Four Maryland/D.C. museums to while away a winter’s day

American Indian MuseumBy Betsy Stein

Looking for something indoors and fun to keep the kids occupied this winter? Here are four museums that are guaranteed to keep them busy for hours.

National Museum of the American Indian
Weave a giant basket, explore different modes of transportation—like snowshoes and skateboards -- sit inside a tipi and stamp your imagiNATIONS passport with a real tribal seal as you explore the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. The museum also houses one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of its kind and gives visitors the sense and spirit of Native America. Admission is free. Located on the National Mall between the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol Building. 4th St. & Independence Ave. SW, Washington D.C.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
A companion facility to the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located near Dulles Airport and provides enough space to display thousands of aviation and space artifacts that do not fit on the Mall. Included in the collection are the space shuttle Discovery, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world. There is also an observation tower for plane watching, flight simulators, an IMAX Theater and more. Admission is free but IMAX movie prices vary. Parking is $15 before 4 p.m., free after 4 p.m. 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, Va.

Maryland Science Center
Meet a T. rex face to face in the Dinosaur Mysteries exhibit. Check out real time global seismic activity in TerraLink. Take a walk in a beating heart chamber in Your Body: The Inside Story and much more. There is also a kids' room for those 8 and younger with hands-on learning through water play, pneumatic messaging and more. If there's still time, catch an IMAX movie, not included with admission. Museum admission $24.95–$28.95 for adults and $18.95–$22.95 for kids, senior prices range from $23.95- $27.95. 601 Light St., Baltimore.

Calvert Marine Museum
Explore marine life from the comfort of the indoors at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons where kids can touch terrapins, sea stars, prickly sea urchins and horseshoe crabs in a touch tank and search for and identify real fossils in the Discovery Room. Check out the octopus and explore the River to Bay exhibit.

Kids can also pretend to sail a skiff in the museum boat shop and man a model Cove Point Lighthouse. Build a toy boat the fourth Saturday each month and watch the feeding of skates, rays and otters during regular family programs. (Check the museum calendar for family and youth programs days/times.) The Calvert Marine Museum is on State Route 2 in Solomons, Md.

Information updated January 2018

Also check out the following articles for museums to explore to explore with kids:

5 Totally Cool and Unusual Maryland Museums

New African American History Museum in DC

Art Museum Programs that Draw Kids In