Visiting the Smithsonian with Kids

The attention span of young children can be very short. They may find a security officer, a long flight of stairs, or a decorative foundation more interesting than the exhibitions you had in mind. Visit the exhibitions or galleries that the youngest children want to see first. If you are traveling with preschoolers, plan to spend no more than an hour in any one museum.

Another way to keep children interested is to talk about the exhibition being visited. Encourage their imagination. Ask them to pretend to be that object, animal, or person. Or pick a theme—like animals—and have the children find animals in the museum.

We’ve put together a list of resources you may find helpful before your visit to the Smithsonian.  We hope it includes a performance at Discovery Theater


Visiting the Smithsonian with kids

Visiting the Smithsonian with your students

Encyclopedia Smithsonian – Kids’ Favorites

Dining at the Smithsonian

Group Dining at Air & Space

Group Dining at Natural History

Group Dining at American History

Group Dining at the National Zoo
Call 202.633.4480 or email


Museum & Theatre Etiquette by Discovery Theater Director Roberta Gasbarre

10 Tips for Visiting with Kids

More Questions about the Smithsonian?

If you have more questions about a specific museum or exhibit, please visit or call the Visitor’s Information Center at 202-633-1000.  Discovery Theater staff will do their best to assist you in planning your visit to the theater, but these resources are the most up-to-date if you plan on visiting another museum during your trip.