I will admit that it never occurred to me to visit Madame Tussauds in Washington DC until they reached out to me.
In this town of free admissions to some of the best museums in the world, why would I pay to visit a collection of wax figures? Is not that place simply for tourists? Even when in London I have never had the desire to check out the original Madame Tussauds.
But in the spirit of blogger journalism and a feeling of obligation to at least try this family-focused attraction in my area, my crew and I headed down one Saturday in May.
I was skeptical. I readied myself for the cheese.
But what I was not expecting was how much my children would enjoy it, and how much Madame Tussauds piqued their interest in history!
At Charlie and Eve’s elementary school, the fifth graders traditionally host an American history “wax museum” in which the students dress as historical figures and provide short oral histories in character for the other students. So Charlie and Eve were already familiar with the wax museum concept, and as kids who visit museums monthly, they are seasoned exhibit viewers.
Immediately Charlie, Eve and Alice all captured the spirit of fun history that permeates Madame Tussauds. With big smiles and loads of enthusiasm, these sometimes less-than-enthusiastic kids had dropped any disaffected tween airs and were shouting to me to take their pictures.
Mind you, these are kids who have been bugged by their mom to pose for photos for my blog for the last seven or so years. I will confess that I often have to promise money and treats and make tasteless jokes to get them to smile in front of attractions. But at Madame Tussauds the children were initiating the photos. All of the pics in this post were posed by the children themselves, even the ones featuring me and my husband Chris.
Charlie and Eve read the didatic placards on their own, both for the figures they recognized and ones they did not. Chris and I left the kids to explore at their own pace. Visitors are allowed, even encouraged, to touch the displays, so it was a relief to relax at a museum with kids (especially three-year-old Alice) and let them paw everything.
I was impressed that the Washington, DC location focuses mostly on American history and makes an effort to represent culturally diverse American figures. There are all 44 Presidents in the Presidents Room and a Civil Rights Room featuring Dr. King, Rosa Parks and more. The Media Room also feels educational and very “DC”, featuring television journalists, perfectly posed to “interview” their living guests. The Sports Zone will be a hit with your young sports fan, allowing Caps fans to take a pic with Ovechkin or play catcher to The Babe.
The only room that lived up to my preconceived notions of cheese was the Glamour Room, but I will admit it was fun to snap pics with reproductions of Beyonce, Justin Bieber and more pop culture icons.
The museum is smaller than I expected and we finished our tour in less than one hour. The kids thought this was the perfect amount of time, and all children remained whine-free.
In short, give up your cultured cool and give Madame Tussauds Washington, DC a try. Your kids will love it and they will learn. After logging hours with your kids in front of our town’s Degas, Cassatts, Hope Diamonds and Wright Flyers, I think you will enjoy embracing (literally) those manufactured wax figures of history.
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Disclosure: My family was provided with tickets and more for giveaway. No compensation received. All opinions are my own.