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National Building Museum

Indoor $
History Museums, Science Museums, Children's Museums, Birthday Parties, School Trip, Educational, Historical, Touristy
401 F St NW, Washington, DC
URL: National Building Museum  Phone: 202-272-2448

Activity Overview

The National Building Museum is a world class public space with fascinating exhibits "dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning." Family drop-in programs on Saturday and Sundays plus everyday activities that will please kids of all ages. The Building Zone is a wonderful play area for the youngest of visitors ages two to six.

The National Building Museum is located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C., a short walk from the National Mall, the Verizon Center, and Capitol Hill.

The Museum is metro accessible via the Red line (Judiciary Square) and the Yellow and Green lines (Gallery Place / Chinatown).

Things to See & Do

  • Each of the Corinthian columns in the main hall is 75 feet high and made of 70,000 bricks. The building itself, completed in 1881, was built with 16 million (or so) bricks.
  • The Museum’s permanent collection explores America’s architectural heritage through exquisitely detailed drawings; rare, early 20th-century photographs; and original building fragments historic landmarks.
  • Families with children of all ages will find something to explore at the National Building Museum. You may be inspired to construct a fort in the Building Zone (for kids ages two to six) or check out a Family Toolkit to explore the architecture of the Museum's historic home.
  • There's also "Build-an-Arch" where you construct a 7-foot-tall, soft-block arch in the Museum's Great Hall.

National Building Museum Insider Tips

  • There are guided tours led by Museum docents every day.
  • Check the web site in advance — sometimes their main exhibit is more architectural and less kid-friendly.
  • The busiest time is 10 am - noon, so either arrive when the museum opens at 10 am, or come during lunchtime or naptime.
  • It's free to go inside and visit the great hall and they have an interesting gift shop as well. There is an admission charge if you want to see special exhibits.
  • If you are visiting DC on a very hot, and humid day this place is a fun place to cool off. They have a indoor miniature golf course that is really fun and very cool.
  • You can bring your own food, or grab something at the cafe. Bathrooms are clean and inviting.
  • There are all sorts of building materials on the floor in The Building Zone (ages 2-6) - a great place for kids to spread out, get creative and build something extraordinary.

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