12 Fun Activities With Kids In The Capitol

things to do with kids in capitol

Washington D.C., known as the nation's capital, offers a wealth of historic and educational opportunities. However, if you're traveling with kids, you may be looking for activities that are both entertaining and enriching. Fear not - the city has plenty to offer, from hands-on exhibits to outdoor adventures. Here are 12 fun activities to enjoy with kids in the Capitol, guaranteed to make your visit unforgettable.

Activity Description
National Mall A large park located in the heart of the city with numerous monuments, Smithsonian museums, and gardens to explore
Smithsonian Zoological Park A 163-acre zoo with more than 1,800 animals from 300 different species
National Air and Space Museum One of the most popular museums, featuring exhibits on aviation and space exploration, including the Wright Brothers' plane and Apollo 11 command module
National Museum of Natural History A museum with interactive exhibits and a butterfly pavilion, displaying objects related to natural history such as fossils and natural landscapes
National Museum of American History A museum showcasing the objects related to American history, including the Star-Spangled Banner and the First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns
Newseum Interactive museum exploring the role of media in society, with exhibits such as a 4-D experience and the Berlin Wall gallery
U.S. Capitol Visitors can take guided tours of the Capitol building and observe the Senate and House of Representatives in session
National Archives Museum Home to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, and other valuable documents related to American History
National Building Museum Exhibitions and interactive experiences showcasing the history and future of architecture and design
National Portrait Gallery A museum showcasing prominent American figures in painting, sculpture, and photography


Visit the National Mall (location)

Source: Washington DC

If you're planning a trip to Washington D.C with kids, then visiting the National Mall should definitely be on your to-do list. The National Mall is located in the heart of the city, and it's one of the most iconic and popular attractions in the United States. Here are some of the things you can do with your kids in the National Mall:

Visit the Smithsonian Museums:

The National Mall is home to many of the Smithsonian museums, all of which are free and open to the public. These museums include the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and more. Each museum has hands-on exhibits and interactive displays that are perfect for kids.

Take a walk around the Tidal Basin:

The Tidal Basin is a picturesque body of water that's surrounded by cherry blossom trees. In the spring, the trees bloom and create a stunning pink canopy. You can take a walk around the Tidal Basin with your kids and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Visit the Lincoln Memorial:

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most iconic landmarks in Washington D.C, and it's located on the National Mall. The monument honors the 16th President of the United States and features a 19-foot statue of him. You can climb the steps of the monument and enjoy sweeping views of the National Mall and the surrounding areas.

Explore the National Zoo:

The National Zoo is located just a few miles from the National Mall, and it's a great place to take your kids for a fun and educational day out. The zoo is home to over 2,700 animals, including giant pandas, elephants, gorillas, and more. Your kids will love seeing all of the exotic animals up close and learning about their habitats and behavior.

In conclusion, there's no shortage of things to do with kids in the National Mall. From exploring the museums to walking around the Tidal Basin and visiting the Lincoln Memorial, there's something for everyone in this iconic Washington D.C destination.


Explore the Smithsonian Museums (various locations)

Source: Smithsonian Institution

Washington D.C. is a fantastic destination for families, with plenty of activities to keep both kids and adults entertained. One of the best things to do with kids in the Capitol is to explore the Smithsonian museums, which offer a wide range of exhibits and experiences for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the top Smithsonian museums to check out:

  • National Air and Space Museum: This museum is a must-visit for any kid who dreams of being an astronaut or pilot. It has an extensive collection of aircraft and spacecraft, including the original Wright brothers' flyer and the Apollo 11 command module. There are also interactive exhibits and simulators where kids can learn about the science of flight.
  • National Museum of Natural History: This museum is home to the famous Hope Diamond, as well as exhibits on dinosaurs, mammals, and ocean life. Kids will love the Butterfly Pavilion, where they can observe live butterflies and moths up close.
  • National Museum of American History: This museum showcases the history and culture of the United States, with exhibits on everything from the Civil War to pop culture. Highlights include the First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns exhibit and the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit, which tells the story of the flag that inspired the national anthem.
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture: This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of African Americans, with exhibits on slavery, civil rights, and black music and art. It's a powerful and educational experience for kids and adults alike.
  • Smithsonian National Zoo: While not technically a museum, the zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is home to a wide variety of animals, including giant pandas, elephants, and lions. Kids will love the petting zoo and the playgrounds, as well as the opportunity to see so many different animals up close.

