White House Easter Egg Roll
One really fun and memorable activity for families is the White House Easter Egg Roll. The 2022 White House Easter Egg Roll is always the Monday after Easter. This year, that is April 18.
To get tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll, you must literally win the lottery. Entry is free, but demand outweighs supply, so you must enter a ticket lottery at Recreation.gov . Get on the email list there so that you are aware of when the lottery is open.
You’ve seen it on TV, right? All those families enjoying an Easter celebration on the White House lawn. “That would be cool to do someday with the kids,” you think.
Why wait!? I mean, don’t wait! Because you aren’t guaranteed tickets, so it’s best to apply every year and see what happens.
Put a notification on your calendar NOW to look at the website next February. Otherwise, you may miss out.
What is the White House Easter Egg Roll?
The White House Easter Egg Roll is a decades-old tradition. The event started out just as it says–you rolled eggs, like a race. It started in the late 1800s, and over the years has been canceled here and there, including for covid.
Today’s modern Easter Egg Roll is more than the egg roll itself. There is music, games, festivities and activities to entertain your family for 1-2 hours.
The White House Easter Egg Roll
We had such an exciting day, what a great way to end our spring break! We traveled down to Washington, DC to go to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the south lawn. After evaluating hotels, boarding the dogs, travel time and other things, we opted to do this as a day trip rather than overnight.
Keep in mind that DC is only about 100 miles from our home. I thought I’d share some tips I learned along the way since some readers want to plan their own trip. Here are some of my insights and tips for traveling to Washington, DC with a disabled child. Or any kid, really.
Tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll
If you really want to impress your family and friends, get tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll. I wish that I could say I had some fabulous back story as to how I got our tickets. Not so. The truth? It’s a lottery system. So make a note on your calendar to check the White House website in February. They open up a lottery, you give your name and email and hope for the best. Not very glamorous, sorry.
However, if you do know someone–like a Secret Service agent, someone who works at the White House, or personally know your Congressman or Senator, you may be able to get tickets that way.
If you are a military family, sometimes commands have them to give away. But we were chosen in the lottery so we were on our way!
I do not know the odds for getting a ticket to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Presumably it changes based on how many families apply.
There are 4 or 5 time slots that you apply for when signing up for the lottery.
Where to Park near White House
You have a few options. My son still needs a wheelchair for endurance, and it’s a big honkin thing, so our options are limited. In other words, I didn’t want to lug this big stroller onto a Metro.
Parking farther out from the city and taking the Metro in is an option. We chose a very expensive parking garage about two blocks from the White House.
We paid for the convenience. I had been there before, it was a comfort zone for me and reduced our hassles. There is on-street parking all over the place, as well as parking garages, availability and pricing varies. With a big event (draws over 35,000 people) like this, I didn’t want to take chances.
Getting into the Easter Egg Roll
There’s lots of waiting in line. So depending on your family, and the weather, you need to be prepared. I saw kids playing with Leap Pads, iPads, phones who knows what else. It’s all on grass too. Flat grass mind you, but grass. (My son HATES touching grass!)
Our wheelchair has big bike wheels so we were able to navigate just fine. I saw some people with wheelchairs struggling a bit, but getting by.
If the ground was softer, it would have been harder I’m sure. You wait in one section, then they take your tickets. Then you go through security.
That was a pain because the wheelchair didn’t fit through the metal detector. I had to take Kevin out, fold it up, go through and so on.
Then after all that is done, you go wait in another line. Now, you’re waiting for the group ahead of you–the group that is on the South Lawn doing the Egg Roll festivities, to finish up and be herded out. When they get out, you can get in.
While we were waiting in that line, there was a giant speaker above us with “kids” music blaring. I mean BLARING. It was brutal.
I felt like I was inside the compound at Waco and they were trying to get me to surrender and come out. Brutal. If your child has APD or related issues, beware!
Next time, I am bringing his soundproofing headphones. It.was.that.bad. Had there been a way out, I might have left.
Where is the White House Easter Egg Roll?
The WH Easter Egg Roll is always held on the South Lawn of the White House. The South Lawn is actually a national park. Due to the holiday and the event itself, the park offices were closed.
I mention this only because if you have a National Parks Passport and are hoping for a stamp or a Junior Ranger badge, you cannot get either during this event.
