Explore imagiNATIONS and More at the American Indian Museum

The new imagiNATIONS activity center at the NMAI


I’m squeezing in a last second suggestion for a kids activity this weekend.  It’s a late addition for a couple of reasons: 1) I just learned about it yesterday, and 2) With foul weather upon us, it’s a nice indoor pursuit.

DCPS had a half-day yesterday, so with a free afternoon with both our big and little kids, a friend and I decided to take them to National Mall for a little fun.  After spending some time at the Botanic Garden, we stopped by the American Indian Museum for hot chocolate at the Mitsitam Cafe and to check out the new imagiNATIONS activity center. (And here I need to note that the hot chocolate was delish — a Mexican variety with a little spicy kick to it, thanks to the addition of peppers and cinnamon.  See the recipe for it here.)

Interactive trivia – educational and fun!

So, it turned out the imagiNATIONS activity center was closed for the day, but it was still fortuitous that we stopped by.  I got to have a peek at the space and talk to some of the staff, who let me know about some special activities taking place at the museum this weekend to celebrate today’s opening of the new exhibit A Song for the Horse Nation, which I hear is beautiful and fascinating.  And though the activity center was closed, the kids had a blast playing an interactive trivia game just outside the main area.

Despite only getting a glimpse of imagiNATIONS, I predict it’s going to be a popular place to bring kids.  First of all, it’s pretty large, stretching along an entire section of the third floor.  And the offerings inside look and sound just as good — there’s a giant basket to weave, an area with tables for hands-on crafts, interactive displays that teach about the culture and land, igloo building, Wii skateboarding (to demonstrate surfing that began with native Hawaiians), a model of various Indian dwellings, a library where story time takes place, and they told me a teepee was going to be set up this morning. Apparently, there is even more coming, and it will all be open to the public during museum hours.

As for this weekend’s special events, there will be activities, demos, and more for the whole family. Here’s a quick list of what you can enjoy both Saturday and Sunday:

Beading Demo:  10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Ledge Art and How to Dress to Dress a Horse Workshop: 10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Special Exhibition Tour: 10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Feed the family at Mitsitam Cafe

Plan your visit around lunch, because the Mitsitam Cafe adds to the museum experience, offering a variety of indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Five food stations have native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere — Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains. Each offer a special kids meal for smaller appetites. And be sure to top it all off with a cup of that hot chocolate!

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

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