Sometime in the next six weeks, clear a day on your calendar and go to the National Building Museum. Because that’s how much time you have left to check out one of the coolest installations I’ve seen there yet: The Big Maze.
And big, it is. They call it “large-scale,” but I’d say its more like… huge. Constructed of maple plywood, it rises up to 18 feet high and measures 60 feet by 60 feet. Within there are twists and turns and dead ends, all formed by finely constructed walls of wood at varying heights — they get higher as you get further from the center. It’s located right in museum’s Great Hall, and when viewed from upper levels, it’s like a work of art.
The best part is that it’s meant to be navigated and explored. You can get lost inside and make your way out — over and over again. That’s just what the kids did when we visited recently. (Okay, so did I.) They took it slowly the first time, trying to carefully find the route that would lead them to the exit. But after making it to the middle, where they could see the rest of the meandering paths surrounding them, then to the exit, they ran right back to the entrance and did it all over again (and again and again). Just more quickly each time they went.
After several trips through with them, I went up to the second floor and watched from there. Getting a bird’s eye view is almost as neat as navigating it. Almost.
So, the cost is a bit steep ($16/adult, $13/ages 3-17 for non-members, $10/adult, $5 for members). BUT when you consider all of the wonderful, free attractions we enjoy here in DC, paying to see and do something unique and fun is worth it, in my opinion. Plus, hat gets you admission to all of the exhibits, including the Building Zone, while you’re there.
The Big Maze will be at the National Building Museum through September 1. Hours are 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am – 5pm on Sunday. There will also be extended hours 5-9pm on a few evenings: July 31, and August 7, 14, 21, 28. Tickets are only available in person, on a first-come, first-served basis.