Smithsonians Air & Space
Smithsonians Air & Space is one of the most popular museums in the world! Anything air or space-related is housed here, from early aircraft replicas to model rockets. Kids can also see the Apollo 11 Command Module that housed Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins during the first manned lunar landing mission! Its truly striking how small this module isand it took the astronauts more than 51 hours to reach lunar orbit.
Older kids will love the museums upgraded IMAX theater, which has a new dual 4K laser projection system with a 74-by-49-foot screen, one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic. A Beautiful Planet in 3-D IMAX is amazing, filmed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station! The most breathtaking part was seeing the cities of South Korea aglow at nightand then seeing its neighbor North Korea, which was shrouded in darkness.
Younger kids can attend the museums planetarium for a daily free show at 10:30 am starring Elmo and Big Bird! And theres storytime most Thursdays and Fridays at 11 am, and Saturdays at 11 am and 1:30 pm.
- Photo Courtesy: Nicole Ross Peirce
National Museum Of History
Washington D.C. is known for its rich history, and along with history comes museums. In all shapes and sizes.
Let the world as they know it, unfold before their little eyes as they gaze in wonderment at what the world really had and has to offer.
The museum recently integrated a new interactive learning experience for tweens and teens.
This interactive space allows them to engage in real-time science experiments. Kids can watch daily tarantula feedings, and walk through the hoards of butterflies in the Butterfly Pavilion. There is also a fossil basecamp, which engages kids on topics such as fossil dating, and fossilization.
This is top on the list of things for kids to do in Washington D.C.
Smithsonian American Indian Museum
Smithsonians American Indian Museums mission is to advance knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures in the United Statespast and present. Its also a great place to take little ones to teach them about native peoples importance in history! Though constantly rotating, the kid-friendly exhibits here are created in partnership with Native leaders, and thus true-to-life. Kids will particularly love The American Indian Museums interactive exhibits! Be sure to visit the imagiNATIONS Activity Center, which is open every day 10 5
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National Law Enforcement Museum
The National Law Enforcement Museum in DC is devoted entirely to American law enforcement through educational installations, interactive exhibits, and profound programs. This kid friendly museum in DC boasts over 20,000 interesting and immersive artifacts that chronicle and visualize the history, the present, and future of law enforcement.
Visitorsof all ages can enjoy several workshops such as a training simulator, ScienceSaturdays, Story Time, group tours, special performances, and otherone-of a-kind activities in this state-of-the-art facility. For childrenaspiring to join law enforcement or those who simply want a police-themedbirthday party, this museum offers to host birthday parties.
Admissions:Adults: $21.95, Youth : $14.95, Children : FREEAge requirement: All agesMore information:
Pay Respects At Arlington National Cemetery
A visit to Arlington National Cemetery is at the top of many to-do lists in Washington DC and it can be respectfully done and even keep them interested with kids.
There are many ways to visit Arlington Cemetery, whether you join us on a guided tour, or take our audio tour. We also have a list of some things to keep in mind when visiting Arlington Cemetery with kids below.
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Youll See Ways In Which Spies Have Been Depicted In Popular Culture
The fourth floor features License to Thrill: Our Favorite Spies, where visitors can watch clips from famous spy films and television shows, including The Americans, Salt and the Jason Bourne series. The gallery also includes testimonials from actual spies, who reveal the realism of these films and shows and discuss which spy stories impacted their work, as well as a wide range of artifacts that touches both The Avengers and Game of Thrones.
Planning A Trip To Washington Dc Dont Forget Travel Insurance
Whether you are traveling domestically or coming from an international destination, travel insurance is a must for anyone coming to Washington, D.C. You will be exploring both inside and outdoors hiking may even happen if you get adventurous. You could find yourself on a Segway or bike tour. The city is highly populated and accidents and crime do happen. This is not to scare you, but to prepare you for what could occur when you are checking out the free museums, exploring neighborhoods, finding the best food and learning about the local street art. Should something happen, travel insurance has you covered. Check rates and availability here.
We recommend and use Allianz Travel insurance. Our family iscovered under a household plan, but their individual plans are just as robustif you are a solo traveler or a couple looking to get away. Ive been acustomer for more than five years and have always been in good hands with theAllianz team.
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Interactive Virtual Field Trips
Airbnb Experiences is now offering paid virtual field trips for kids! Check out all their interactive global adventures with kid-friendly hosts here. Check out options like a tour of a baby goat farm in New Mexico, learning about space from an astronomer in Norway, uncovering Pompeii with an archaeologist, and so many more!
