Touch & Play Children’s Museums

By DullesMoms, Nov 2015

Children’s museums are an oasis of touch-and-play opportunities for kids and kids-at-heart!

Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
About 11-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Children’s Science Center, located in Fair Oaks Mall, invites visitors of all ages to enjoy STEM-focused fun! At a variety of centers and zones, as well as a hands-on experiment bar, kids will learn science, technology, engineering, and math concepts through touch, feel and play! // Updated Dec 2019

Kids International Discovery Museum | Bethesda, MD
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.

Q?rius? at National Museum of American History | Washington, DC
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 | Washington, DC
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 | Chevy Chase, MD
About 24-miles from Dulles International Airport

This indoor play destination is set-up to look like a kid-size city where children explore, discover, and play in uniquely-designed city shops! From an art room and grocery store to music and make-believe, kids will enjoy exploring more than a dozen city shops! // Updated Dec 2019

Spark!Lab at National Museum of American History | Washington, DC
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 | Frederick, MD
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.

The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum | New Market, MD
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.

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum | Winchester, VA
About 52-miles from Dulles International Airport

Located in the heart of historic Winchester, VA, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is worth the drive for Northern Virginia families! This kid-focused destination features 4-stories of exhibits, each boasting loads of touch-and-play areas that encourage problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. Best of all, the kids don’t know they’re learning — they just think they’re having a great time! // Updated Dec 2020

Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
About 60-miles from Dulles International Airport

The Maryland Science Center is a must-visit — this STEM-inspired museum encourages plenty of hands-on exploration, perfect for children and families! Guests of all ages are invited to enjoy 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 (a landscape filled with more than one dozen life-size dinosaurs), and much more! Plus, don’t miss their planetarium, special events, and even an IMAX theatre!

For young kids, the museum also has a dedicated, gated room complete with a Chesapeake Bay themed water play area! There’s even an area for kids under two, where infants and toddlers can crawl around squishy waterbeds, look at brightly colored books, and play with big soft blocks. // Updated Jan 2020

Port Discovery Children’s Museum | Baltimore, MD
About 60-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.

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

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