A Sneak Peek at the New National Children’s Museum

[Note: This post was written by new KFDC contributor Emily Moise, who attended the National Children’s Museum Family Celebration with her daughter for a first look at what’s to come this winter.]

The wait continues for a much-needed and overdue children’s museum in the nation’s capital — but it will be well worth it. Originally slated as the grand opening celebration, this past Saturday’s Family Celebration at the National Children’s Museum was instead a sneak peek at the learning disguised as amusement park-like fun that will be made available to the public this holiday season.

Hundreds were dazzled with modernized, interactive STEAM exhibits in what is positioned as the first children’s museum-slash-science center. Believe it or not, Washington, DC, with its plentitude of museums and culture, is the only major city without either.

The National Children’s Museum is making up for lost time with new-age ideas and social impact-focused goals — plus tons of creative play spaces for even the littlest ones. Kids can learn physics through Nationals-branded pitching and batting exhibits, explore the technology of filmmaking with SpongeBob, and discover their superpower with the Climate Action Heroes roadmap.

The pièce de résistance may be the miniature car race track that teaches kids principles of design and engineering with high-speed excitement. After tweaking and adorning their wooden cars, kids watch as a mechanical lift raises their vehicles to the starting line. Ready, set, go… cars race down the track, lights flashing, and the most aerodynamic one wins. Overhead a screen shows detailed stats from the races. Barring a long waiting line, kids can experience the cycle of design, test, re-design.

There is also a Tinkerers Studio, set up like a 21st century classroom, which will be home to school and group field trips, as well as workshops and unguided open studio hours. Equipped with everything from colored paper for art projects to laptops for creative coding projects, the Studio will allow kids to combine the tools of STEAM to create and learn. Notably, teachers from Title I public and charter schools in Washington, DC can request free field trips, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

And all of this was just the lower concourse level. The main level will boast the Dream Machine entryway, a two-story slide that transports visitors to the wonderland of exhibits, a playzone, café, and gift shop. There appears to be much work left to be done to make all of this visitor-ready, but workshops are already being listed online for early December, which are free with general admission. (Admission will be $10.95 for children over the age of one and adults, and membership packages are expected to range from $75 to $150.)

Due to the Nationals’ World Series parade coinciding with the Family Celebration, another similar sneak peek day may be offered prior to opening. Stay tuned to the National Children’s Museum website for updates on the opening, events, workshops, and more!


6 Comments

Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Indoor Play, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend

6 Responses to A Sneak Peek at the New National Children’s Museum

  1. Rachel

    Any details on memberships!? Their website has no details and thinking this may be a great Christmas gift idea to give the grandparents!

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Not yet, but I will share information about membership as soon as I hear anything. You’re right – it would make for a great gift!

      • Rachel

        So I asked them on Facebook and received this reply!

        The Museum will be opening to the public this holiday season. Family memberships will range from $90 to $130 and include one year of free admission to the Museum along with other benefits. We expect to launch family memberships shortly. Please sign up for our newsletter on our website and follow us on social media for an announcement on when both tickets and memberships will be available.

  2. Jojo

    Does the Tinker studio have functional tools like drills, hammers and nails? Is there an outdoor portion? What is the age range focus?

  3. Can’t wait to check this out with my kiddos! Thanks for the great write up. The race track looks amazing.

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