Chefchaouen, Moroccos Blue City
This site is run by an artist and researcher who has been fascinated by Ancient Egypt since he was a kid. Find information on hieroglyphs, pyramids, pharaohs, mummification, games and more. Also check out the episode of Nat Geo KidsAre We There Yet: Egypt Pyramids and all of their Egypt resources.
Virtual Costa Rica
Is Costa Rica on your family travel wish list? Check out this two-part Costa Rica virtual field trip from the family blog Two Weeks in Costa Rica. It includes wildlife cameras, volcanoes, storybooks and even how to plant a pineapple! Also check out the episode Are We There Yet: Costa Rica Animal Rescue from Nat Geo Kids.
National Gallery Of Art
Head to the National Gallery of Art where there is always an amazing showcase of artists from around the world.
Online interactive apps have been created for NGA in order to keep children learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They can visit the gallery through an interactive experience and explore a variety of works from over 300 years. With eight activities to choose from, they can explore all of their artistic expressions and forms. NGA is committed to the education of children through their interactive exhibitions, and provide a wide range of artworks by a variety of artists.
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National Air And Space Museum
Airplanes and rocket shipsdo you really need to say more to get a toddler out the door?
The National Air and Space museum is actually in two separate locations. The original National Air and Space Museum is downtown, but it has a counterpart, the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is basically a big hanger out by Dulles airport that is filled with aircrafts, like the space shuttle Discovery, the Concorde Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
The downtown museum has a How Things Flyexhibit that is the best place to start with younger children. This hands-on exhibit allows kids to touch and sit in an airplane, push buttons and find out just how these massive vehicles get into the sky.
An online counterpart to this exhibit is a fun way to prep kids for a visit or continue their flying education at home.
Bringing Kids To The National Gallery Washington Dc
If your kids have seen the Night at the Museum movies and have been trying to convince you to take them to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History because they think it is probably one of the coolest places on earth, do it. Do it anyway, even if they havent seen the movie you wont regret it. Once you have finished at Natural History, you will still have so much more to see and do within a five block radius than you could ever imagine. The Smithsonian Institution comprises seventeen different museums, with nine of those museums clustered on the National Mall. The National Gallery is not part of the Smithsonian, but is situated on the Mall between Natural History and the Capitol. It is a must-see with your kids. Washington DC is my husbands hometown. We have been visiting there at least once a year for the last 27 years, 26 of which we have had kids. We have been to every Smithsonian multiple times. Our kids love going there, and because we intersperse the museums that are seemingly more appealing to children with the museums that are a little more esoteric, they love them all. The trick is to find ways of looking at art and artifacts in a way that your kids can appreciate.
Strategies for enjoying the Smithsonian
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Best Museums For Kids In Washington Dc
Categories United States
Maybe you and your family are planning an amazing getaway. Or maybe its a last-minute business trip that came up and you dont have time to find someone to look after your kids. Whatever the case may be, let this list of the best museums for kids in Washington D.C. put your mind at ease.
If you dont have time to plan an entire itinerary especially involving kid-friendly options, let this be your guide!
Find the best museums for kids in Washington D.C. But first, it is best if you create a checklist to avoid any mistake in booking a trip to Washington D.C.
There are so many options, unfortunately, I cannot list them all. But I will try my best to pack in as many as possible!
Lets head to the nations capital and dive right in!
Short on time or cash? Check here for the best Airbnb options in the D.C. area.
Washington Dc: 5 Best Museums & Attractions For Kids
Washington, D.C., is filled with attractions for kids, but it’s not surprising that munchkins can grow frustrated in museums. When big people press in front of them, derrieres may be all that’s recollected by those under 4 feet tall. Knowing this, museum curators are catering to the needs of their youngest visitors . Here are a handful of our favorite kid-friendly museums and exhibits — most of which are free.
National Building Museum Metro: Judiciary Square free museum admission $5 per person for the Lego exhibit. Open: Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. 11am-5 pm
The National Building Museum displays models of architectural marvels, such as the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa . Professional architect Adam Reed Tucker used ordinary Legos to assemble these iconic structures. At work stations next door, would-be Frank Lloyd Wrights can fashion their own Lego skyscrapers, condos, and houses — and then display them for future visitors to see. The adjacent museum shop sells Lego kits of the White House and other D.C. landmarks.
Smithsonian American Art Museum Metro: Gallery Place free admission. Open: Daily 11:30am-7pm
National Aquarium Admission: $9 for adults, $4 for kids ages 3-11. Metro: Federal Triangle. Open: Daily 9am-5pm closed major holidays.
