In town with a troop of miniature day-trippers? Scope out some of these family-friendly spots, where kids can wander through a room filled with butterflies, seek out treasures in a museum, and ride a carousel on the nation’s front lawn.
The National Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Pavilion (Tenth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-633-8850) allows kids to walk among almost 400 types of colorful butterflies in a tropical garden filled with plants.
Budding thespians will want to take a trip to the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater (1100 Jefferson Dr., SW; 202-633-8700), which puts on a variety of plays that will inspire young imaginations.
The Rock Creek Park Planetarium (5200 Glover Rd., NW; 202-895-6070) runs kid-appropriate sessions every Wednesday at 4 and Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 4.
The National Building Museum (401 F Street, NW; 202-272-2448) has kid-friendly exhibits and a Building Zone specifically for two- to six-year-olds.
The National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-628-6161) puts on child-oriented performances in its Helen Hayes Gallery most Saturday mornings.
The Smithsonian Carousel outside the Arts and Industries Building (900 Jefferson Dr., SW; 202-633-1000) has been a National Mall highlight for young visitors since it opened in 1967.
The National Portrait Gallery (8th St NW & F St., NW; 202-633-1000) regularly hosts a family day with scavenger hunts, stories, crafts, and music.
Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo; 301-634-2222) also has a carousel, along with plays for young audiences at Adventure Theatre and classes on subjects such as drawing, dance, painting, and music.
At the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly; 202-633-1000) you’ll find “learning labs” for kids, flight simulators, hands-on discovery stations, and more.
Animal lovers will delight in a visit to the 21-acre Leesburg Animal Park (19270 James Monroe Hwy., Leesburg; 703-433-0002), which offers a petting area with llamas, bunnies, goats, sheep, and donkeys, as well as pony rides and a children’s playground.
This article appears in our Washingtonian Welcome Guide.