Best Museums for Kids in DC

March 9, 2023 | Inside Washington {Metro} | By: The Goodhart Group

Looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids? We are lucky to live so close to all the history and culture of our nation’s capital, so here’s how to take advantage of that for you and your kids! Read on to find out our favorite kid-friendly museums in DC. 


National Children’s Museum

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Cost: $15.95 for adults and children over 1 

The ​​National Children’s Museum combines learning elements with children’s museum experiences. Through playful science, technology, engineering, arts, and math focused exhibits the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for all learners. Kids can have fun in the Dream Machine a three-story climber slide, or toddlers and infants can enjoy the Little Dreamers flight-themed area. Everyone will enjoy the Innovation Sandbox where you can make it rain, and create clouds and lightning in an immersive digital experience. There are tons of interactive and educational exhibits here and everyone in the family will enjoy the unique experience. 


National Museum of Natural History

10th St & Constitution Ave, NW 

Hours: Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm 

Cost: FREE 

The National Museum of Natural History promotes understanding of the natural world and tells the history of our interactions with the planet. This museum possesses 147 million specimens and artifacts. Your kids will love seeing the huge African Bush Elephant in person and you’ll all learn about the ecology of African elephants, their place in geologic time, and their connects to humans. On the second floor you can visit Bone Hall and compare and contrast the skeletons of sea turtles, giraffes, snakes, and monkeys. You can also stop by the Butterfly Pavillion filled with live plants and butterflies (only free on Tuesdays, $7 for kids and $8 for adults other days). Learn about Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt or the Mega-toothed Shark. There is an exhibit everyone in the family will enjoy here! 


National Air and Space Museum (DC) 

600 Independence Avenue, SW

Hours: Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm

Cost: FREE, reserve time-entry passes here

At the National Air and Space Museum your kids can explore the world’s premier collection of air and space artifacts, stories, and expertise. You’ll find a new theme every month, and you can also find a featured exhibit about Women in Aviation and Space. Of course you’ll find exhibits on the Wright Brothers and America’s Trip to the Moon. Story time for tots is held every weekday and you can also attend a solar observation session across the street at the Eisenhower Memorial on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 – 3pm. From lectures to hands-on family days and more, your family will have a blast at this museum. 


International Spy Museum

700 L’Enfant Plaza, SW

Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm

Cost: Ticket prices vary on the time of week but are always FREE for children under 6 

Ever wonder what it feels like to be a spy? You and your older kids will love the International Spy Museum where you can learn all about the history, craft, and contemporary role of espionage. The Museum lifts the veil of secrecy on the hidden world of intelligence, and explores its successes, failures, challenges, and controversies. View the Espionage Artifacts collections which holds hundreds of tools of the spy trade including Trotsky’s ice axe and James Bond’s Aston Martin. The “Covert Action” section of the museum is the best bet for letting your kids expend some energy as it involves physical activities such as a “hang time” challenge to see how long they can hold onto an overhead bar. This exhibit also has a spying activity that allows kids to climb around in an air duct while parents or friends on the ground enter a secret code to try to see them. 


National Museum of American History

1300 Constitution Ave, NW

Hours: Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm

Cost: FREE

The National Museum of American History offers exhibitions on a range of topics from American history with artifacts of all kinds ranging from gowns to locomotives. Kids from 6 – 12 years old will especially enjoy the Spark!Lab where they can create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent with activities that incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math with art, museum, and creativity. For younger children ages 0 – 6, Wegmans Wonderplace incorporates blocks, animals, sounds, and branches to encourage children to use their imaginations, wiggle their bodies, and explore with their hands.


National Building Museum

401 F Street, NW
Hours: Thursday – Monday 10 am – 4 pm

Cost: Adult $10, Youth (3-17), Senior (60+), Student with ID $7, Children under 3 FREE 

The National Building Museum educates, entertains, and engages people about the built environment. It also houses the Play Work Build exhibit, designed specifically for budding designers and engineers! Kids can view the museum’s architectural toy collection (such as Lincoln Logs) for inspiration and then build and knock down their own buildings with both virtual and real-life blocks. There are eight exhibits in total throughout the museum. Kids may also enjoy the Animals exhibit which features a ton of real and fantasy animal objects. 


National Postal Museum

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Hours: Friday – Tuesday 10 am – 5:30 pm

Cost: FREE

The National Postal Museum is a great interactive museum for children. From vintage planes, to mail trucks, and mailboxes, your little ones can learn all about how the U.S. Postal Service came to be and serves us now. This is the perfect museum for kids as most of the exhibits have an interactive element to keep your little ones entertained. Explore the Pony Express, sort different packages, create postcards, or design your own stamp. You’ll find a ton to do at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum; that’s why it’s one of the best Washington DC museums for kids of all ages! 


National Gallery of Art 

East Building (Contemporary Art) – 4th St and Constitution Ave

West Building (11th – 19th C Art) – 6th St and Constitution Ave

Sculpture Garden – 7th St and Constitution Ave

Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm

Cost: FREE 

The National Gallery of Art is one of the nation’s largest art galleries. Don’t miss the Multiverse Light Sculpture tunnel on the lower level of the East Building where you can hop on an escalator and view the stars above. A bonus is they have great audio guides for kids that you can use on your own phone! These guides include voices and fun stories that bring the art alive for you and your children. Kids will also enjoy the giant blue rooster on the balcony of the East Building. And outside is the sculpture garden where kids can run free and have a hands-on experience with the art.