What is There to Do at the DC Natural History Museum with Kids?

dc dinosaur

This free museum has a lot to offer, including the Hope Diamond. That doesn’t exactly scream toddler entertainment. Is it worth a visit with families? What is there to do at the DC Natural History Museum with kids?

What is There to Do at the DC Natural History Museum with Kids?

1. Check Out the Giant Elephant

2. Visit Bone Hall

3. Walk Amongst the Animals in the Hall of Mammals

4. Don’t Miss the Hall of Fossils

5. Get a Little Creeped Out in the Hall of Human Origins

6. See the Mummies (with Caution)

7. Take the Tweens to the Cell Phone Exhibit

8. Watch the Live Insects Crawl

9. Explore Ocean Hall

10. Look Up at the Giant Shark

11. Play in the Q?rius jr. Area

12. See Dum Dum from Night at the Museum

13. Walk the National Mall

14. Spend the Night

Washington dc history museum skeleton

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What is There to Do at the DC Natural History Museum with Kids?

1. Check Out the Giant Elephant

A 13-foot tall, 11-ton African elephant named Henry has lived at the museum since 1959. Let’s not concern ourselves with his prior life so we can sleep at night.

Location: First floor

natural history museum dc taxidermy

2. Visit Bone Hall

Michael Scott would have had a field day with the name of this area. Despite that, it’s pretty cool.

Bone Hall has a bunch of skeletons, including dogs, cats, giraffes, monkeys, and whales.

Pro tip: The museum has a free Skin and Bones app that you can use to bring the animals to life. This will bring endless entertainment to your child.

Location: Second floor

museum of natural history Washington dc turtle skeleton

3. Walk Amongst the Animals in the Hall of Mammals

The Hall of Mammals has quite a few bronze and stuffed fluffy animals. Some are extinct, while other species lucky enough not to encounter a poacher still exist. Don’t miss the giraffe.

Location: First floor

national natural history museum lion

4. Don’t Miss the Hall of Fossils

The Hall of Fossils is a 31,000-square-foot area full of dinosaur bones, including a Tyrannosaurus-Rex eating a Triceratops and a Saber-toothed cat. This area will be a huge hit with kids.

Location: First floor

Washington museum of natural history skeleton

5. Get a Little Creeped Out in the Hall of Human Origins

The Hall of Human Origins teaches us about evolution. There are some heads that you would not want to encounter alone in the dark and a depressing world population counter.

The highlight of this section is the morphing station. There, a machine takes your picture and shows you what you would have looked like as an early human. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.

Location: First floor

human origin computer

6. See the Mummies (with Caution)

The Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt section of the museum is interesting. It has mummies and tombs. It’s also dark. Death is the resounding theme. There is a DIY demonstration on how to remove someone’s organs and some rather disconcerting photos for young kids.

Decide if your kid will be able to handle and/or ignore the things he or she may not love before visiting.

Location: Second floor

natural history museum dc entrance

7. Take the Tweens to the Cell Phone Exhibit

There is an exhibit about cell phones that will be in place through 2026. It has a multi-wall comic strip about phones and screens with which to play. Any kid obsessed with his or her cell phone will have fun in this area.

Location: Second floor

airplane

8. Watch the Live Insects Crawl

The Insect Zoo has live bugs, including tarantulas. Yeah…

Location: Second floor

handprints

9. Explore Ocean Hall

Ocean Hall has life-sized models of whales, sharks, and many other sea creatures. There are also some whale skeletons. Don’t miss the skeleton jaw of an extinct Megalodon that is bigger than the average human adult.

Location: First floor

natural history museum dc whale

10. Look Up at the Giant Shark

There is a 52-foot, one-ton model shark with a ton of teeth hanging from the ceiling. This is an extinct species of shark, so, fortunately, it’s just a model.

Location: First floor

shark

11. Play in the Q?rius jr. Area

The Q?rius jr. section is a play area with puzzles, microscopes, activities, crafts, and interactive screens. It is only for elementary-aged kids.

Tweens and teens can visit the Q?rius section (not jr.) which offers activities and puzzles that appeal to older visitors.

Note: Q?rius jr. is temporarily closed with no reopening date as of the time of this writing.

monkey

12. See Dum Dum From the Night at the Museum

There is an Easter Island statue that looks a whole lot like Dum Dum who constantly demands gum gum from the Night at the Museum movies. If your kids have seen the movies, swing by and see it.

Location: First floor

easter island statue

13. Walk the National Mall

This is a bit of a cheat because it’s not technically in the museum. However, the museum is located near the National Mall. There, you can view the White House, Library of Congress, and countless memorials from a grassy area where kids can run. There are also great dining options nearby. It is worth spending some time in the area after the museum with young kids.

white house

14. Spend the Night

The museum has sleepovers for kids ages eight to 14. You will have the museum basically to yourself. There are organized games and crafts. Unfortunately, adults have to stay, and you sleep in a sleeping bag. It won’t be the best night of sleep of your life, but it will be an adventure.

skeleton

Final Thoughts – What is There to Do at the DC Natural History Museum with Kids?

What is there to do at the DC Natural History Museum with kids? A lot, particularly when you consider that admission is free. It is worth a visit. Try to arrive as early as possible to avoid crowds for a better experience.

Visit Washington DC with kids. You will not regret it.

what is there to do at the dc natural history museum with kids pin

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