Located in downtown DC, National Children’s Museum is a reimagined children’s museum experience designed for the whole family! Interactive exhibits spark curiosity in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) for children under 12, while engaging programming inspires them to explore new skills and deepen new passions.
Exhibits at a Glance
Walking into the Museum, guests catch a glimpse of the Dream Machine, a photo-worthy, three-story climbing and slide structure. Visitors five and older (yes, including grown-ups!) can test their strength by climbing high into the cloud-inspired centerpiece to zip down the thrilling slide. Meanwhile, little ones enjoy their own mini cloud slide.
The Museum’s Visiting Exhibit Hall showcases some of the world’s most innovative and engaging traveling exhibits designed specifically for children. Currently, Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! is on display at the Museum through May 15, 2022. In the exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from a simple sorting and shape identification activity to more complex engineering obstacles, such as completing a train track using track pieces with different levels of elevation. Areas within the exhibit include Knapford Station, Island Exploration, Sodor Steamworks, Sodor Tot Spot, and the Engine Driver’s Common Room. As children confront new challenges and test their abilities, Thomas, Percy, Victor, and others are there to offer encouragement and remind children how “Really Useful” we all are!
Other exhibits include Data Science Alley, where data and statistics come to life with pom poms and wind-powered tubes; Engineering Games + Play, a sports-themed space that dives into material science and physics concepts; Art + Tech, three mini worlds with iconic friends and activities from Nickelodeon, including SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, and Slime; Innovation Sandbox, an immersive green-screen weather experience and climate-focused floor quiz; and the Tinkerers Studio, an innovative learning lab and classroom space for programming and field trips. There are also two toddler-specific spaces, Little Dreamers and Little Movers, that offer a safe, enclosed area for your littlest ones to explore.
The Museum currently has two recurring programs for children under 5 that take place in the Little Dreamers toddler space. Read, sing, and play along at STEAM Story Time every Thursday at 10:30 am, recommended for ages 1-4, and grab an instrument and join the band at Baby Jam every Friday at 10:30 am, recommended for ages 0-3.
On any given day, pop up programs will—true to their name—pop up throughout the Museum. Stumble upon an unexpected activity, ranging from DIY builds to science demonstrations, that will prompt further STEAM exploration.
Special programming and member events also occur throughout the year and are announced on the Museum’s website.
Good to Know
National Children’s Museum is located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20004 and is open Thursday – Sunday from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Tickets are $15.95 for adults and children 1+, and purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended as walk up tickets are limited. There is a Bluestone Lane café on-site with plenty of beverage and snack options for the family, including beer and wine for those 21+! Family memberships start at $190 for one year of free admission for two adults and all children in the household.