Tag Archives: DC Exhibits for Kids

Journey with Earth Explorers at the National Geographic Museum

An Earth Explorer journal entry

An Earth Explorer journal entry



Want to witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse in the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, or gear up for a polar expedition? These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the National Geographic Museum’s newest exhibition.

An explorer greeting at the entrance

An explorer greeting at the entrance

Earth Explorers takes you on a journey around the globe, offering a glimpse into the work and passion of real explorers in the field. Hands-on displays, interactive installations, and Nat Geo’s signature stunning visuals are your guides in this informative, inspiring, and fun experience.

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

The exhibit features six stations covering different regions and types of explorations: Base Camp, Oceans, Rain Forests, Mountains and Caves, African Savannah, and Polar Regions. Each area provides a sense of the work environment in its particular setting. Video footage and photos let you see the places and wildlife that exists there. Gear on display shows you the equipment needed to do the work. And field journals from the explorers provide insight into their work — how they got started, how they approach expeditions, what impels them to probe the unknown, and advice for future explorers.

Journals reveal more about each explorer

Journals reveal more about each explorer

The view from the sub

The view from the sub

Get a bird's eye view of the African savannah

Get a bird’s eye view of the African savannah

Guests can get even more of a feel for the work in immersive installations that replicate the experiences of the explorers. Delve into the ocean in a submarine, take an aerial survey of the African savannah from a hot air balloon, study ecosystems under a tent in the rain forest, check out an Arctic cabin and learn how scientists study polar animals, and ride in an off road vehicle used in the field. These are just some of the larger interactive elements. Smaller ones, like touchscreen displays and fun, wall-mounted trivia games, abound.

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Interactives are fun and educational

Interactives are fun and educational

There are so many neat details to the exhibit that you’ll feel like an explorer yourself as you go through it. You don’t want to miss something that might provide key insight into a particular region or expedition or discovery. And a unique supplement is an interactive digital experience that utilizes an advanced technology, augmented reality (AR), to bring various animals inside the exhibit to life on your iOS or Android device.

Tropical trivia

Tropical trivia

Earth Explorers is also an exhibit with all-ages appeal. While probably best for about ages 8-13 — there is quite a bit of reading and information that older kids will digest more easily — younger children will love the hands-on and immersive parts along with striking and playful imagery and video. No matter what age, it’s meant to inspire and get kids to think about what they might want to be when they grow up.

It’s given me all kinds of ideas! 😉

Earth Explorers is on view at the National Geographic Museum through September 10, 2017. Tickets are $15/adult, $12/seniors, student, & military, $10/ages 5-12, free for under 5. Museum hours are 10am – 6pm.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Nature, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 22-26

Get a close look at the world's animals at Nat Geo

Get a close look at the world’s animals at Nat Geo


Monday – Relish in the sunny day on the trail at Riverbend Park. Make that your starting point for a 2-mile hike to Great Falls, where you can take in magnificent vistas, explore the Nature Center, and have a picnic. Or just wander around Riverbend and enjoy the Visitor Center and views there. Park hours are 7am to dusk, Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Zoom in on the world’s animal species at the National Geographic Museum, where two fantastic exhibitions, Photo Ark and CROCS, will engage visitors of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under — look for discount tickets here.

Wednesday – Check out your local library. Drop in for story time, sing-a-longs, arts & crafts, and other activities, or just go to browse for books. See this post from the very early KFDC days for a little background and quick links to libraries around the area. Hours vary by location, admission is free.

Thursday – Take a little time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city through exhibits that showcase relics from the past and recreate various industry environments. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under.

Friday – Put some colorful music in your morning at a Rainbow Rock show. The kindie band is playing at Jammin’ Java at 10:30am (doors open at 10am). Admission is $5, but you can find a discount on Certifikid). Plan on lunch there, too — the full menu will be available.




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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The National Postal Museum Always Delivers a Great Outing

Exciting displays in every direction in the lofty atrium

Exciting displays in every direction in the lofty atrium



I like to think of the National Postal Museum as a locals’ secret, overlooked by tourists and overshadowed by its counterparts on the Mall. Whether it really is or not, I’m not sure, but I do know that it wasn’t even on my museum radar until I took Owen to an event there when he was about two years old. I remember feeling surprised that I wasn’t aware of it before then. Part of the Smithsonian, it’s quite an interesting attraction and aesthetically pleasing space, plus it’s located in the beautiful historic City Post Office building next to Union Station where I’d been plenty of times to both send mail and eat at the Capitol City Brewery that used to be housed there.

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Mailboxes from around the world

Mailboxes from around the world

Anyway, since I became aware of the Postal Museum’s existence, it’s been a staple in our local museum rotation, as you’ve likely gathered by now from my many recommendations to visit. (A recent rainy day outing there prompted me to finally blog about it.) Like many local galleries in DC, admission is free and conveniently located — we can walk or bike there, and for folks farther out, it’s Metro accessible; and we can lunch at Union Station pre- or post-outing.

