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Best Washington D.C. Museums for Kids (page 2)

Best Washington D.C. Museums for Kids

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Updated on Dec 13, 2012

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall

This small, high-tech museum is located on the first floor of the National Geographic Society’s headquarters. Admission is free, and the museum brings to life past and current National Geographic expeditions, adventures, and scientific research. The museum appeals to all ages and takes only an hour to visit. Visitors enjoy a wide variety of changing exhibitions, as well as permanent and interactive displays that reflect the richness and diversity of the world. National Geographic Live! includes films, concerts, and family events presented in the Grosvenor Auditorium, a 385-seat state-of-the-art theater. Events are led by explorers, scientists, photographers, and performing artists. For schedules and to purchase tickets, see www.nationalgeographic.com/nglive or call (202) 857-7700.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is part of the Smithsonian Institution and houses a national collection of more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. There are several educational facilities/exhibits available to the public. Dig It! The Secrets of Soil allows children to explore the hidden and complex environment that is home to millions of living organisms. This exhibit will open July 19, 2008. The Insect Zoo offers tarantula feedings, demonstrations, and touchable insects. Ocean Hall is a new permanent exhibition that will open in September 2008. This exhibit explores the ancient, diverse, and constantly changing nature of the ocean, the long historical connections humans have had with it, and ways in which people are impacting the ocean today. This museum is free of charge. For more information, call (202) 633-1000.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum has the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. The National Mall Building has hundreds of artifacts on display, including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module, and a lunar rock sample that children can touch. The museum has many ongoing educational programs for children, including Discovery Stations—portable interactive carts that encourage informal learning through active looking, discussion, and hands-on activities related to aviation, space exploration, astronomy, and planetary geology. Presented by volunteers or museum staff, the carts provide interactive fun for all ages. Discovery Stations are presented during regular museum hours throughout the week and on weekends. This museum is free of charge. For more information, call 202.633.1000.

FOR OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS

International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is solely dedicated to espionage, providing a global perspective on this all-but-invisible profession. It features a large collection of international spy-related artifacts, including spy gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, vehicles, and technologies. Children learn about spies through hands-on exploration, film, interactives, and state-of-the-art exhibits, all in a dynamic context that fosters an understanding of espionage and its impact on current and historic events. Microdots and invisible ink, buttonhole cameras and submarine recording systems, bugs of all sizes and kinds, and ingenious disguise techniques developed by Hollywood for the CIA are all featured in this museum. Stacy Debroff says, “It’s so tactile and interesting. You cannot go to this museum without being intrigued about history.” For more information, contact (866) 779-6873.

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