National Museum of Natural History
Constitution Avenue and 10th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20560
Did someone say dinosaurs? T-rex and his pals are all here in this museum dedicated to the natural world. But it takes more than dinosaurs to please some preschoolers. How about lions and tigers and bears in the Hall of Mammals? Or fluttering butterflies in the pavilion? But that’s not all. One of Washington’s favorite places for preschoolers offers even more. In the second floor’s O. Orkin Insect Zoo, familiar creatures like ants and bees are joined by tarantulas and roaches. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Much smaller than than the other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, the Postal Museum is a perfect size for parents and preschoolers looking for fun stuff. Kids can take a seat on a stagecoach, pretend to sort mail and find lots of buttons to push here. At least once per month, the museum hosts special programs for families, such as card making. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1401 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Even though the aquarium looks a little dated and is in an odd location (the Department of Commerce building), it’s actually a fun place for any kid old enough to enjoy having a pet goldfish. Here you’ll find has some of the best stuff for preschoolers and their parents, with a few key perks. One, the aquarium is doable in less than an hour. Two, the aisles easily accommodate even double strollers. Three, you can find Nemo and all his pals, plus alligators, spiny lobsters and sharks. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Rd. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20015
Washington’s largest stretch of parkland offers some of the best stuff for preschoolers. At the National Park Service’s nature center, you’ll find hands-on exhibits, animal puppets and a planetarium. Park rangers can direct you to the paved Edge of the of the Woods trail that winds around to a pond where tadpoles swim in the spring. Nearby stables provide the only place in the city that regularly offers pony rides. The nature center is open Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.