Natural History Museum

elephant at Natural History Museum DC

The elephant in the rotunda at the Natural History Museum

Something about walking into museums makes my kids tired. And I have to admit there is something about museums that makes me tired, too. Maybe it’s the slow pace of walking. Maybe it’s carrying a bag or coat. Or it could be the mental energy we’re using as we soak up the exhibits. Or maybe we lock our knees as we stand on the hard museum floors. Maybe it’s just all the standing. Whatever it is, I know that museums can be tiring and so I’ve tried to figure out how to keep everyone going in a museum.

Even the Natural History Museum, which is one of our favorites, can be tiring. There are lots of great exhibits that interest kids (and adults), so you’ve got to have a plan when you head into the museum to know which exhibits you’re going to visit. When I have a plan, we walk faster and have a purpose—so there is less complaining about how tired everyone is.

One of the last times we visited the Natural History Museum, we decided that we’d come up with our favorite three exhibits—we’ve been there so many times, we are familiar with all of the exhibits. And that way, when friends ask us which exhibits to visit, we’d have an answer.

So, here are our top three (ok, four) of the permanent exhibits:

The Hall of Mammals
The Insect Zoo
The Butterfly House (there is a charge to go in this)
The Hope Diamond

I know for some of you the dinosaur exhibit may be a must see. With all girls, I never had a dinosaur lover. Some of my all time favorites have been the temporary exhibits—so check them all out before you go. Here’s a link that lists the current exhibits (permanent and temporary).

The IMAX at the Natural History Museum has some great movies, with many in 3-D. Plan your IMAX movie for the end of your visit to the museum. Usually by that time, we are tired and just about ready to be done. An interesting movie is a fun way to rest, but also wrap up a visit to a great museum.