Whenever we visit my sister, who lives just outside of Washington, D.C., we try something new. There are so many museums and historical places to visit. I doubt we’ll ever run out of something new to try there!
So when my sister suggested visiting the National Building Museum, I was not excited about it. The museum is wonderful for children, but we had actually been there twice before. My sister assured me that this visit would be a completely new experience than our previous visits, which were over 2 years ago.
Since our last visit, the museum has added two fabulous kid-friendly exhibits in addition to their preschool building area. Each exhibit could have been a new experience in itself.
Before we got started on the New Experiences, we visited the Building Zone with my sister’s family. Technically, the area is for children ages 2-6. Luke was too old for a few of the activities, but children of all ages love blocks. He entertained himself by building with some interconnecting panels and reading a book about the construction of the Empire State Building. Leah absolutely loved the magnetic building tiles. She built a tower that was nearly as tall as she is!
We said goodbye to my sister’s family and walked over the newest exhibit, a 9 Hole Miniature Golf course designed by prominent Washington, D.C. architects and contractors. This was not your average miniature golf course. All of the holes were cleverly designed, and some of them seemed nearly impossible. We all had a blast trying to figure out the best way to putt the ball. I don’t remember what the par for the course was, but I am pretty sure that we were not even close. Even I had to hit the ball at least 6 times to get it into the hole!
Next, we walked to the Play Work Build exhibit. I thought the miniature golf would be hard to top, but this exhibit was just as much fun. After looking at a few ordinary building toys, we walked into a room with a huge light table. There were small blue blocks with which we could build whatever we wanted. The kids sat down for a few minutes and tinkered, but they couldn’t wait to get to the next room.
The last room of the exhibit was filled with the same blue blocks they had in the previous room, but they were giant-sized. The walls were lined with the blocks so that the kids could build structures that were attached to the walls.
At first I helped them with a building. It was fun, but I wanted to see how they would do on their own. The blocks were unwieldy, so they needed to work together to build their “fort”. There was some arguing and lots of laughing as their fort grew in size. They could have stayed in that room all day if I let them!
I was ready to leave the museum, but we heard loud drums coming from the atrium. On Sundays the museum hosts a concert series. We were treated to a performance of an African dance company. It was unexpected and a great cultural experience for all of us.
After we watched for about 30 minutes, we were ready to leave again, but a woman offered to give us a demonstration on how arches are built and why they are so strong. It was meant to be informative for the children, but I learned a lot from her 5 minute demonstration.
Finally, we were ready to leave for the day. My sister was right, our trip to the National Building Museum was truly a New Experience for all of us.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also like: