Places to Go - The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


A week ago F had the day off school, so I thought it would be fun to take the girls to the National Mall's "dinosaur museum" while T attended preschool. As you can tell from the photos above the day started off a little rocky (despite my scoring of a wonderful parking spot (go me!). Unfortunately, "icy roads" (personally I saw no ice anywhere) delayed the opening of all the Smithsonians until 11 am (they usually open at 10) and it was cold outside, not freezing, but cold. So we decided to hang at Starbucks for awhile, but a LARGE demonstration on the National Mall made the line at Starbucks ridiculusly long (as much as I love this city, the abundance of demonstrations does get old sometimes). Sad coldness.


So we bought hot dogs (yes at 10:30 am) and pretzels from a street vendor. And slowly the moood began to perk up. Then we bought matching hats and life was looking pretty good. And finally . . . the Smithsonian opened its doors for us (and hundreds of others).


I know I'm a dork, but I've been waiting approximately six years to take the girls to the Natural History Museum. We've tried before, but up until now the kids all ran and played without learning much. So Monday, marked a huge turning point. This time we all actually discovered new things. In particular, we spent over an hour in Natural History's Human Origins exhibit. F loved the interactive exhibits in which archeologists detail a series of fossils discovered at a site and then explain how they put the pieces together to hypothesize about the people who lived there. I had no idea that some neanderthal tribes buried their dead, adding flowers to the graves. P liked the flashier exhibits (I think she hugged every statue she could find), especially the movie about what makes a mammal (we watched it twice).

A perfect "girls day" if I do say so myself. If you're interested, the Natural History Museum is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm, almost everyday. If you go before 10, street parking may be available in front. The Natural History Museum also has a discovery room for children, which we've always wanted to check out, but unfortunately it is closed on Mondays. Click here for the schedule. An Imax theatre and (decently large) cafe are on-site. The bug exhibit and butterflies also make great stops for young children. Click here to access the museum's website.

For another take on the Natural History Museum with kids, click here to read Kidfriendly DC's review.

And for another great "dinosaur" museum with kids, don't forget to check out Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. This place is so kid-friendly that even T loves it. Click here for our review.


*Lisa Scheer.

*10 Creative Decorating Ideas.

*Inkodye - this looks fun.


  1. We are on the same wavelength -- I just posted a write-up about the Dino Museum last night! Very cool to read another take on it (ie, I didn't even mention Human Origins since it's not among my kids' faves). Thx for the Maryland Science Center rec - that's been on the list for awhile, think we'll go Friday when DCPS has off from school.

  2. One of our favorite places! You're never too young (or old!) to appreciate these wonders.



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