June 27, 2017

Exploring with Kids: National Children’s Museum

The highly-anticipated National Children’s Museum, located just outside Washington, DC, has finally opened up on the banks of the Potomac River. The new museum seeks to “inspire children to care about and improve the world,” and I had the opportunity to bring my almost-three-year-old daughter to the preview event. We had a fantastic time, and here are five reasons why we loved this new children’s museum.

The focus on travel and world cultures will prepare your children for your next big adventure.   When you enter the museum, a large world map greets you on the floor, with state-of-the-art touchscreen travel maps and play luggage close at hand.  Prep your child for what to pack on your next trip, what to expect at the airport and build excitement for the things they will see during your next vacation!

A special three-and-under zone entertains children with some familiar faces.  Thanks to help from Sesame Workshop, there is a contained area for toddlers with climbing structures, textures to explore, building materials and, most importantly, likenesses of your favorite monsters! I know this will be a popular destination for my playgroup.

Cultural exhibits transport you to far-away destinations. A rotating exhibit called World Cultures shows children what other countries are like. My daughter loved these new, unique experiences, like climbing on a tuk-tuk from India, shopping in a Tanzanian market and trying on clothes from Japan.

Kids can learn about their community. In the Our Town area, children can dress up like firefighters and “drive” a truck, work in a shipping yard, become chefs in a pizzeria or volunteer in a campaign office (this is DC, after all!). Programming cards give conversation starters about being a good citizen and other civic-minded issues.

The location guarantees a day of fun!  Because of its location in National Harbor, you can make a day of it with great restaurants, fun shopping and even more children’s activities (Peeps & Company, anyone?).  In warmer months, I highly recommend taking the water taxi to/from Old Town Alexandria.

Admission is $10 per person, which seems a bit high in a city full of free museums, but memberships are available, and it is the only museum in the area where kids have free rein. The National Children’s Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Whether you are a local looking for an educational indoor activity or planning a trip to the Washington, D.C. area, you will definitely want to add the National Children’s Museum to your list!

Sarah Bohl is a contributing writer who is an interior designer by trade and a traveler by heart. She and her husband have been to more than 20 countries combined, and are still hitting the trail with their five and two-year-old in tow! Find Sarah on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I attended a media preview event that enabled me and my daughter to visit the National Children’s Museum at no charge.  

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