Unfortunate, but I get it.
We were admitted on to the South Lawn about a half-hour past our scheduled time, but finally, we were in. There are lots of kids activities to do. Crafts, dancing, obstacle course, story time and more.
And of course, the egg roll itself, what everyone comes for. Everything is pretty well organized and lines move quickly once you are inside.
Wooden Eggs at White House Easter Egg Roll
So this is one thing I wish I had known. When we were leaving the Easter Egg Roll, each of my kids received one of the wooden Easter eggs that is a souvenir or commemorates the event.
However, you only get one color and you do not get to pick. I had already purchased a 5-pack of the wooden White House Easter eggs. I probably would not have purchased them had I known we were going to receive them.
Each year, a new design for the White House commemorative Easter eggs is revealed. Ours happened to memorialized Bo, the White House dog who I think was new to them at the time. And, the jump roping Easter bunny was a nod to Michelle Obama’s healthy kids initiative. She was promoting healthy eating and exercise at the time.
The activities inside the Egg Roll event and the snacks provided, the cooking class…it also embraced a “healthy” message.
Bo, the White House dog, is on the commemorative egg that is handed out at the Easter Egg Roll. The Easter Bunny is on the eggs we purchased. To my knowledge, the only way to get the “Bo” one is to attend the event. So for that reason, not annoyed that I also purchased some.
Does the President go to the White House Easter Egg Roll?
So, did you see…..him? I’ve been asked that several times, and no. Apparently, the family comes out once or twice during the day, but it wasn’t while it was our turn on the South Lawn.
I have no data to back this up. But, the rumors are that if you are the first group in the morning, or the last group in the afternoon, you have a better chance of the First Family coming out to greet you. Which makes sense–they likely are at work and school during the mid part of the day.
Overall, it was a great day though. The weather was perfect. My kids had a great time, we had a great time and I’m happy that my family did this. Taking Kevin there was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone. But as usual, I always feel great when I accomplish it.
When you apply for tickets via the lottery, you will have to rank your preferences for time slots. You may want to try the first or last time slot to increase your chances of seeing the President.
White House Easter Egg Roll with a Disabled child
If you want to plan a trip, here are a few tips for attending the White House Easter Egg Roll with your child with special needs:
- Food: During the event, food is quite limited. Just a few drink options and an apple for a snack. Pack a lunch or eat at one of the many restaurants all within walking distance. There’s everything from Cosi to 5 star dining. You are not permitted to bring food to the event. However, I was allowed our Nutri Grain bars. There are many food trucks along the streets with hot dogs and stuff too.
- Bathrooms: The Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn has lots of portable bathrooms that are a bit nicer than your standard port-o-johns. If you have kids, every time you pass one, ask them to go. Because there was a point where we were standing in line for almost an hour, and it would have been impossible to get them to a bathroom during that time.
- Disability Friendly: Several of the NPS workers saw our accessibility tag hanging on the stroller and asked if we needed assistance. I declined, but saw several families taking advantage of it. Assistance for accessibility is there if you need it. Also, at each event that I wanted Kevin to do, I just explained that I had to go through it with him and was allowed to do so. All the streets and sidewalks that we walked on in town had the ramps or cut-ins to get on/off curbs.
- Noise: Waiting in line with that music was the worst part of it. DC is a busy, noisy city. Weather permitting, you should be able to find a park bench or something like that to take 5-10 minutes to sit and chill out if you need to.
- Strollers: I would take one if you think you might need one. Once you’re on the south lawn of the White House, there is lots of walking and lots of standing. Plus I like mine to hold camera, purse and other things we pick up along the way.
- Date: It’s always the Monday after Easter, if you need to ask for time off well in advance.
White House Easter Egg Roll Pictures
Here are some of my pictures of the White House Easter Egg Roll. Use the arrow on the right and left of the image to scroll through.
Danica Patrick was the guest reader for our Story Time slot. Ina Garten was one of the entertainers as a guest chef. The musical entertainer was a group called The Wanted. Because it’s the White House, they are able to get some decent celebrities to appear.
- Tips for visiting Washington, DC with kids
- Visiting the National Archives (and sleeping right next to the Constitution!)
(This post about our trip to the White House Easter Egg Roll was originally published in 2013 but I update it annually so that you have the opportunity to sign up for the lottery.)