Smithsonian Institution

This has been a busy time for us here.  I have started a new job, so between that and getting ready for Christmas and company my posting is slowing down.  Unfortunately I don’t see this changing in the next two weeks with Christmas and New Years.  Other than getting some more groceries, I think we are all ready for Christmas.  Presents are under the tree and cookies are made.

My post today is going to be a brief overview of the Smithsonian Museums and Galleries located on the National Mall.  I’m going to have individual posts about each museum in the future.  Many people come to visit the area with the destination of the Smithsonian.  The Smithsonian Institution includes 19 museums and galleries along with the National Zoo.  On the National Mall alone there is American History Museum, Natural History Museum, American Indian Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African Art, Arthur M Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution building and the Air and Space Museum.  I am going to talk about the four main museums as we haven’t really visited the art museums.  I would like to but they usually don’t make the weekend entertainment for a toddler.

Here is our ranking of the Museums according to our toddler.

  1.  Air and Space Museum
    • Hours: 10-5:30pm
    • FREE
    • Nearest metro-L’Enfant Plaza (yellow, green, blue, orange, silver)
    • The museum has numerous planes (hanging from the ceiling, ones that you can sit in, flight simulators) and space exhibits that young children can enjoy.  There are also older kid and adult oriented exhibits about the history of flight and military operations.
  2. Natural History Museum
    • Hours:  10-5:30pm
    • FREE
    • Nearest metro-Smithsonian (blue, orange, silver)
    • Dinosaurs!  The Hall of Mammals!  African Elephant!  There are many kid friendly exhibits at this museum.  Unfortunately the Hall of Fossils is closed for renovation and will not open again until 2019.  There is a Discovering the Dinosaurs exhibit with dinosaur fossils which has been a hit.  For older kids and adults there is the spectacular Hope Diamond to check out.
  3. American History Museum
    • Hours:  10-5:30pm
    • FREE
    • Nearest metro-Smithsonian (blue, orange, silver)
    • My son’s favorite exhibit here is the transportation hall called “America on the Move.”  It is a history of transportation,  from wagons, to cars, buses and it houses a steam train engine.  For the most part the other exhibits are for older kids and adults.  A new exhibit called Wegmans Wonderplace opened on December 9th.  It is specifically aimed for children under 6.  We have not made it there yet but the rank on this list may change after the visit.  Don’t miss the First Ladies exhibit or the Americans at War exhibit if you have older kids.
  4. National Museum of the American Indian
    • Hours:  10-5:30pm
    • FREE
    • Nearest metro-L’Enfant Plaza (yellow, green, blue, orange, silver)
    • This museum has mainly adult and older kid themed exhibits.  It does house the fantastic imagiNATIONS Activity Center.  Center is interactive and family friendly.  It is a great place to go play and learn for locals and visitors.  Eilam loves building the igloo and trying to balance in the canoes.

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