If you are in Washington D.C. with kids, I highly recommend the National Building Museum. We went on a trip with my family and our two year olds to D.C. and the coast, which I have shared sadly little about thus far, in 2013. There were many highlights, but one of them was certainly this beautiful, interactive museum. This was my third visit to Washington D.C., but the first time I had even heard of this amazing museum just 4 blocks from the National Mall.
From the moment you step in, the architecture grabs you. Our twins were fascinated by the height of the building and by the fountain to one side. As you move around the lobby and into the different areas of the museum, the entire museum delights with thoughtful displays, interactive materials, and a range of creative building, architecture, engineering, and design themed exhibits.
As you would expect with a Building museum, there are multiple opportunities for building. The first one you will likely stumble across is the Amazing Arches area in the lobby. This is free and an ongoing activity in the lobby. I love how it goes just beyond tower building and encourages teamwork.
Check out the website for current exhibits. When we went our favorite was their ongoing PLAY. WORK. BUILD. exhibit. You can see a video of it here. We could have spent all day in this one little part. The enormous light table was all kinds of awesome. There was also a room full of construction materials. Our kids loved the giant oversized foam blocks and worked so hard at fitting them together. I would recommend starting this space, unless there is a special exhibit you are interested in seeing.
* Free access to the Great Hall, historic building tours, Museum Shop, and cafe.
* Exhibition admission: $8 for adults, $5 youth and seniors. Free for members.
* Hours can be a little difficult with naps. We visited on a Thursday from 10-12.
* Hours are Monday to Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm & Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm.
* There are Discovery Carts (free) and Tool Kits ($3 / free for members) that are available to pick up and use on a first come first serve basis. These are best for preschoolers and up.
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