By Micaela Williamson
After years of preparation, the National Children’s Museum finally opened its doors to the public on Dec. 14, 2012 in National Harbor, Md. The museum is geared towards young children and hopes through its mission to “inspire children to care about and improve the world.”
The physical museum encompasses one level and is divided up into different exhibit areas. The 3 & Under gallery is designed in partnership with Sesame Workshop and boasts a large climbing structure to enhance gross motor skills, sensory infant zone, pretend play opportunities and a separate arts and craft room. The rest of the museum is part of the Our World theme and includes a Map Zone, My Town and World Cultures. The Map Zone features interactive maps for children to discover about distance, climate, natural resources and cultural diversity. My Town demonstrates how humans connect in their own community and contains interactive exhibits such as a pretend pizza parlor, fire truck, campaign headquarters, kid’s bedroom and a freight loading zone. The World Cultures area celebrates diversity and is currently set up like a Tanzanian marketplace. World Cultures also comprises of a dress up zone, global kitchen and exhibit on homes and shelters throughout the world. In addition to the main exhibit areas, the museum also contains a 130-seat theatre which will host various performances throughout the year.
The National Children’s Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. between Labor Day and Memorial Day. During the summer months, it will remain open until 7 p.m. Standard admission is $10 per person, and under age 1 is free. Special group rates and memberships are also offered. The museum is located at 151 Saint George Blvd., National Harbor, Md. 20745. Plenty of street and garage parking is available in the surrounding area. In general, the museum is best suited for children under 8.
- There is no food or drink allowed in the museum. Patrons can take advantage of the many local restaurants and eateries that are within walking distance.
- NCM will begin offering private birthday parties beginning March 2013. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org starting on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 to reserve a date for your party. All birthday party packages include admission for 20 people, two hours of private party room usage, a staff party host and more special perks will be announced soon.
- Be sure to check the online events calendar for a schedule of special performances and activities.
- No school groups/field trips will be scheduled on Mondays.
- Due to the museum’s affiliation with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) Reciprocal Network, families with a Family Membership level can gain free access to nearly 200 other participating children’s museums around the country. Visit the ACM website to learn more.
National Children’s Museum
151 Saint George Blvd.
National Harbor, Md. 20745
Micaela Williamson is the creator of www.supernovamommy.com, a popular, local blog that focuses on Northern Virginia families and events. Her website was recently voted “Best Blog 2012” in Northern Virginia Magazine. Micaela enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.