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Touch & Play Children’s Museums


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Children’s museums are an oasis of touch-and-play opportunities for kids and kids-at-heart. Check out our list of local and regional children’s museums below or check all regional institutions here and free and cheap opportunities at fee-based museums here.


Children’s Science Center Lab
11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Ste. L, Fairfax, VA 22033
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (703) 648-3130 | Photo Review

About 11-miles from Dulles International Airport

The recently opened Children’s Science Center Lab precedes The Children’s Science Center, set to open in 2020 in Loudoun County, which will offer interactive and hands-on exhibits, activities, and other programs focused on STEM. The Lab, located in Fair Oaks Mall, provides an educational and fun environment for families and kids of all ages via four interactive exploration centers. The Lab is well-staffed with eager and attentive employees ready to help, educate, and encourage.

Love STEM-inspired museums? Check out our guide to STEM-Inspired Museums & Play Places.


Kids International Discovery Museum
6400 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |(301) 897-5437

About 23-miles from Dulles International Airport

Kids International Discovery Museum at Davis Library in Bethesda, MD offers fun, interactive programs for elementary- and middle school-aged children. Featuring hands-on experiences that highlight science, technology, culture, engineering, art, and math, the Kids International Discovery Museum is a truly enjoyable educational experience! Drop-in for open-explore sessions, such as Interactive Light Painting, Building Outside the Box, and Sonic Electronics, or participate in facilitated workshops to learn new skills.

Visiting the Montgomery County area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.
Love STEM-inspired museums? Check out our guide to STEM-Inspired Museums & Play Places.


Q?rius? at National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (202) 633-1000

About 29-miles from Dulles International Airport

Designed with younger children mind, this interactive space is specifically for children 10 and under. Visitors can explore a variety of museum artifacts such as butterfly wings, rocks, or minerals using a microscope! Little ones can also examine a full-size replica of a human skeleton, try on traditional clothing from around the world, or search for plants and animals on the biodiversity wall! Q?rius?


Wegmans Wonderplace at the National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (202) 633-1000

About 32-miles from Dulles International Airport

Located within the National Museum of American History, Wegmans Wonderplace, specifically geared towards children 6 and under. Little learners will delight over the six spaces of the exhibit, each displaying unique artifacts from the museum’s extensive collection. The farm, kitchen (inspired by Julia Child’s), port, construction site, gallery, and Smithsonian Castle will each provide unique opportunities for children to engage in hands-on and play-based learning.


Be With Me: The Children’s Playseum
7000 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (301) 807-8028

About 24-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Children’s Playseum provides a unique learning and creating an experience for children of all ages. Books and activities are categorized into CityShop rooms, such as the bakery, the dress-up room, restaurants, grandma’s, shopping, farm, pet store, circus, and more. With over 24-theme CityShops between the two locations, there is unending fun for one low admission price! The Playseum also offers birthday party packages allowing children to explore the CityShops with their friends, read during a themed story time, and have a birthday celebration in the bakery. Visit The Playseum’s website for special hours and membership opportunities.

Visiting the Montgomery County area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas


Spark!Lab at National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (202) 633-1000

About 29-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Spark!Lab is where museum visitors between 6 and 12 become inventors! Children are invited to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. Activities for children and families incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, museum, and creativity. Spark!Lab activities are designed around themes that connect to Museum collections and exhibitions. Themes change on a regular basis ensuring that regular visitors have something new to explore! So join your friends daily from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Tuesdays) at the National Museum of American History to become science’s newest hero!


Rose Hill Manor Park & Children’s Museum
1611 North Market St., Frederick, MD 21701
Connect: Online | Facebook | (301) 600-1650

About 45-miles from Dulles International Airport

Rose Hill Manor Park and Children’s Museum presents the living heritage of the property known as Rose Hill from 1746 to 1950. Part of Frederick County Parks and Recreation, the property boasts a historic two-and-a-half story brick house, as well as several child-friendly museums. The Children’s Museum allows for collaborative play and teaches about colonial life while the Carriage Museum displays restored carriages and sleighs from the turn of the twentieth century. Lastly, the Farm Museum exhibits highlight farm living and agricultural trends in Frederick County. Tours are scheduled for these areas, as well as the ice house, log cabin, blacksmith shop, carriage collection, and two barns. The property also hosts birthday parties and other events set to a historical theme.

