Note: This list has been updated. Find a bigger, better version here.
Looking for activities for the kids on a foul-weather day? Here are some ideas…
1. Let them burn some energy at an indoor gym. This is a good list to get you started.
2. Take in a show at Glen Echo Park — see what’s currently on stages at The Puppet Co. and Adventure Theatre.
3. Head to the National Building Museum for some play time in the Building Zone or other activities in the Great Hall. (Note: linked post contains info about past events, as well as a description of what’s currently there).
4. Check out your local library.
5. Catch an IMAX like Born to Be Wild 3D or one of several other great films currently playing at the Smithsonian IMAX Theaters. See the Smithsonian website for details.
6. Visit a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall (or elsewhere in the city). They are free, fantastic places to stay dry.
7. Take a tour of Tudor Place, and be sure to check the calendar for special events.
8. See an exhibit or a few at the National Geographic Museum.
9. Go ice skating at the Kettler Iceplex, in College Park, or at Cabin John Ice Rink.
10. Shake your thang with the Boogie Babes. They bring children’s musicians to Eastern Market every Thursday morning and to the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.
11. Let imaginations run wild with pretend play at the Playseum. Locations are in Capitol Hill and Bethesda.
12. Explore space at a planetarium. The Albert Einstein Planetarium at the Air & Space is open every day. The Rock Creek Park Planetarium has free shows on weekends and Wednesdays at 4pm. And the David M. Brown Planetarium is in Arlington, though open only during the school year.
13. Jump in at an indoor pool. (Note: DC DPR closes aquatic centers if there is thunder).
14. Romp in the play area and ride the Express Train at Tysons Corner Center.
15. Wing it at the College Park Aviation Museum.
16. Paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, All Fired Up, or Clay Cafe.
17. Rock out at a Jammin’ Java kids show.
18. Get in touch with nature at the U.S. Botanic Garden, where many of the plant collections make you feel like you’re not just outdoors, but in a whole other region altogether.
19. Nuture the next 007 at the International Spy Museum. (Best for about ages 6 and up.)
20. Go below the surface, literally and figuratively, at the National Aquarium in DC, located in the lower level of the Department of Commerce Building.
21. Have a blast at Port Discovery in Baltimore.
22. And speaking of Baltimore and aquariums, the National Aquarium in Fells Point gets its own spot on this list.
23. As does the Maryland Science Center, also on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Visit the new traveling bug exhibit along with a host of cool permanent collections.
24. Deliver on fun at the National Postal Museum, where lots of interactive exhibits and an easy-to-explore space make it a perfect outing for little ones.
25. Watch a movie screening especially for kids or parents with brand new ones. Read about special movie series in the area.
26. Explore imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at that National Museum of the American Indian.
27. Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young, the new program for little audiences at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
28. Get your game on at Labyrinth, the Capitol Hill shop specializing in games and puzzles for all ages. Demo a few at tables set up in back for just that purpose.
29. Experience the outdoors inside at a nature center. Find one near you with the help of The Natural Capital blog.
30. Frolic in the new 1,200-square-foot play area at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, Va. (And while you’re there, do a little outlet shopping, too!)