Tag Archives: Building Zone

National Building Museum News


I know the National Building Museum is a go-to spot for many when it comes to fun, easy outings with the kids, so here are a few events and dates to be aware of over the next few weeks:

– The Building Zone will be closed from October 15 – October 22 as it undergoes some refurbishments, including a brand new, plush floor in the exhibition, a magnetic activity table, and a Concrete Station traveling all the way from the Omaha Children’s Museum.  The Concrete Station will allow children to play and learn in a sand pit complete with shovels and sifters. The rest of the museum will still be open as these upgrades are installed.

October 20 is Girl Scout Day, a day designed especially for Girl Scouts to explore the built world through hands-on activities and talks with professionals, and to work on badge and journey requirements.  There are two sessions — sign up for the morning here and the afternoon here. Prepaid registration ($10) is required.

November 6 is the next Book of the Month session and will feature a reading of Iggy Peck, Architect, a wonderful children’s book by Andrea Beaty about a boy who loves to build (it’s been a favorite in our house for years).  The program takes place the first Tuesday of every month at 10:30am and 11:30am and usually involves a hands-on activity after storytime. It’s free with the admission to the Building Zone ($3/person).

November 14 is Homeschool Day, the first of the 2012-13 school year.  Students and their families can participate in hands-on programs that complement the curricula in art, social studies, math, science, and language arts. There are program for children ages 4-14. Admission is $10 per child, per program. Prepaid registration is required by November 12.

November 17-18 is The Wright Weekend: A Celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright and will include a workshop for kids (and accompanying adults) ages 5 and up: BARK-itecture invites families to design and build their very own doghouse to fit a stuffed dog or animal using Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture as inspiration. The workshop also include stories, crafts, and animal crackers. (Online sign-up is not yet open, but you can call 202.272.2448.)

November 18, is opening day for PLAY WORK BUILD, an exhibit that promises to enthrall kids and adults alike with a display of the museum’s world-class Architectural Toy Collection, a hands-on block play area, and an original digital interactive. Admission for non-members will be $8/adults, $5/youth, students & seniors. (Note: October 17 is a preview day for members only.)

– Finally, if your family frequents the National Building Museum fairly regularly, I highly recommend getting a Family Membership.  For $90, you get six admissions (two adults, four youth) to exhibitions per day, which practically pays for itself if you visit the Building Zone ($3/person, per visit) and other exhibits ($5-8/person, per visit) often. You also get priority registration to summer camp and discounts on birthday parties (which I’ve written about here). And I swear there’s nothing in this for me, I just think it’s a fantastic museum, and the membership is worth every penny.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 5-9

Checking out one means of mail transportation at the National Postal Museum


Monday – Kids ages 3-5 can meet the trees that represent the season at Green Spring Gardens’ workshop, Garden Sprouts: Forever Evergreens. Guests will get an intro to the tree then create a related craft.  Admission is $5/county residents, $7/non-residents, and you must register in advance. As this post goes up, there are still a few spots remaining in the class.

Tuesday – Head to the Building Zone at the National Building Museum for its Book of the Month Program. Readings of Gingerbread Baby begin at 10:30am and 11:30am.  Don’t forget it’s now $3/person to play there, and timed entries begin on the hour.  While you’re at the NBM, check out the Lego Architecture exhibit upstairs and let the kids create some masterpieces themselves at tables yielding thousands of the tiny plastic bricks.  And the magnificent Great Hall is a perfect space to let the kids romp and enjoy an indoor picnic (BYO or buy it from the on-premises Firehook Bakery).

Wednesday – Visit the National Postal Museum, one I consider a local secret, since it’s often overlooked by tourists and overshadowed by its Smithsonian counterparts on the Mall. The atrium alone is quite a sight, showcasing various means of mail transportation — a mail truck, airplane, train car, tractor-trailer, and Pony Express horses and buggy replica are on display, and a couple of them are open for guests to climb aboard. And even more interesting exhibits await beyond the main hall. When you’re done there, head next door to Union Station to see the Holiday Train Show and grab lunch.

Thursday – See a marionette version of a holiday classic, as The Puppet Co. presents The Nutcracker at 10am and 11:30am.  Tickets are $10 and available online — they often sell fast, so reserve yours soon!

Friday – Experience the best of the holidays in DC at one of the many seasonal activities happening around town. This post lists my faves, and I highly recommend experiencing them during the week when possible to avoid the weekend crowds.


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Filed under All ages, Christmas, DC, Educational, Free, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Park, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Theatre, Toddlers, Union Station, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

It’s Cool at the National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is a great place to chill out on any hot day, but tomorrow, July 6, will be especially cool for a couple of reasons:

1 – The Building Zone is hosting its Book of the Month event. Kids can enjoy storytime and fun activities on the first Tuesday of every month from 10:30am – 12pm. Tomorrow’s reading will be “Roadwork” by Sally Sutton, a story about building a road from start to finish. Recommended for kids 3-5.

2 – The first Tuesday of every month is FREE, so you can save the $5 admission fee on the new “Towering Ambition” Lego exhibit. (Of course, if you can’t get there tomorrow, it’s still worth checking out another time. Free for kids 3 and under.)

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Filed under Educational, Museums, Ongoing