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The cab of a semi is a huge hit with kids

The cab of a semi is a huge hit with kids

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But the best features of the museum are the collections, which appeal to a wide range of ages, and are particularly compelling for kids. Presenting the history of mail and the postal process, there are big installations like old mail trucks, a train car, an airplane, and other modes of mail transport. And most exhibits contain interactive elements that keep young visitors engaged — they can explore the Pony Express, stamp letters, sort packages, create postcards, and much more.

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I also appreciate their family workshops, which are always fun and well-organized. We’ve created Valentines and holiday cards at some and attended events that celebrate milestones in mail. Most of these programs take place on weekends, but every now and then there’s something special during the week, too. Of course, I always try to keep you posted on all of them. But event or not, the Postal Museum is worth a visit anytime.

Creating Valentines at a card making workshop

Creating Valentines at a card making workshop

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The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE. It’s open 10am – 5:30pm daily, except December 25. Admission is free. It’s right next to Union Station, which is on Metro’s Red Line. If you drive, you can park in Union Station’s garage for about $10, though you might get lucky and find metered parking near the SEC on the east side of Union Station or even an unmetered space in the residential area just beyond.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Enter to Win Tickets to “Flying Monters 3D” at the National Geographic Museum!

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If you’re looking for activities to do with the kids on weekends this winter, an outing to the National Geographic Museum is a good one to keep in mind. Along with a few great exhibits on view right now, you can also catch a screening of Flying Monsters 3D on their giant screen!

For thousands of years, humans believed that flying monsters existed. They became mythologized, with stories about them shared around the world. Could they have really existed? Millions of years ago dinosaurs were on their rise to dominate Earth. But another group of reptiles was set to make an extraordinary leap: Pterosaurs were about to take control of the skies. The story of how and why these mysterious creatures took to the air is more fantastic than any fiction.

Flying Monsters 3D plays on Saturdays and Sundays at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Running time is approximately 40 minutes. Tickets are $7. The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW. Hours are 10am – 6pm daily.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets to see Flying Monsters 3D, leave a comment below telling me your favorite holiday film. To be eligible to enter, you must also like KidFriendly DC on Facebook. The giveaway will run through this weekend, and a winner will be drawn at random. Good luck!

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Filed under DC, Educational, Exhibit, Giveaway, Gradeschoolers, Movies, Museums, Preteens, Teens, Weekend

Play, Work, & Build at the National Building Museum

 

After much anticipation, the National Building Museum debuted its newest exhibition, “PLAY WORK BUILD” just over a week ago.  We checked it out last week, so I can tell you firsthand that it is pretty awesome. It’s replaced the much loved LEGO exhibit in both museum location (the southeast corner of the second floor) and as a go-to hands-on experience that all ages can enjoy.  Here’s an inside look at what you can expect there.

Vintage toys

The first area you walk into showcases toys from the Museum’s world-class Architectural Toy Collection. You’ll see Tinker Toys, an Erector Set, and other building toys of the past.  Most of them are under glass, so you can only look at them and feel the nostalgia. Except for the Lincoln Logs (which, I learned, were invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright). There is a whole table full of the wooden pieces, where guests can build mini log cabins.

Toys that span the generations

You can build with more modern toys just beyond that at a table that looks like a giant lightbox.  It’s topped with scads of small blue foam blocks and pieces in various shapes and sizes that fit together to help you form all kinds of cool creations.

What to make? So many possibilities!

And then comes the awesome part: The big foam blocks. Every kid there seemed like they were in a state of pure bliss as they played in this sea of soft blue pieces.  Many configurations of blocks are there to pile on top of each other, lay end-to-end to make tracks and roll plastic blue balls along, stick into holes in the blue foam on the walls, hang out among, or make use of in some other fun and creative way.

Playing among the very pleasantly colored blue foam blocks

A few older kids looked like they were on a mission, gathering particular pieces for their projects. Babies crawled around the soft space. Sasha was very keen on putting long noodle-like pieces into the walls then trying to hang on them.  Other children constructed small platforms, climbed aboard, then jumped into a pile of the soft blocks below.

A play space for all ages

And there’s more. The exhibit goes digital at the far end of the room, where you can stand on a blue mat and watch as blocks form a “reflection” of your figure on the wall. You can also watch as virtual blocks fill the wall, then knock them down. There’s not much more to it than that, but kids will spend a good few minutes checking it out.

Virtual building blocks

 

As bummed as I was to see the LEGOS go, I’m pretty psyched about its replacement.

PLAY WORK BUILD is scheduled to be at the National Building Museum until next November.  Admission is $8/adults, $5/youth for non-members, but free for members.  And just in case you’ve missed my many recommendations to get the NBM Family Membership, I’ll say it again: It’s so worth it. Just $90/year gets you six admissions to exhibits per day, comp admission to select programs, access to birthday parties, and more.


Save On Melissa & Doug

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend