 2011
    They won't let you bring in a cooler. However, I carry a large tote whenever we're sightseeing and just put a few small bottles of water in the bottom with our umbrellas on top. At bag check they don't dig around all that much and have never said anything.
  10. soccerchick

    soccerchick Dis Veteran<br><font color=red>My husband has rice

    Jan 17, 2002
    Where did you stay? I find the opposite to be true. Tons of food options in Arlington and further out.

    The Smithsonians do not have an entrance fee. We get spoiled here and when we travel, I have to remember to budget for museum fees.

    If folks are planning to travel to DC, I highly suggest signing up for DC/ MD/Northern VA Groupon and LivingSocial. I've seen several tours "for sale" there recently. Mount Vernon might still be active.
  11. kaywoody

    kaywoody I wish we were on our way again!

    Oct 5, 2009
    We went on the Capitol tour and you couldn't have a water bottle, even empty! I had brought my favorite nalgene reusable water bottle in my bag and they took it away from me and threw it in the trash. I had to depend on regular bottled water for the rest of my trip. I'm still sad thinking about that... :-(
  12. seven dwarfs

    seven dwarfs DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2006
    The only place we have ever had an issues is the Capital. At the capital you can not bring anything inside with you. To be honest, I was not impressed with the new tour and wished we had skipped it and kept our food/water.

    You can bring in food/drinks in a cooler type bag. We had ours on the stoller and never had any issues. They do not allow you to walk around with an open container.
  13. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was

    Jun 22, 2001
    No food and beverages may be opened or consumed inside the Smithsonian museums. Some may allow bottled water. As for bringing it in with you, I don't know. I'm pretty sure they don't allow coolers but a soft-sided one may be OK. The Capitol is the strictest, not even water bottles can be brought in. The National Zoo allows coolers. At the American Art Museum you can bring food and drink into the courtyard, but not into the galleries.

    The American History Museum says
  14. DawnM

    DawnM Dawn

    Oct 4, 2005
    We only had snacks but we had to toss them all at the Capitol building. We had forgotten they were even in the bag, but they made us toss them if we wanted to go in.

  15. Gigi22

    Gigi22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    On the more mundane side--another reason museums don't want people bringing in food or drinks is that even small amounts of leftover food and drinks attract all sorts of pests. They have to keep food and beverages in controlled areas. Years ago we saw a huge rat climbing outside one of the buildings near the Library of Congress.
  16. delmar411

    delmar411 DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2007
    just last week we brought unopened bottles of water and snacks in a backpack into the Natural History museum. The guard didn't even look twice at them.
  17. Mrs.Malone

    Mrs.Malone DIS Veteran

    Jan 5, 2011
    I've never had trouble bringing closed water bottles and sealed snacks into the Smithsonian museums inside a backpack. Security definitely sees them in there but has never said anything.
    One time at Natural History I saw a family trying to come in with a big bag of Five Guys food and they were told they couldn't bring it in. Also once I saw a person being told they couldn't bring in their Starbucks type coffee cup.

    I don't think I would risk trying to bring a cooler in unless it doesn't contain any ice, and everything inside is sealed.

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