National Museum ofNatural History Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle free admission. Open daily 10am-5:30pm closed Dec. 25.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden . Free admission. Open daily
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Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History & Culture
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is the newest addition to Smithsonians lineup. Its exhibitions tell the history of African Americans, from hardships in slavery to current culture and political issues. Its a beautifully-curated museum, and definitely worth the visit for anyone interested in whats on display. Here, families can literally walk through centuries of history, starting from the basement level up. Plan your visit beforehand to ensure a spot, though! Free, timed-entry passes are required for weekends, which are available on their website.
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is one of the best Smithsonian museums for children in D.C. This is a delight for all kids and grown-ups who love reading and knowing everything about space.
The first thing that grabs the attention entering the museum is the huge aircraft hanging from the ceiling. The hall has a big display of spaceships, jet aircraft that are significant in history.
There are many galleries in the museum with exhibits showing everything from the history of American Air transportation, the expedition to the moon, Wright Brothers gallery. The Apollo gallery has some amazing artifacts related to the missions including an astronaut suit, instruments of the astronauts, the rover that stepped on the moon and so much more to fascinate you. There is the glider and flyer on display in the Wright Brothers Gallery that they created and flew.
The museum even has some flight simulators to experience. There are IMAX theaters to watch 3D films on space and aviation history making it a great experience. There is a ticket to watch a show at the IMAX theater though. You could even take a guided tour of the Air and Space Museum to maximize the experience.
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Honor The Heroes Of America At The Memorials On The National Mall
My family has lived in the Washington DC Metro area for several years. Weve visited the monuments and memorials in Washington DC dozens of times. Ive visited them by foot in the spring, on a bike in the fall, on a warm summer evening when theyre lit up brightly with lights, and in January when theyre covered in snow. It never gets old.
The view of the Tidal Basin filled with white puffy cherry blossoms in the spring during the National Cherry Blossom Festival is probably my favorite. However, I do also enjoy listening to the Army Band playing beneath the Washington Monument at sunset in the summer.
It can take three or four hours to walk past all of the memorials and monuments, especially if you take the time to complete Junior Ranger activity sheets available at most memorials.
My favorite path through the memorials is to begin at the Jefferson Memorial and walk along the Tidal Basin through the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. A quick walk along the Tidal Basin then brings families to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
At that point, leave the Tidal Basin and walk towards the Lincoln Memorial, visiting the nearby Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the way. After climbing the steps to the Lincoln Memorial and admiring the view, walk along the reflecting pool back towards the Washington Monument and World War II Memorial.
Stroll The Us Botanic Garden
Spend another day in DC surrounded by luscious nature! The Botanic Garden is located on the southwest end of the Capitol building and its one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Parents will love the tranquil atmosphere here, and kids have plenty of space to roam curiously. The Conservatory is also a giant greenhouse with all sorts of plants in a variety of environments from jungle to desert. Around Christmas time, look out for carolers in the evening or an epic train display, which little kids love!
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Make Your Next Family Vacation A Breeze
Travel with your kids now and build amazing memories as a family! Get our book, written by parents just like you, that will guide you all the way.
Washington, D.C. museums for kids are not specifically centered around children, yet theres still an emphasis on taking an active role in learning. These museums dont have a lot of exhibits that could be seen as frightening to smaller kids, and they are well-equipped with bathrooms and places to rest and snack as well. Below, we will explore some of the best museums for kids in Washington, D.C. Also, be sure to check out our North America Travel Destinations page for more US family-friendly travel ideas!
Visit The Charters Of Freedom At The National Archives And Watch Dollars Being Printed At The Bureau Of Engraving And Printing
The National Archives should be on the top of your familys list of things to do in DC with kids. The Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution reside in the Rotunda. They can be seen up close so visitors can feel the power of their influence on the way we live today.
Documentary films rotate in the theater throughout the day, sharing the history of the Charters of Freedom.
The Public Vaults interactive exhibit is a journey through history with such treasures as George Washingtons handwritten letters, Lincolns wartime telegrams, recordings from the Oval Office, draft cards, and immigration records.
Learn about United States paper currency at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing through a film and gallery tour. Visitors walk the gallery overlooking the production floor. Below they can see millions of dollars being printed.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is conveniently located between the museums on the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. It is right next to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Both the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Holocaust Memorial Museum require free tickets during the spring and summer months. The tickets are available first come first serve in the morning at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and online for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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