Washington, D.C. with Kids: National Building Museum

This is Part 2 of a series on Washington, D.C. with kids. We also visited the National American History Museum.

Any place that combines wide open spaces, lots of toys, and zillions of Legos is bound to be a big hit with my kids. One of their favorite stops on our recent trip to Washington, D.C. was the National Building Museum, which to their delight, had all these fun features. This museum is not a part of the Smithsonian, and thus charges admission. Adults are $8 and children 3-17 are $5.

I noticed a blurb for the Building Museum in a magazine that was in our hotel room, and I remembered that Stimey‘s kids really like it. (But I can’t find her post that tells about it. Stimey, if you leave me the link I will update.)

The first thing we noticed upon entering the Great Hall was the miniature National Building Museum made of Legos in a big glass case. There were a bunch of mini-figures inside, some looking at exhibits, others working in the offices. My favorite part was the mini-museum inside the model museum. It was even inside a little glass case made of Legos!

After enjoying this, we went up to the actual Lego exhibit. This showcases models of 15 famous buildings from around the world, made of Legos. We saw the Empire State Building and the St. Louis Arch, among other things. A model of the White House was still in progress.

But even cooler than seeing the huge Lego structures was the next part of the exhibit, which had tons of Legos for people to make their own structures. Audrey made the Washington Monument, and Georgia made the Lincoln Memorial:

Washington Memorial (white) and Lincoln Memorial (gray, on the right)

Sydney just built for fun, and Joel napped in his stroller (which we were “invited” to “park” out in the hallway).

After tearing the girls away from the wealth of Legos, we went to the Building Zone. Billed as fun for ages 2-6, all four of the kids LOVED this room (my kids are ages 1-9). There were various kinds of blocks to build with (huge Legos, giant bristle blocks, Thomas train tracks) as well as a nice little playhouse that had real! electric! lights! and steps! and a front! porch! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when it was time to leave that place, but Rich and I and my brother were tired of sitting on the toddler-size chairs and keeping Joel from falling down the steps that he insisted on climbing over and over.

When we were done with the Building Zone, the kids burned off some steam running around the huge carpeted Great Hall in the middle of the museum. They worked with Rich and their uncle on making an arch out of sponge blocks.

Although I think most of the other exhibits were way over their heads (we didn’t go in any others which were geared toward architecture and building and looked top-notch), this was a great place for kids to have a chance to play in the middle of a museum vacation. They loved it!

I’m free! I’m freeeeeee!
Look, Mom, I made an arch!
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2 comments to Washington, D.C. with Kids: National Building Museum

  • Judy

    This looks like a lot of fun. We'll definitely have to stop here the next time we go to D.C.

  • Kathryn

    That sounds like a total blast. I love DC but I haven't considered doing it with young kids. Most of the things I enjoy aren't all that kid-friendly. But this sounds perfect for the older two. If I bring a pocketful of candy, it will be perfect for Wanda too.

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