Last Sunday I visited the National Children’s Museum with my kids and I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed.
To give you some perspective – I grew up going to the old children’s museum on Capitol Hill and I have the fondest memories of that place. Despite countless visits it was never boring even up until the age of 9 or 10.
I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new National Children’s Museum for years. This past summer we visited the children’s museum in Durham which was AMAZING and I hoped that our Children’s Museum would be something like that.
The museum is located at National Harbor. Tickets are $10 a piece unless you get there at 4 and then they are half price. The museum is surprisingly small with one larger main room, a second room for children under 3, a theater and some rooms for arts and crafts.
According to the website, The Museum’s exhibits and innovative educational programs spark the imagination and celebrate the true power of children, motivating them to become people who make a difference in the world.
Also according to the website……
The Museum’s spaces and activities focus on six core content areas:
- The arts
- Civic engagement
- The environment
- Global citizenship
- Health and well-being
This sounds great but I didn’t really see these concepts reflected in the exhibits. Perhaps they have a program that explains it all for school groups. Maybe they are still working out the kinks. The museum only opened a month ago.
There was a pretend baggage claim area featuring suitcases with clear plastic tops so that you can see the contents.
An exhibit about Africa containing burlap bags of rice and tupperware containers.
An exhibit highlighting foods from different countries which included India, Thailand, Italy and Japan, to name a few. There was also a pretend stove and plastic fruits and vegetables that kids could play with. Thanks but I’ll teach my children about Indian food by taking them to Bombay Curry Company if it ever opens up again. (I so miss that place).
I was really surprised to see what the curators chose to represent the food of the United States which was a burrito, frijoles, rice and chips and salsa. Tex Mex is one of my favorites too but I would consider it more of a regional food. If I had to pick one tray of food to represent the US it would probably be apple pie and barbecue or something like that.
One exhibit had just a bunk bed with comforters on it and a rocking chair next to it. There were a few books next to the bed. I didn’t understand this exhibit. There was also a motorcycle passenger car which could be a cute photo op.
My kids ( ages 3.5 and 5) were somewhat bored but I think the museum would be fun for younger children. I’ve heard good things about the room for children under 3 which has a gymboree style set up. The outdoor area is expected to be completed this year and I’ll definitely go back and check it out.