We have lived in the Washington DC area for over six years now and we are still exploring new places in the area. There are also a few places we keep going back to, because we love them so much. Here are our must-do Smithsonian museums in Washington DC with kids.
1. Smithsonian Natural History Museum: Sant Ocean Hall
When most people think of the Smithsonian Museum’s the National History Museum is most likely the one that probably pops into your mind. The museum is known for it’s large collection of dinosaur fossils and the Hope Diamond. Other than the dinosaur exhibit, our other favorite exhibits include the Sant Ocean Hall and the Butterfly Garden. The Sant Ocean exhibit, which opened in 2008, features a gigantic replica of a North Atlantic Right Whale and a replica of the world’s largest squid. Seriously this thing is HUGE and quite gross looking. Xander’s favorite part of this exhibit is the coral reef aquarium. It’s quite relaxing to watch the fish swim around among the colorful squishy sponges.
2. Smithsonian Natural History Museum: The Live Butterfly Exhibit
On the top floor of the museum lives over 400 beautiful butterflies, flying around freely in an enclosed space. This fantastic experience will leave you feeling refreshed. A few months ago Xander and I explored the butterfly happiness and captured some amazing pictures. 3. Smithsonian Natural History Museum: Rock Hunting
Our favorite “off the beaten path” activity at the Natural History Museum is digging through the colorful rocks in the rock gift shop. 4. National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy
The Udvar-Hazy museum is located near the Dulles International Airport, which can be a little tricky to travel to during rush hour. Read: DO NOT attempt to drive there between the hours of 7:00 to 10:00 am and 3:00 to 8:00 pm or you will hate your life! The drive is well worth it though. The three story museum is home to the Discovery space shuttle, the fastest jet in the world, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and many more airplanes and helicopters. It tends to be less crowded than the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. 5. United States National Arboretum: Throughout the seasons
Although only part of the U.S. National Arboretum is considered to be owned by the Smithsonian Institute, it’s still a wonderful family activity throughout the year. With 9 miles of flowers, bushes, and trees there is plenty of room for kids to run. We have visited in the fall and spring and each time see something different. Areas to explore while your there include:
Gigantic koi pondTiny little bonsai treesNational Capitol Columns Magnificent flower gardens everywhereOr maybe bring some squirt guns and let the kids run loose
Have you visited the Nation’s Capitol recently? What are your favorite Smithsonian museums in Washington DC?