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National Children’s Museum - Washington, DC



National Children's Museum

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The National Children's Museum - Washington, DC opened a new facility at National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland in December 2012. The museum is a cultural and educational center with exhibits and activities that focus on the arts, civic engagement, the environment, global citizenship, health and well being, and play. The mission of the National Children’s Museum is to inspire children to care about and improve the world.

The Museum is opening in two phases: An 18,000 square foot indoor experience is currently open. See Photos of the National Children's Museum. The 60,000 square foot outdoor experience is projected to open in Spring 2014.

Sesame Workshop Partnership

The nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street will have a permanent home in the museum. As part of the partnership, Sesame Street and its characters, through interactive exhibits, educational video segments and books, will be integrated in to select events and programming. Sesame Workshop will collaborate with the National Children's Museum on content development and program creation for both the indoor and outdoor experiences.

Indoor Experience - Open Now
  • The 3 & Under Gallery - designed for infants and toddlers under 3 feet tall, will feature Sesame Street characters and themes including a baby crawlers area, tactile experiences to learn hand/eye coordination, a climbing structure, a global lunch truck, a sensory water bed and gross- and small-motor play areas. There will also be arts and crafts and storytelling areas.
  • Our World - geared to children over the age of 3. The Map Zone will include a “Pack Your Bag” exhibit with airport related exhibits showing that people travel around the world for various reasons. In My Town, exhibit components include a freight dock/shipping yard, store, school, campaign office, home, fire station and a pizzeria. The World Cultures area will feature a world market, with rotating country programming, homes and shelters around the world, a kitchen area highlighting world foods and stoves, an interactive clothing store, arts and crafts, transportation, and a language area.
  • A 130-seat theatre will engage visitors in entertaining programming and presentations.
Outdoor Experience - Projected Opening in Spring 2014

The year-round outdoor experience will include opportunities for children of all ages to explore, imagine, create and grow. Some of the highlights will include:
  • “Pinwheel” generators that will offer cooling breezes on hot sunny days, teaching important lessons about sustainable living.
  • A vegetable garden will give families a chance to get their hands in the dirt and participate in maintaining and enjoying a working garden.
  • Supervised play areas will include spaces for children to design and construct a fort; engage in imaginative fantasy play; and learn about aquatic environments and water-powered energy sources.
  • A large, open amphitheater will offer a place for children to create and watch theatrical productions and special performances.
151 St. George Boulevard
National Harbor, Maryland

National Harbor is a mixed-use development accessible from I-95/I-495, and I-295. It is within minutes of Downtown Washington, DC and Old Town Alexandria, VA.

See a map and directions to National Harbor.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission: $10 per child or adult, admission is free for infants age 1 or younger.

Museum History

Founded as the Capital Children’s Museum in 1974, the museum served local families for 30 years in northeast Washington DC. The facility closed in 2004 and plans began to create a nationally-recognized cultural and educational institution designed especially for children. The National Children’s Museum has been operating as a “museum without walls” by serving the region through community and school outreach programs, traveling exhibits and partnerships with other organizations. The museum has been raising money to build the new facility at National Harbor. It will be funded by a mix of private and public sources, including Prince George’s County, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the State of Maryland.

Website: www.ncm.museum

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