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National Children's Museum
Ranked #415 of 457 things to do in Washington DC
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Owner description: A museum designed for kids with loads of interactive educational exhibits.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I have been tracking the grand opening of the new National Children's Museum since giving birth to my kid. I remember my experiences at the old museum on H street and couldn't wait to share them with my kids. It is about the size of a restaurant and one level. The cost is $10 per person for anyone over the age of 12 months. It's basically a big "playseum" and nothing really to "learn." There are pretend play stations - world market, dress up, fire tation, pizza making station, cranes, books, arts & crafts, etc... Very similar to the playseum in Bethesda. I don't suggest purchasing a membership...you will be disappointed. I heard many parents complaining that $155 went down the drain as they purchased sight unseen!

On the flip side, it is nice, clean, bright and new! We spent 1.5 hours in there and pretty much visited all the areas, watchd a skit in the theater, and enjoyed the new years eve "parade."

I just remember doing so much more in the old museum, such as makng real newspapers, wax objects, and real food. I believe it was much much bigger too. The new museum is opening an outdoor area in 2014 that seems to be more educational..per the website.

Go with the right expectations and you will enjoy it... I would say it is more appropriate for 5-6 and under.

Hope this helps!

4  Thank M A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 - 34 of 36 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2012

This would be a fantastic museum if only there were more too it! For a national museum this is a bit underwhelming. Essentially, there is just one room, about the size of a CVS. It is bright and cheerful, and he staff is ethusiastic and helpful, but along with the other guests I found myself asking, "is this it?" (yes). "Is there more upstairs?" (no).
There really isn't anything here for kids over five. We waited in line for about 30 minutes to get into the special 3 and under toddler attraction to find... a space about the size of our living room, but less interesting.
There is another outdoor section opening next year. Since this museum is neat (but tiny) maybe this new section will dazzle. We're rooting for it!

4  Thank Bride120608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

If you don't stay near the National Harbor. I would not recommend anyone to go to the National Children's Museum, until they can sale tickets online! We drove 50 miles, only to get turn down at the door. Talk about been disappointment. Now We have to drive another 50 Miles back home with an upset 3 Years old child. Waste of gas money, parking money and our time. We could use our rare spare day off at somewhere else, like National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian

3  Thank Ed A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

Don't take your family here! It is overpriced ($10+ per person) and just ONE level. Displays are unimpressive; one was about "Prince Georges County" and another was a simple kitchen display. Another display was a baggage carousel.

I remember so fondly going to the original Capital Children's Museum. This new version is not worthy of the name "National Children's Museum," especially when there are fantastic FREE museums in DC. (Check out the National Building Museum, Air and Space and other Smithsonian institutions.) The truth is, unfortunately, this "Children's Museum" fits into the mold of National Harbor--overpriced, underwhelming attractions. No wonder Disney pulled out.

Other commercial attractions, like Port Discovery in Baltimore, are far better...somewhat pricey ($13) but more worth it; that site has a three-level indoor climbing apparatus, plus really cool interactive displays.

4  Thank Metro_MomofThree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2012

We went to the National Children’s Museum on Christmas Eve with our 3 year old and 3 month old. We weren’t that impressed overall. When we got there (right at 10am when it was opening), there was a long line outside of the building. This line moved slowly, as there were only two people to check you in. They do not have much waiting area inside, so people waiting to get in have to wait outdoors. Entry is rather pricey at $10 per person (child or adult, excluding infants). You also have to pay for garage parking ($5 for 2 hours). The museum is not very large, and when we went it was very crowded. By the time we left (at 11:30), they were not letting people in again until noon because it was so crowded. There was a line to get into the 3 and under area, as well, because it was at capacity. The museum was very clean, nice restrooms, and some good ideas, but pretty small. Each play area (crane, firetruck, kitchen, etc.) could really only accommodate a few children. The fire truck was pretty cool, but it is crowded in with the pizza place and the campaign center, a bunk bed, and a small grocery area. I think that the campaign center idea is above the heads of the ages that the museum is best suited for and when it was crowded, you couldn’t really get a turn at everything. Lots of the things that looked interesting to children (e.g., items in the grocery store on the top shelf, the food in the refrigerator in the kitchen) were not hands on items, and children couldn’t play with them. This being said, my 3 year old had a good time anyway. It might be a lot more fun if it was less crowded. In the future, we would rather go to Port Discovery or one of the Smithsonian museums. There are other fun things to do at National Harbor though, and my son had just as much fun looking at the boats and walking on the dock.

3  Thank klada61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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