Navigating the Smithsonian: A Family Guide to America’s Largest Museum

The Smithsonian Institution stands as the world’s biggest museum and research hub. It holds more than 154 million artifacts. This place is a haven for learning and fun for families.

Find everything you need to know for a family trip to the Smithsonian. We’ve got activities, tips for kids, and top exhibit picks. Let’s explore the Smithsonian, where learning meets excitement.

Must-Visit Attractions at the Smithsonian for Families

The Smithsonian Institution has lots for families to love. You’ll find amazing exhibits and fun displays for all. Here are the top spots at the Smithsonian for families:

National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is a big hit. Here, families can see the history of flight. Kids will see the Wright brothers’ plane and much more. They’ll learn about space shuttles and the Apollo lunar module too.

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is a great place for families. Visit the Hall of Mammals and see ancient animals. You’ll also find gems, dinosaurs, and ocean exhibits. Kids can enjoy hands-on displays and learn a lot.

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History shows our cultural history. See exhibits with Kermit the Frog and Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Learn about military history, presidents, and big inventions in America.

These places at the Smithsonian are perfect for families. They offer fun and learning for all ages. Make lasting memories with each visit.

Family-Friendly Activities and Interactive Exhibits

The Smithsonian Institution is focused on making visits special for families with kids. There’s a bunch of interactive exhibits for children at the Smithsonian and educational programs for families at the Smithsonian. These help kids dive into the amazing worlds of art, history, science, and culture.

At the Smithsonian, families can enjoy hands-on activities that make learning fun. Kids can explore cool artifacts, solve puzzles, play games, and even join special workshops. This makes the museum visit more exciting.

Interactive Exhibits

One great thing for families at the Smithsonian is the interactive exhibits made for kids. These exhibits get kids to think, explore, and learn in a fun way that they’ll remember.

  • Discovery Room at the National Museum of Natural History: Here, kids can touch nature firsthand. They can look at real specimens, do science experiments, and uncover secrets of the natural world.
  • Insect Zoo at the National Museum of Natural History: Families can meet different insects, learn interesting facts about them, and see live shows that reveal amazing insect behaviors.
  • Kid’s Farm at the National Zoo: At the Kid’s Farm, children can meet farm animals and learn about their lives. This helps kids care more about biodiversity and conservation.
  • Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History: This place helps kids become inventors. Through hands-on activities, they learn about innovation and how to solve problems creatively.

Educational Programs

Another great thing at the Smithsonian are the educational programs for families and kids.

  • Family Workshops: These workshops let families work together, learn, and be creative. Led by experts, they explore art, history, science, and more.
  • Story Time at the Smithsonian Libraries: Kids can get lost in stories at interactive storytelling times. It boosts their imagination, curiosity, and love for reading.
  • Science Demonstrations and Shows: Thrilling science shows are fun for the whole family. They mix cool experiments with amazing facts, making learning fun for everyone.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours: Families can take a unique tour behind the scenes at the Smithsonian. They see hidden treasures and learn how the museums work.

By experiencing interactive exhibits and educational programs, families make lasting memories and grow a love for learning. The Smithsonian invites families on this fun educational journey. Kids get to understand the world in new ways.

Tips for Visiting the Smithsonian with Kids

Going to the Smithsonian with kids is unforgettable for the family. It’s key to prepare to make the trip fun and smooth. Here’s some advice for a great day at the Smithsonian with your family:

  1. Pick a good time to go: It gets busy on weekends and school breaks. Try a weekday or less busy times to skip big crowds and long waits.
  2. Plan your visit: The Smithsonian is huge. Look up which museums and exhibits your family likes best. Then, make a plan to see them without rushing.
  3. Look for kid-friendly spots: The museums have amenities like bathrooms and places to eat. Know where these are ahead of time, so you’re not looking when it’s urgent.
  4. Bring snacks and drinks: Walking around the Smithsonian makes kids hungry and thirsty. Pack snacks and water to keep up their energy all day.
  5. Try interactive exhibits: The Smithsonian offers exhibits that are hands-on. These fun activities help kids learn and keep them interested.
  6. Join educational programs: Look for family-friendly programs and workshops. They’re a different way to learn and make the visit more memorable.
  7. Think about strollers or carriers: For little ones, a stroller or carrier can make the visit more comfortable. You can usually find spots to park strollers in the museums.
  8. Rest when you need to: There’s a lot to see, and it can get overwhelming. Take breaks to relax and think about what you’ve seen so far.
  9. Ask museum staff for help: The people working at the Smithsonian love to share their knowledge. If you have questions, just ask them for tips or help.
  10. Make it memorable: Encourage your kids to dive into the exhibits, ask questions, and share what they think. Take lots of photos to remember your day.

These tips can help make your visit to the Smithsonian wonderful for everyone. It’s a chance to learn and have fun as a family.

About the Guide and Author

The Awesome Adventures at the Smithsonian: The Official Kids Guide to the Smithsonian Institution is essential for families visiting the Smithsonian. It gives all you need to know to enjoy the world’s biggest museum and research center. Your family’s trip will be fun and full of learning.

Emily Korrell, who wrote the guide, was once a docent at the Smithsonian. She has also been an elementary and middle school teacher. Emily’s dedication to education and her skill in creating learning tools make the guide both useful and fun.

With this guide, families will know the best spots to see, find hands-on exhibits, and learn about educational events. Emily’s guidance makes sure your Smithsonian visit will be memorable.