Best Museums for Kids in Washington, DC

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Ever wondered which DC Museums are best for kids ages 3 – 12? Here’s a list of the ones we’ve visited and their kid-friendly features. Check back frequently for blog updates.

NorthWest, DC

Jack plays a game in the Joking Around exhibit at Planet Word.

Planet Word

All about words, language & syntax, what’s not to love?

  • Location: 925 13th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
    Closest Metro: McPherson Square on the silver, blue, and orange lines
  • Hours: Wednesday – Sunday; 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Admission: Free!
  • The 411: Home to some very cool interactive exhibits like the giant 22-foot tall word wall that speaks to you, a live Karaoke room, an enormous library, a humor gallery & more. My kids had a blast! A great museum for all ages to explore. 

Visit Planet Word’s website!

Get your build ON at the National Building Museum!

National Building Museum

A true gem for future architects, hard hatters, and those ready to build!

  • Location: 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001
  • Closest Metro: Judiciary Square on the red line (station’s F Street NW entrance)
  • Hours: Friday – Monday; 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Admission: $10/adult and $7/kid (ages 3-17), student with ID, senior (ages 60+)
  • The 411: Huge museum with plenty of exhibits featuring world architecture and design. Check out the Play, Work, Build exhibit when visiting this museum! This second-floor play place is loaded with nostalgic toy displays and foam building materials to spark some creativity. Make sure to ask for free timed-entry tickets to Play, Work, Build when checking out at the admissions desk.

Visit the National Building Museum’s website!

National Children’s Museum

A children’s museum dedicated to STEM with hints of pop culture and DC flair.

  • Location: Woodrow Wilson Plaza; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20004
    Closest Metro: Federal Triangle on the silver, blue, and orange lines
  • Hours: Wednesday – Sunday; 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Admission: $15.95/adults & kids age 1+
  • The 411: Plenty to do at the National Children’s Museum for kids through age 12. There are a variety of play spaces, STEM-based activities, the huge Dream Machine slide and more with recognizable Nickelodeon-themed exhibits and pops of DC influence spread throughout. You’re sure to have fun at this museum!

Visit the National Children’s Museum’s website!

Jack lands just in time to join Liv at the Dance Party Pod inside of the National Children's Museum.
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NorthEast, DC

Jack picks his stamps to take home at the National Postal Museum.

National Postal Museum

Oh Yes, Wait a Minute it’s the Postal Museum! Cues Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes Channel your inner courier with fun games and takeaways at this museum.

  • Location: 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Closest Metro: Union Station on the red line
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm Daily
  • Admission: Free!
  • The 411: The National Postal Museum has been a favorite of ours for a very long time! There’s so much to do with kids like making your own stamp, collecting vintage stamps, postal games and more. Head to the information desk to pick up the Top 10 Things to Do brochure and your very own postage free postcard to mail to a friend. This museum in my opinion is best for younger kids ages 6 and under.

Visit the National Postal Museum’s website!

SouthWest, DC

Nate becomes a Spy at the International Spy Museum.

International Spy Museum

007 and things! Become a spy and unlock plenty of mysteries at this unique museum.

  • Location: 700 L’Enfant Plaza, SW Washington DC 20024
  • Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza on the silver, blue, orange and green lines
  • Hours: Sunday – Thursday; 9:00 am – 7:00 pm and Friday – Saturday; 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Admission:
    $26.95/adult ages 13 – 64
    $16.95/kid ages 7 – 12
    Free/kid ages 6 and under (ticket required)
    $23.95/senior, military, law enforcement, intelligence community or college student (with valid ID)
  • The 411: Go on a top-secret mission as soon as you enter this unique museum, best in my opinion for the older kids ages 7 and up! You’ll get a badge and cover identity that enables you to move through various scenes within the museum. Other featured exhibits include infamous spy tales and code-cracking, which makes this museum perfect for the adventurer in your family.

Visit the International Spy Museum’s website!

National Air & Space Museum

Fly high at this Smithsonian Museum. Whether you’re an aspiring pilot or future wanderer of outer space, there’s something for everyone at the National Air and Space Museum!

  • Location: 6th Street and Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20560
  • Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza on the silver, blue, orange and green lines; Take Maryland Ave. Exit!
  • Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm; Open every day except December 25th
  • Admission: Free with timed tickets reserved online; however, the Planetarium costs extra:
    • $7/Youth
    • $9/Adult
  • Note: A small number of same-day passes are released online every morning!
  • The 411: Take a trip into outer space or a flight across the world at the National Air and Space Museum. Although only 50% of the museum is open until 2025, there’s much to explore at this SW DC Smithsonian museum. Our favorite space was the Planetarium, which has shows running throughout the day. Some of the more interactive exhibits include Nation of Speed (for all the Nascar fans) and One World Connected, both located on the upper level. There’s also two gift shops, Mars Cafe and a family care suite located on the lower level. Best for all ages, there’s something for everyone!

Visit the National Air and Space Museum’s website!

Nate and Liv check out an Intravehicular Glove at the National Air and Space Museum.
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Sarah and Liv pose in front of a an exhibit at the Hirshhorn.
Sarah and Liv pose in front of Mark Bradford's Pickett’s Charge, an ongoing exhibit at the Hirshhorn.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Where modern art comes to life. Explore famous and unique works of modern and contemporary art from artists like Yayoi Kusama and Sam Gilliam. We used visiting this museum as an excuse to get fancy and take lots of photos!

  • Location: Independence Ave and 7th St. Washington, DC 20560
  • Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza on the silver, blue, orange and green lines
  • Hours: Open daily, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
  • Admission: Free!
  • The 411: This is one museum that’s great in-person or virtually at home! Make sure to stop by the information desk when visiting in-person to pick up their kid-friendly museum guide. They have fun activities for many of the exhibits on display. There may be a few exhibits that you’ll need to talk the younger kids through. Check out the Hirshhorn website for know-before-you-go information to help with this. Their website is also full of fun kid-friendly activities to do at home. I highly recommend signing up for their e-newsletter! 

Visit the Hirshhorn’s website!

SouthEast, DC

A girl standing in front of the Anacostia Community Museum.
Liv shares her design created at the Anacostia Community Museum.

Anacostia Community Museum

Learn about the rich history of DC’s Anacostia neighborhood at this interactive Smithsonian museum. 

  • Location: 1901 Fort Place SE Washington, DC 20020
  • Closest Metro: Anacostia on the green line
  • Hours: Open Daily – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; closed December 25th
  • Admission: Free!
  • The 411: This museum is on the smaller side with rotating exhibits that detail cultural and historical accounts of DC’s Anacostia neighborhood. The exhibits we’ve experienced have been highly interactive with activities for all ages. They also host kid-friendly events including a Kwanzaa celebration in December and inclusive programming throughout the year. Free parking within their lot is another plus and this museum tends to be less crowded than others around the city!

Visit the Anacostia Community Museum’s website!

Check out the DC Museums Guide to see more information about these and other DC museums.

4DMV Kids Creator, Sarah, sits in front of the pencil wall design at the Anacostia Community Museum.

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