Visiting the Frederick County area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.


The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum
4 West Main St., New Market, MD 21774
Connect: Online | Facebook | (301) 865-6500

About 50-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum, intended for children ages 3-8, is the brainchild of a former Frederick County educator who sought to encourage learning through playful methods and by engaging all senses. The facility is split into two areas. Downstairs is dedicated to discovery and creativity, where children will become scientists in the Wonders of Water Room, or act as architects in the Engineerium. Upstairs is for dramatic play, with a Nature Nook and Young Readers’ Theater Room. Parents are strongly encouraged to let their children’s imaginations run free and join their children in The Original Playhouse’s-themed rooms to maximize the learning experience. The Original Playhouse has open hours, as well as special events and summer programs.

Visiting the Frederick County area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas


Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum
19 West Cork St., Winchester, VA 22601
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (540) 722-2020 | Photo Review

About 52-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum moved to its new location in Winchester, VA in 2014 and it is still worth the drive! This kid-focused museum features 3-stories of exhibits, including an Encounter Zone, Action Zone, Explore Zone, and Sky Level. Each boasts loads of touch and play areas — with exhibits that encourage problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. Best of all, the kids don’t know they are learning — they just think they are having a great time!

Love STEM-inspired museums? Check out our guide to STEM-Inspired Museums & Play Places.


Maryland Science Center
601 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (410) 685-2370

About 60-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Maryland Science Center is another must-visit for anyone in our region. This science-inspired museum encourages a lot of touching — perfect for children and families. The 170,000-square-foot space boasts many fun permanent exhibits like Newton’s Alley (a kinetic, hands-on exhibit powered by you), Cells: The Universe Inside Us (zoom into your own body to see the different cells that make up your heart, brain, and bones), Dinosaur Mysteries (walk under, over, and through a landscape filled with more than 1-dozen life-size dinosaurs, dig pits, and other areas of discovery), and much more!


Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Pl., Baltimore, MD 21202
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (410) 727-8120

About 61-miles from Dulles International Airport

Port Discovery Children’s Museum, ranked one of Forbes 12 Best Children’s Museums in the US, offers three floors of interactive, educational exhibits and ever-changing programs for children from birth through age 10. Located in downtown Baltimore, MD, Port Discovery offers many permanent and traveling exhibits, many of which are themed around important topics and events. The majority of the Museum’s exhibits and programs are designed for children ages 2- through 10-years old. For children under 2, they recommend Tot Trails, their infant/toddler exhibit, and The Oasis. Port Discovery is also a stroller-friendly Museum with designated stroller parking areas throughout.

Visiting the Baltimore area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.
Love STEM-inspired museums? Check out our guide to STEM-Inspired Museums & Play Places.


Chesapeake Children’s Museum
25 Silopanna Rd., Annapolis, MD 21403
Connect: Online | Facebook | (410) 990-1993

About 61-miles from Dulles International Airport

Helping kids get closer to the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland history, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum is a great stop for fun and learning. Live animals, a docked boat, theatrical costumes, nature trails, and Underground Railroad trails are just some of the activities to keep your child busy while they learn about the local environment. They keep the calendar full with special events and weekly activities such as story time.

Visiting the Annapolis area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.


Discovery Station at Hagerstown
101 West Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (301) 790-0076

About 65-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Discovery Station at Hagerstown’s goal is to promote informal learning about science, technology, and local history through exhibits and programs that are both educational and entertaining. Many of their exhibits are culturally rich and STEM-based. Exhibit topics include aviation, space and beyond, dinosaurs, music, agriculture, and more. Kids won’t know the importance of each exhibit — they’ll just be excited to touch, feel, and play their way through the Museum’s 2-stories of fun!


Explore & More Hands-On Children’s Museum
20 East High St., Gettysburg, PA 17325
Connect: Online | Facebook | (717) 337-9151

About 75-miles from Dulles International Airport

Families will want to check out Explore & More Hands-On Children’s Museum for a unique hands-on experience. Providing developmentally appropriate educational activities and experiences for young children, Explore & More encourages exploratory play within an 1860’s vintage house! Young ones will put their imaginations to work in the Art Room or Construction Zone. Take a step back in time in the 1860’s room, or make new discoveries in the Exploration room and nature area!

Visiting the Adams County area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.


