The National Children’s Museum, located at National Harbor, is a harbor for families looking for indoor, interactive play!
After years of planning and construction, the National Children’s Museum (NCM) officially opened on Friday December 14. My crew and I got to test play the new digs at a press preview. I have to say, we will be purchasing a family membership so that we can head there for creative indoor play all winter long!
We enjoyed the 3 and Under Gallery, sponsored by Sesame Workshop, which encourages learning through physical, sensory experiences and creative play.
My big kids enjoyed the science-based learning exhibits such as toy car tracks made of different materials to test their movement and speed, and a real indoor crane to test weights and force.
We enjoyed a child-attention-span-length play in the NCM theater, featuring two actors portraying children on a visit to the zoo.
Then we were off for more play in the Our World centers that introduce children to items found in other countries and cultures. Charlie enjoyed playing open-air buggy driver…
While Eve could have spent all day in the big dress up area trying on kimonos, head wraps and more. Alice enjoyed playing house with the water-tight baskets (and was joined by a favorite Sesame Street friend.)
Now the Sesame Street Live characters pictured in this post were special guests for the museum opening, but NCM officials tell me that the museum DOES own a few Sesame character costumes, and that characters such as Cookie Monster will be making special appearances at events and birthday parties.
NCM will begin reserving birthday parties in January for parties taking place in March 2013. Further details on birthday party packages at NCM are coming soon, and I will post when that info is available.
Schools can begin reserving field trips to NCM in early January for trips beginning Tuesday February 12. Per person admission for groups of 10 or more, reserved in advance, is $8/child, $10/adult, and for every five children one adult receives free admission.
There are also imaginative play areas that American kids like ours will easily recognize in the Our Town sections, such as play voting booths, kitchens, stores, even a fire truck.
Admission is $10 per person, adult or child, and infants 12 months and younger are free. (Scroll down for info on the monthly Free Family Nights.) If you, like my family, are in need of a new indoor play space and plan on attending regularly, the membership levels make sense.
- A Family Membership is $155 annually for up to 6 people and garners you two free single-use museum guest passes for friends, 10% discount on birthday parties and use of the Association of Children’s Museum Reciprocal Network to almost 200 children’s museums across the U.S. and Canada.
- The Just for Two Membership is also a great deal: $75 for free admission for one adult and one child for a full year, plus a couple single-use guest passes for friends.
- You can add an additional caregiver or child to any membership package for $30 each.
- There are additional membership levels that include tax-deductible donations to the Musuem’s annual fund.
- NCM officials assure me that memberships will be not be offered for lower prices on discount websites in the “foreseeable future.”
To secure your NCM membership, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301.392.2400.
The National Children’s Museum will be open seven days per week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Labor Day and Memorial Day, and will remain open two hours later during the summer months with hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (I am assuming that the museum is closed on federal holidays such as Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.)
New Year’s Eve: NCM will welcome 2013 with a “Noon Year’s Eve” on Monday December 31. This all-day (10-5) family party will feature a noon parade, performances in the NCM theater, and New Year’s Eve-style fun.
GEICO Free Family Nights: One evening each month, NCM will be open its doors from 5-8 p.m. with free admission for everyone! GEICO pledged $500,000 over five years to make this monthly event possible. The first one is Friday January 18, 2013.
I hope you and your family enjoy the National Children’s Museum as much as Alice, Eve, Charlie and I did!
National Children’s Museum
151 St. George Blvd.
National Harbor, MD 20745
I attended a press event at the National Children’s Museum, and my family and I have been highly anticipating this opening! We plan on purchasing a family membership as a Christmas present all five of us can enjoy.