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The Smithsonian National Museum of American History

1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

Daily 10 am - 5:30 pm


museums, indoor-activities

"Oohs and aahs" await at The Museum of American History

The United States Star-Spangled Banner Flag, Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers, and the Batmobile reside in the museum collection. One of my favorite exhibits includes an impressive collection of First Ladies memorabilia. In all, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History possesses over three million historic items. 

From the original “Elmo” to Julia Child’s home kitchen, the variety is creative and unexpected. Countless cool and historical items related to transportation and war, and so much more are available for viewing. We discover something new and exciting during each and every visit. The museum consistently produces great conversations with kids of all ages, fascination shining on their little faces. 

There was a massive renovation between 2006 and 2008, and more renovations continued throughout the last decade. There are two rooms dedicated specifically for children, the Wonderplace and The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. 

Designed for kids from birth to six, Wegman's Wonderplace nurtures the historian in the littles set. It features age-appropriate activities and experiences. At age three, our son loved Wonderplace, however, our five-year-old daughter far preferred the Invention Room.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation opened in 1995 to inspire and encourage young inventors. It houses a variety of rotating exhibits and a Spark!Lab for STEM-themed hands-on activities and experimentation. The Inventor's space is suggested for kids six to twelve, and like the Wonderplace, it is open every day except Tuesday. The kid-focused centers close early than the rest of the building, at 4 pm.

There are interactive carts located throughout the museum containing a variety of hands-on historical activities to keep children engaged. Also, self-guided tour options are available at the information desk guiding you to various museum highlights, and some are designed with kids in mind. One great example is a self-guided tour of America On The Move, which features games and activities to keep younger people entertained.

Choose between two dining spots, Eat at America’s Table Cafe and The Jazz Cafe. The first cafe is open daily from 11 am - 2 pm. The Jazz Cafe remains open throughout the day until 5 pm. Museum food seems invariably overpriced, but there are creative choices so both you and the kiddos will be happy.

Located right on Washington DC's National Mall, this Smithsonian Museum is metro accessible. There is ample metered parking within walking distance. The museum is also free, and a perfect place for an educational morning with children of all ages.




Good for All Ages Admission Free Changing Table Has Food History Cultural Experience
Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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