Visiting the Smithsonian museums is a great way to spend a day or two with kids in the Capitol. With so many fantastic exhibits and experiences to explore, it's likely that you'll need to come back again to see everything! Plus, admission to all Smithsonian museums is free, which makes it an affordable option for families on a budget.


Stroll through the U.S. Botanic Garden (location)

Source: United States Botanic Garden

If you're looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids in the capitol, look no further than the U.S. Botanic Garden. Located on the National Mall, this stunning institution is the perfect place to explore nature and learn about plant life with your children.

One of the best things to do at the U.S. Botanic Garden is simply take a stroll through the various gardens and exhibits. You can start with the National Garden, which features a variety of different habitats and plant collections, including the Rose Garden, the Butterfly Garden, and the First Ladies Water Garden. This is a great way to introduce your children to different types of plants and ecosystems, and to help them learn about the importance of conservation.

Next, you might want to head to the Conservatory, which is home to a stunning indoor garden with over 4,000 different plant species. This area is designed to mimic different types of environments, including the desert, the tropical rainforest, and the Mediterranean region. Your children will love exploring the pathways and discovering new plants they've never seen before.

Another must-see at the U.S. Botanic Garden is the Bartholdi Park, which is located just outside the Conservatory. This beautifully landscaped area features a fountain, a reflecting pool, and a variety of sculptural elements, making it a great place to relax and take a break from all the walking. Your kids will love playing in the water and running around the park.

Finally, be sure to check out the programs and events offered by the U.S. Botanic Garden throughout the year. They have a range of family-friendly events, including workshops, tours, and seasonal programs, all designed to help your children learn more about plants and nature. These are often interactive and hands-on, so your kids will get a chance to do some planting or learn about plant science in a fun and engaging way.

In conclusion, the U.S. Botanic Garden is a fantastic destination for families in the capitol. With its beautiful gardens, stunning indoor Conservatory, and educational programming, it provides a unique opportunity for children to learn about and appreciate the wonder of nature. So lace up your walking shoes and get ready for a fun-filled day with your kids at the U.S. Botanic Garden!


Take a boat ride along the Potomac River (location)

Source: KidFriendly DC

Washington D.C. is a wonderful city to take your kids for a vacation. It has many attractions that can keep the little ones entertained for hours, and a boat tour along the Potomac River is one of them. This is a fantastic way to see the city from a different perspective and experience some outdoor fun.

Boat tours run all year round, even during the winter months, so you can explore the bright lights of Washington D.C. all day long. The river is dotted with iconic landmarks like the National Harbor, Jefferson Memorial, and Georgetown.

There are different types of boat tours available, and some are geared specifically for children and families. One of the top vendors, the Potomac Riverboat Company, offers a variety of tours and cruises with packages suitable for families with children. Their options range from one-hour sightseeing tours to dinner cruises and water taxis.

For young kids, taking a Pirate Cruise is a fantastic choice. This cruise is offered by the Potomac Riverboat Company and has interactive entertainment featuring a pirate theme. The cruise has face painting, storytelling, and other activities keeping your kids entertained while you and your family can enjoy the scenic river views.

Another great option for families with a mix of ages is the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Monuments Cruise. This one-hour ride takes you by some of Washington’s signature sights, including the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the Kennedy Center. The cruise also includes narration from the captain about the city's fascinating history and information on each of the landmarks you pass by.

