Sometimes in the winter, Natalie will have a couple of basketball games on a Saturday, plus an indoor soccer game. Such a busy Saturday schedule doesn’t give us a lot of time to do fun family things, unless I’m super organized, and happen to be driving the car when a game is over. If I’m in the driver’s seat (literally), I take advantage of the opportunity and steer the car right into DC, instead of towards home—promising, of course, that we’ll be just a couple of hours, and back in time for the next game.
That’s exactly what I did last Saturday. After Natalie’s basketball game, I was driving, Sterling was working on his laptop and Natalie was reading in the back seat, so I just drove into DC. My destination was the National Postal Museum, which I hadn’t been to in years.
We parked in the Capitol Sergeant at Arms (SAA) lot, which is in front of the Capitol facing the Mall. Although we don’t have an SAA permit, it is perfectly fine to park there on the weekends (we once again checked with a policeman nearby—if you’re worried about parking there, just double check with a policeman usually stationed nearby). We then walked a couple of blocks to the Museum.
When we entered the Museum, I have to admit that I didn’t even recognize it—it has changed quite a bit since I was there the last time!
When you enter the Museum, you will be on Level 2. After going through security, I’d recommend visiting the information desk, which is usually my first stop in any museum. At the information desk, they have a treasure trove of activities. There’s a “National Postal Museum’s Scavenger Hunt”, a “Love & Other Disasters Scavenger Hunt” and “10 Things to Check out with your Child @ the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum”. I love how museums are getting so family friendly with different resources!
We picked up a copy of every one of these activity sheets and used them as our guide to help us explore the Museum. One nice thing about the Postal Museum is that it isn’t quite as big as some of the other Smithsonian Museums, which definitely makes it less overwhelming.
Per the suggestion of the woman at the information desk, we started our visit on Level 1. After looking around in the big lobby area on Level 1 and visiting the “Moving the Mail” exhibit, we next went through the “Binding the Nation” exhibit. We followed other exhibits around from there to wrap up our visit of Level 1.
After enjoying exhibits on Level 1, we went up to Level 2 to visit the Stamp Gallery. That was a pretty cool place where Natalie was able to design her own stamp on the computer, and then she was able to email it to herself and her sisters in Utah. They loved it!
So, what is my favorite part of the National Postal Museum? Instead of picking one exhibit, I’d have to say I really loved all of the interactive activities. Even Natalie, who’s 13, had fun with the activities, and I can see how younger kids would too. To be honest, Sterling and I even had fun with the activities. From sorting packages,
to trying to find the best route to send the mail,
to zip code racing,
to creating your own stamp and starting a stamp collection—not many museums are this interactive, and I thought it was great!