What's a kid to do in DC this summer besides visit the monuments, memorials and museums? That's what we're here to tell you. From museum sleepovers to being a TV reporter, we've gathered up the summer's most fun things to do, all for the kids. Here’s what’s on our list.
Conquer the BIG Maze
Find your way through the “BIG Maze,” a mystifying labyrinth located inside the majestic atrium of the National Building Museum. This isn’t your grandma’s hedge maze or corn maze, the BIG Maze stands 18 feet tall at its height and is 61 feet by 61 feet.
July 4-Sept. 1; ticketed attraction
National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
A Real Night at the Museum
You may have seen the Night at the Museum movies, well now you can experience them in person with this one-of-a-kind, summer sleepover courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Kids ages 8-12 (and their chaperones) can spend a night at either the National Museum of American History or National Museum of Natural History and explore exhibits, solve a mystery and watch a movie.
Various dates from May-August; $135 per person or $120 for members
National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560
Espionage at Mount Vernon
Mystery and mischief abound at Mount Vernon, the home of first U.S. President George Washington. Decode messages, interact with invisible ink and spot double agents, all as part of an 18th century intelligence lesson in Spy Training at Mount Vernon. Get briefed and go on a mission (Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.) or use the self-guided Mount Vernon Spymaster Adventure Map.
Through July 6; $8 for kids ages 6-11; $17 for adults and kids ages 12 and up.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22121
“Be a TV Reporter” at the Newseum
You’re on in 3, 2 and 1 … rolling! Get your feet wet in the world of on-air news reporting at the Newseum’s interactive “Be a TV Reporter” display. Record your own news segment in the NBC News Interactive Newsroom and then watch a clip of your broadcast at newseum.org/myvideos.
Permanent exhibit; $23 for adults; $14 for kids 7-18
(Get free admission for up to four kids 18 and younger with purchase of an adult or senior admission, July 1-Sept. 1*)
Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
CSI Summer Camp
Kids ages 12 and up can do their best crime scene investigation routine at Crime Museum’s CSI Summer Camp. This hands-on experience will have your kids in the lab looking for evidence and taking crime scene photographs.
Week-long sessions July 14-18, Full-day session, July 28-Aug. 1, one day session TBD; starts at $250
Crime Museum, 575 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
Become a Curator of American Art
As a complement to the Made in the USA exhibition at the Phillips Collection, kids and adults are encouraged to design their own American art exhibit with the museum’s interactive uCurate gallery. Select the works you are most drawn to and display them on whichever walls (or ceilings) you think make the most sense. Start curating today online or in person and submit your gallery for a chance to win prizes.
Through Aug. 31; $12 for adults, $10 for students, free for kids 18 and younger
Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Think you have what it takes to be a spy? Go to the International Spy Museum and spend an hour on Operation Spy, an interactive exhibit where you play a spy and have to do everything from decode audio messages to escape from a high-security compound. The museum also has two limited-time exhibits on display, The Americans (through July) covering the FX television show based on real-life Soviet spies who were sent to live in America, as well as Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains (through December 2014).
Daily; $14.95 for just Operation Spy or $27.95 for combo ticket with access to museum afterward. Kids ages 12 and up.
International Spy Museum, 800 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
Like clockwork, every night at 6 p.m. a new performer takes to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Acts run the gamut from live local bands to spoken word poets and everything in between – all within the stunning Kennedy Center, where you can also find the flag of your home state in the Hall of States (or nation in the Hall of Nations).
Every day; free
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566
Weekend with Science
The Koshland Science Museum offers weekenders a chance to think critically with its Hands-On Science program. Budding researchers and scientists will explore various scientific marvels, such as putting your memory to the test, understanding the effects of aging and more.
Weekends; $7 for adults, $4 for students
Koshland Science Museum, 525 E Street NW, Washington, DC
Reach Monumental Heights
Get the best view of the city from 500 feet off the ground with a Washington Monument tour to the top of the obelisk. After a two-year hiatus due to repairs from an earthquake, the monument is set to return to its regularly scheduled programming and then some … the National Park Service will now conduct evening tours.
Daily from 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; reserve tickets required.
Washington Monument, 2 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007