The Cherry Blossom season (March to April) is one of the most delightful times to get on a boat ride, and there are special tours dedicated to show you the stunning pink trees along the shore. Some cruises even offer cherry blossom-themed foods, drinks, and souvenir gifts for your children.

Washington D.C. is well known for its family-friendly culture, and a boat tour on the Potomac River is an excellent way to experience that. A ride along the Potomac allows you and your kids to see the city from another viewpoint, learn about its history, and create everlasting memories. From sightseeing cruises to pirate adventures, there are options to cater to your family's needs and interest to enjoy a fun-filled day together.


Enjoy a picnic in Rock Creek Park (location)

Source: National Park Service

Are you looking for a family-friendly activity to do with your kids in the nation's capital? Look no further than Rock Creek Park, a national park located in the heart of Washington D.C. With its lush greenery and scenic landscapes, Rock Creek Park is the perfect spot for a picnic with the whole family.

First, start by packing a basket filled with goodies like sandwiches, fruit, and snacks. Don't forget to bring a blanket to sit on and sunscreen for a sunny day! Once you arrive at Rock Creek Park, find a spot to spread out your blanket and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

While you enjoy your picnic, take in the sights and sounds of the park. Listen to the babbling creek and the birds chirping in the trees. Look out for the park's resident wildlife, like deer and rabbits, which can often be spotted grazing among the trees.

After your picnic, explore the park's many trails and paths. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the road that winds through the park. Visit the Nature Center, where kids can learn about the park's flora and fauna through interactive exhibits and activities.

For a more adventurous experience, try hiking to the park's famous boulder fields or climbing the park's towering trees. Kids will love exploring the many different habitats within the park, from wetlands to woodlands.

No matter what your family enjoys, Rock Creek Park is sure to provide a memorable day of fun and exploration. So pack your picnic basket, grab your blanket, and head to this Washington D.C. destination for a day of outdoor adventure.


Source: National Gallery of Art
Characteristic Description
NameNational Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
TypeIce skating rink in Washington, D.C.
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count3.7 / 19
AddressConstitution Ave NW &, 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20408
Phone(202) 216-9397
HoursMonday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM
Tuesday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM
Wednesday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM
Thursday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM
Friday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 11 PM
Saturday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 11 PM
Sunday - opens at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM

If you're looking for a fun activity to do with your kids in the nation's capital, why not consider going ice skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden?

Located on the National Mall, this outdoor skating rink is open from November through mid-March, offering a unique and picturesque setting for a day of family fun. With views of the iconic Capitol building and the surrounding architecture, it's truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

Renting ice skates and admission to the rink is affordable; young children can rent double-bladed skates for added stability. If you're new to ice skating, instructors are available every weekend to offer tips and lessons.

But what if your family is not a fan of skating? Not to worry; there's plenty to enjoy in the surrounding area. Take in the stunning sculptures in the garden, including works by renowned artists such as Alexander Calder and Joan Miró. And be sure to grab a hot drink and a treat at the Pavilion Café, which offers a selection of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks.

If you need a break from the cold, the indoor galleries of the National Gallery of Art provide an escape and are free and open to the public. They feature a wide range of art from a variety of periods and cultures, making for an educational and enriching experience for both children and adults.

In conclusion, the ice skating rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden provides an exciting and fun activity for families with children of all ages. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful outdoor space. So grab your scarf, gloves, and your family and head on over to the National Mall for a day full of winter wonderland fun!

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Attend a story time at a local library (various locations)

Source: Lansing City Pulse

If you're looking for a free and educational activity to do with your children in the capital, attending a story time at one of the local libraries is a great option. With various locations to choose from, it's easy to find one that fits your schedule and interests.

Most libraries offer story times for different age groups, including infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. These sessions typically involve a librarian reading books and engaging the children in songs, games, and other activities that relate to the stories. They last about 30 minutes to an hour and are a fun way for children to learn new words, practice listening and comprehension skills, and interact with other kids.

