I was recently inspired by a fellow Smithsonian educator’s blog post at the National Museum of American History. Megan’s tips for bringing young children to the museum were so helpful that I wanted to join in the conversation with tips for bringing young children to the National Air and Space Museum. To reiterate a couple of important things that Megan noted: Plan Ahead: We know that when children are engaged in age-appropriate activities they are happy, so plan ahead! Check our website for family activities and programs and pick one or even two galleries to focus on. We’re free, so don’t feel like you need to stay all day – An hour or two, or a single Story Time program or planetarium show, is about the most little ones can handle.
For the National Air and Space Museum in particular: You can enter the building from the National Mall or from Independence Avenue- but the closest Metro is L’Enfant Plaza: Although we are a Smithsonian Museum, the Smithsonian metro stop is a bit of a walk – it's best to take the “Maryland Avenue” exit at L’Enfant plaza. Entrances on both sides of the building are stroller-friendly – but the Independence Avenue is closest to L’Enfant Plaza. McDonald’s – We have the coolest McDonald’s serving kid-friendly fare, and you can bring your own snacks into the food court when you need to refuel. Here is a glimpse of what you and your young children can do at the Museum: Story Time – Story Time is an opportunity for young children to take a closer look at air and space from a child’s perspective. Stories are followed by an activity that adults can do with children. Teachers and their school groups are also welcome to Story Times; just make a reservation.
“One World, One Sky” Planetarium Show - If you find yourself at the Museum with young children on a Friday morning, be sure to see our special planetarium show – “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure.” Showtime is 10:30 am and admission is free! School groups are also encouraged to join us for the show! “I Spy” at the National Air and Space Museum – For ages 3-5 years old, our “I Spy” activity, available online, is a great way for young children to focus in on the things that help airplanes fly! The America by Air exhibition on the first floor and the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight exhibition on the second floor feature various components designed for younger visitors. These are just some of the many activities young children can be a part of at the Museum. Let us know if this post was helpful to you – do you have other questions about bringing children to the National Air and Space Museum?