Children’s Museum of Richmond
Multiple locations, click here to connect with each: Richmond, Glen Allen, Midlothian, and Fredericksburg
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | (804) 474-706

Worth the drive, the Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) boasts amazing exhibits and activities that facilitate learning through play. These kid-centric, touch-and-play exhibits allow children to move past the typical museum notion of “look, but don’t touch.” Touching and playing is totally encouraged here! The museum has 4 locations: CMoR Central, CMoR Chesterfield, CMoR Fredericksburg, and CMoR Short Pump. Click here to connect with each and view their exhibits. Voted a Frommer’s Top Destinations for 2014, CMoR is worth the drive!

Visiting the Richmond area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas


Virginia Discovery Museum
524 East Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902
Connect: Online | Facebook | Twitter | (434) 977-1025

About 102-miles from Dulles International Airport

Awarded throughout the years, Best of CVille and Albemarle Family Favorite Award, the Virginia Discovery Museum is a great stop — their mission is to bring young children and families together to engage minds, excite imaginations, and explore the world around them. This touch-and-play museum boasts many exhibits where kids will forget they are learning and just think they are playing! Exhibits include a hands-on replica bakery, a pollination station and bee hive, a post office, a historic replica cabin, and much, much more. Plus, kids will enjoy their Open Studio where they can create a work of art any time they want! Plan your visit around any of their special or daily programs including dedicated story times, arts and crafts, poetry, science, and more.

Visiting the Charlottesville area? Make a day of it with these day-trip ideas.
Love STEM-inspired museums? Check out our guide to STEM-Inspired Museums & Play Places.


Amazement Square
27 Ninth St., Lynchburg, VA 24504
Connect: Online| Facebook| Twitter | (434) 845 1888

About 166-miles from Dulles International Airport

Located in Historic downtown Lynchburg, VA, Amazement Square is a one-of-a-kind hands-on children’s museum. Their main attraction is the Amazement tower — a climbing structure made up of tunnels, slides and zip lines interconnecting all 4-levels of the museum. Kids can also explore their creativity by painting on walls, learning to be a rock-star, dressing up and acting, or putting on a puppet show. Children 4-years-old and under can enjoy make-believe farm life in their “Big Red Barn” or explore a pirate ship in their toddler-focused “Shipwreck Cove.” The museum does not allow strollers, but alternate options and locker service are available. And the fun doesn’t stop there — this 2015 National Medal winner offers after dark fun and food for adults 21+. Check out their website for details.


Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia
5000 Greenbag Rd., Ste. G-12, Morgantown, WV 26501
Connect: Online |Facebook | (304) 292-4646

About 200-miles from Dulles International Airport

Located inside the Mountaineer Mall the Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia offers kids up to 12-years-old hands-on exhibits to explore and discover. Space, weather, nanoscience, the human body, and engineering target children 5-years-old and above. Other exhibits like the “Create Zone” and “Imagination Station” help fire-up their imagination through puppet play, dress-up, and arts and crafts. Younger ones can focus on their motor skills and senses in the Children’s Discovery Museum’s “Tot-n-Toddle” section.


Children’s Museum of Virginia
221 High St., Portsmouth, VA 23704
Connect: OnlineFacebookTwitter | (757) 393-5258

About 203-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Children’s Museum of Virginia is the largest museum in Virginia for children. This two-level learning center offers plenty of hands-on fun for children of all ages. Exhibits include a life-size tugboat, a bubble play area, life-size house, a tot yard, Lancaster antique train and toy collection, and a market area where you can learn how food goes from farm to fork. Be sure to visit their Planetarium for daily shows! Many of Portsmouth’s popular attractions are near the museum making it a perfect place for a day trip.


The Blacksburg Children’s Museum
1470 South Main St., Blacksburg, VA 24060
Connect: Online | Facebook | (540) 953 0103

About 250-miles from Dulles International Airport

This nonprofit, hands-on museum for children is dedicated to nurturing the curiosity and imagination of young minds. Staffed primarily by volunteers who love working with kids, the museum offers interactive activities in science, technology, construction, music, and creative play. The museum often hosts story time on Sundays and other events during the week — check out their Facebook page for updates.


Disclaimer/Terms: These opportunities are subject to last minute cancellations and changes that might not be reflected in this DullesMoms.com post. Please, always confirm by calling/clicking.


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