In addition to being fun and educational, story times can also help foster a love of reading in children. By exposing them to a variety of books and authors, kids can develop a broader appreciation for literature and the world around them. Plus, many libraries have reading incentive programs or allow children to check out books after the story time, giving them a chance to practice reading at home.

Some popular libraries in the capital that offer story times include the DC Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of American History Library. Many of these libraries also offer other children's activities, including arts and crafts, science experiments, and book clubs, so be sure to check their websites for a complete list of options.

Overall, attending a story time at a local library is a great way to spend time with your children and encourage their love of learning and reading. With so many options to choose from, there's sure to be a story time that fits your needs and interests.


Visit the National Zoo (location)

Source: Washington Plaza Hotel

Washington D.C. isn't just the political center of the country, it's also a great destination to explore with kids. There are countless activities and attractions in the city that will engage and entertain your little ones. And at the top of that list is the National Zoo!

The National Zoo is located in the heart of Washington D.C., in the Woodley Park neighborhood. It offers visitors a chance to see a wide range of animals from all over the world, including giant pandas, lions, tigers, bears, and even giant anteaters. You'll also find a range of interactive exhibits that let kids get up close and personal with the animals.

One of the biggest draws of the National Zoo is its giant pandas. These fascinating creatures are beloved around the world, and the National Zoo is home to a few of them. Kids will love watching the pandas chow down on bamboo shoots or playing around in their enclosures.

In addition to the pandas, there are plenty of other animals to see at the zoo. The Asia Trail is home to some incredible creatures, including fishing cats, sloth bears, and red pandas. Meanwhile, the American Trail features animals native to North America like sea lions, bald eagles, and beavers.

Throughout the zoo, you'll find plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and fun. The Kids' Farm is a great spot for young children to learn about farm animals like cows, chickens, and sheep. Your kids can even pet and feed some of the animals!

Other highlights of the National Zoo include the Elephant Trails exhibit, which lets visitors observe these massive creatures in their natural environments, as well as various events and demonstrations throughout the day. Check the schedule when you arrive to see if you can catch a sea lion training session, bird demonstration, or even a keeper talk.

Don't forget to bring your walking shoes and sunscreen, as the zoo is spread out over 163 acres with several hills. But there are also plenty of benches along the way to rest and enjoy the scenery.

Visiting the National Zoo is a must-do activity on your trip to Washington D.C. It's fun for both kids and adults, and there's always something new to discover. Just be sure to plan for plenty of time and bring your camera – you're going to want to capture all the amazing animals you see!


Take a tour of the U.S. Capitol (location)

Source: YouTube

As the center of the American democracy, the U.S. Capitol is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States. This historical building is not only a home to the Congress, but it is also a fascinating place to visit with your children. If you are planning a trip to Washington D.C., taking a tour of the U.S Capitol should be on your list of things to do with kids in the Capitol.

The U.S Capitol Tours are FREE, and they offer a chance to learn about the history and architecture of this spectacular building. The Capitol Visitors Center conducts guided tours through the Capitol Building, which last approximately one hour. The tours are led by knowledgeable docents who provide fascinating information on the historical significance of the Capitol. The tours are available for visitors of all ages, and it is even possible to request a tour tailored to children's specific interests.

The tour begins with a short informational video that introduces visitors to the history of the Capitol. Afterward, the docent will guide you through the Capitol rotunda, where you will see paintings and frescoes that depict significant events in American history. You will also explore the Old Senate Chamber and the National Statuary Hall, where statues of prominent figures from each state are on display.

Children particularly enjoy the Crypt, located beneath the Rotunda. It is where the original foundation is visible, and a few artifacts from George Washington's life are on display. Visitors can also view the Hall of Columns, which features 28 sandstone columns that are 36 feet in height.

During the tour, you will visit the Senate and House of Representatives galleries. You can sit in the actual seats used by Senators and Representatives during the sessions and learn about the legislative process that occurs inside the Capitol building. The highlight of the tour is a visit to the Capitol's famous dome where visitors can partake in breathtaking views of Washington D.C.

