Global Living with Kids in Tow

A Day At The National Building Museum, Washington D.C.

A Day At The National Building Museum, Washington D.C.

Every time I move back to D.C., I get the urge to do the museum circuit all over again. Is it that I really love natural history? Don’t get me wrong – I do.

Washington D.C. undoubtedly has the best network of museums, parks, and cultural activities in the entire country. The Smithsonian Institute runs 20 museums in the area to include the National Zoo, most free to the public!

But it always comes back to the kids, amiright? My son is now two years older than he was the first time he visited many of the greats and either A) can’t remember them or B) can experience them in a whole new light.

It really does serve as an endless source of affordable activity with children.

This weekend, we explored the National Building Museum on F St NW. It’s one of those places that are great to visit when you’re in need of a solid indoor activity.




I was happy to observe that even though we visited in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday, it didn’t seem at all crowded. Perhaps this is a credit to the enormous scale of it all. Most of the patrons were families with children and the average age seemed to be 2-6.

The great hall area is open and filled with giant marble columns and natural light.

What does all this mean to a kid? LOTS OF ROOM TO RUN AROUND.

There are two main exhibits designed specifically for kids.

great hall


Play Work Build

Built on the concept of learning through play, children (and adults!) can discover engineering concepts through their own creations. After a small display of construction toys, children have the chance to build their own creations with full-sized blocks that have the capacity to change their entire environment.


A playing


Building Zone

Specifically designed for ages 2-6, the Building Zone is an interactive playroom in a social environment. It is an environment that encourages imaginative play through many different avenues.

building zone

dress up


Museum Details

The Building Museum is actually not included in the Smithsonian’s network of free museums, but rather is a private nonprofit organization.

You will need to purchase tickets for General Admission to the exhibits as well as sign up for a time slot to play in the Building Zone.

The museum is located on F St NW and can be across the street from the Judiciary Square station on the Red Line of the metro.

The museum also provides free wifi throughout the building.

There’s even a café in the building that serves drinks and high-quality snacks, not just your average crusty croissant. There are tables in the great hall to enjoy your refreshments while the kids run around the enormous space.

Another clue to verify that I’m solidly in my 30’s, is that I was impressed by the museum’s eco-friendly waste system. While it’s becoming more common to see recycle bins in public places these days, there are compost bins here as well. Yay, compost!

Excellent gift shop. Ya know, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

street view


Birthday Parties

Maybe it’s just that I’m a mom of a young kid now, but I’ve found myself always on the hunt for a good birthday party spots.

I actually observe this now.

The rooms reserved for parties are large and spacious and look like they’d be great for large groups of kids who just ate a lot of cake.


In the end, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. is an excellent experience for younger children. Is it the most critical thing to see in this enormous city? No, probably not. But it is definitely one of the more kid-friendly activities available.


Thanks for reading! If you liked this, make sure to also check out these others from Bambinos!



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