Children tend to be naturally curious, so what better place to bring them than a city brimming with museums to explore? It seems like every part of the Smithsonian Institute has special ‘hands-on’ areas to encourage the little ones to get interactive. But that’s not all. We’ve picked out some of the other things to do in Washington DC with kids.
1) National Postal Museum
This museum is all about interaction. Kids can design their very own stamp, then see it made, ride in a postal truck or a stagecoach and sort through packages in a delivery room. It’s very close to Union Station on Capitol Hill – with a vast atrium that’s worth a visit in itself.
2) National Air and Space Museum
All kids (and adults too, for that matter) dream of visiting the moon and exploring space. So bring the family along to the National Mall and the National Air and Space Museum. They’ll be able to get up close to some famous airplanes and spaceships, look through a real telescope and gaze at the stars in the planetarium.
3) The Newseum
This one’s probably for the teens rather than the tots. The Newseum lets them try their hand at being a television reporter and explains the five freedoms of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. There are seven levels to explore, along with a large store and plenty of dining options.
4) International Spy Museum
This museum is bound to bring out the inner child in everyone. Guests young and old get the chance to adopt an alias, then try and break codes as they wander through the museum. But watch out, because nothing is as it seems – and you might find yourself being spied on! There’s even a special exhibit dedicated to a certain British spook - #007 himself. The museum is at 800 F Street NW.
5) The National Museum of Natural History
From dinosaurs to elephants, birds to creepy crawlies, there are lots of natural wonders that will fascinate and inspire the kids here on Constitution Avenue. Be sure to take them to the Q?rius part of the museum. In this interactive learning space they can roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to some scientific experiments.
6) Madame Tussauds
It has to be on the list doesn’t it? There are some huge A-listers here to have a selfie with. From silver screen legends to red carpet favorites, the kids will be captivated by the famous faces as they walk around. Madame Tussauds is at the corner of 10th and F St. NW.
7) The National Museum of American History
Showcasing national treasures, from the star-spangled banner to Dorothy's ruby slippers, the National Museum of American History also offers a number of unique and unusual exhibits designed to capture the attention and engagement of kids. Make sure they visit interactive experience in the Wegman's Wonderplace exhibit, including a kid-sized replica of Julia Child's kitchen, a captainable small-sized tugboat, or a 23-room dollhouse from the 1800s.
8) Take a walking tour
If you’d like the family to get some fresh air and exercise, head out on one of the many DC By Foot routes. The guides give kid-friendly tours with lots of games and jokes to keep the little ones amused. Although they’re free, most people give a gratuity once they’re done.
9) The National Building Museum
At first glance this doesn’t seem the most child-friendly museum – the imposing Renaissance façade, the vast atrium, the focus on urban design. But bypass all the architecture and go straight to the Building Zone, where kids can become budding builders, stacking towers and driving toy bulldozers. You’ll find the museum at 401 F St NW.