The Capitol tour is an excellent educational opportunity for both children and adults, and it is fascinating to learn more about the history and significance of the Capitol. If you plan to bring children on the tour, it is advisable to book tickets well in advance because demand is high, especially during the peak tourist season.

In conclusion, taking a tour of the U.S Capitol Building is an experience your children will not forget and should be on your to-do list when visiting Washington D.C. A visit to the Capitol is an opportunity to learn about the United States' political history, and the building itself is a striking symbol of American democracy. So, go ahead and plan a visit with your children; it is a fascinating and educational experience that your family will cherish forever.

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Play at a local playground (various locations)

Source: Twitter

If you're looking for things to do with kids in Capitol, one fun option is to take them to a local playground. Fortunately, there are several great options in the area, each of which offers unique play structures and features that kids are sure to enjoy.

One popular playground in Capitol is located at the Capitol Hill Playfield. This playground offers several large play structures, including climbing walls, slides, and swings. Additionally, there is plenty of open space for kids to run around and play games, as well as nice picnic areas and restrooms for families to use.

Another great option is the Volunteer Park Playground, which features several smaller play structures designed specifically for younger children. This playground is surrounded by beautiful gardens and walking paths, making it a serene and peaceful spot for families to spend the afternoon.

If you're looking for a playground with a bit more of a theme, check out the Playground at Magnuson Park. This playground is designed to look like a ship and is surrounded by a water play area, sandboxes, and other fun features that will keep kids entertained for hours.

For families looking for a playground that also provides opportunities for education, the Montlake Playfield is a great choice. This playground is located near the University of Washington and features several interactive play structures that teach kids about science and nature.

No matter which playground you choose, spending the afternoon playing with your kids is a great way to bond and have fun together. With such a variety of playgrounds to choose from in Capitol, you're sure to find one that your family will love!

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Watch a movie at a local theater (various locations)

Source: Money

If you're looking for a fun family activity in the Capitol area, why not take the kids to see a movie at one of the local theaters?

There are several excellent theaters located throughout the Capitol area, each offering a range of movies to suit all ages and tastes. From the latest blockbuster releases to indie flicks and classic films, there's sure to be something to appeal to everyone in your family.

Some of the most popular theaters in the area include the Regal UA Snowden Square, AMC Columbia 14, and Annapolis Harbour 9 movie theaters. Each of these locations offers state-of-the-art screens, comfortable seating, and great snack options to keep the whole family fed and happy during the movie.

One great thing about catching a movie in the Capitol area is that there are often special events and promotions going on. For instance, many theaters offer discounted prices on certain days of the week or for certain types of movies. You may also be able to catch a special screening of a classic film or attend a fun family-themed event put on by the theater.

Of course, before heading to the theater with your family, it's important to consider a few things. First, make sure to check the movie's rating and make sure it's appropriate for your children. Additionally, be sure to arrive early so you can find a good seat and grab any snacks or drinks you may want before the movie starts.

Finally, remember that going to the movies can be a great bonding experience and a fun way to spend time with your kids. So why not make a day of it and plan to grab lunch or dinner together before or after the movie?

Overall, catching a movie together as a family is a great option for any day or time of year in the Capitol area. With so many great theaters to choose from and plenty of fun events to enjoy, it's no wonder that going to the movies continues to be a popular family activity for families in this region.


Explore the International Spy Museum (location)

Source: International Spy Museum

Are you looking for an exciting and educational activity to do with your kids in the Capitol area? Look no further than the International Spy Museum! Located in the heart of D.C., this museum is the perfect destination for families who want to explore the world of espionage.

The International Spy Museum is a unique attraction that offers a hands-on experience for visitors of all ages. The museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of espionage and undercover work around the world. From the CIA and KGB to James Bond and real-life spies, the museum covers a wide range of topics and exhibits that will fascinate both children and adults alike.

One of the museum's most popular exhibits is the "Spy School" interactive experience. Here, visitors can learn how to use spy gadgets, hone their spy skills, and even try to crack a safe like a real spy. Kids will love trying on disguises and using high-tech gadgets like hidden cameras and listening devices.

Another highlight of the museum is the extensive collection of spy artifacts and memorabilia. Visitors can see real-life spy equipment and tools, such as code-making and code-breaking machines, and can even see the lipstick pistol used by KGB spy, Margo Lane. The museum also has a collection of spy cars and other vehicles used by agents in their missions.

The International Spy Museum also features special temporary exhibits that change periodically. Recent special exhibits have included "Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains" and "Spies and Scholars in Mystic: The Secret History of Yale's "The Ivy League" School."

In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers a range of educational programs and events for children, including spy-themed birthday parties and summer camps.

Overall, the International Spy Museum is an excellent destination for families in the Capitol area. It combines education, history, and fun into one thrilling experience that kids will love. Be sure to add it to your list of must-see attractions next time you're in the area!

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Frequently asked questions

- A visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

- A tour of the US Capitol Building

- A stroll through the National Mall to see the monuments and memorials

- Visiting the National Zoo to see animals from around the world

- Taking a boat ride on the Potomac River to see the sights from the water

Yes, young children can visit the National Children's Museum, explore the Dupont Circle Fountain, enjoy the playgrounds in the Rock Creek Park, and take a ride on the carousel at the National Mall.

There are many interactive venues in Capitol that kids can enjoy, including the International Spy Museum, the National Museum of American History, the Newseum, the National Museum of the US Navy, and the KidZone at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Yes, Capitol is host to a number of family-friendly events throughout the year, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Book Festival, Smithsonian Food History Weekend, and various concerts and performances at the Kennedy Center.

One of the best ways to see and explore Capitol with kids is to take a guided tour. Several tour companies offer family-friendly tours that are specially tailored to children, including the DC by Foot tour, the National Mall Scavenger Hunt, Segway tours, and biking tours.

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Eshal Wagner

As a parent myself, I absolutely love exploring all the amazing things to do with my kids in the capitol! One of our favorite activities is visiting the National Zoo. It's a free attraction and there's so much to see and learn about the animals. Another fun spot is the National Mall, where you can take your kids to see all the iconic monuments and enjoy a picnic. Lastly, the National Air and Space Museum is a must-visit. It's not only educational, but also super interactive and engaging for kids of all ages. Capitol is definitely a great place for family adventures!

Sylvie Watts

Having lived in the capitol for several years now, I can say that there are countless fun things to do with kids here! One of my family's absolute favorite activities is going on a boat tour along the Potomac River. The views are breathtaking and the kids always have a blast. Another great option is visiting the International Spy Museum, where they get to play spy games and learn about spy history. And of course, the capitol wouldn't be complete without a visit to the iconic Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. It's like stepping into a whole new world of dinosaurs and fascinating exhibits. There's never a dull moment when exploring the capitol with kids!

Ridwan Parsons

I recently took my kids on a trip to the capitol and we had the best time exploring all the family-friendly attractions! One highlight was visiting the National Building Museum. They have an amazing play area called The Building Zone where kids can unleash their creativity and build their own structures. Another memorable experience was visiting the United States Botanic Garden. We enjoyed walking through different gardens and learning about various plant species. Lastly, I highly recommend taking your kids to the National Museum of American History. It's filled with interesting exhibits and interactive displays that will keep your little ones entertained for hours. The capitol is truly a treasure trove of fun activities for families!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I'm thrilled to hear that you and your kids had such a great time exploring the capitol. The National Building Museum sounds like a fantastic place for kids to let their imaginations run wild, and The Building Zone play area sounds like a must-visit. The United States Botanic Garden also sounds like a peaceful and educational experience, with all the different gardens and plant species to learn about. And of course, the National Museum of American History is always a hit with its interactive displays and fascinating exhibits. It sounds like you made some wonderful memories with your family. Thanks for the recommendations!

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