With its wealth of child-friendly offerings and treasures that span the centuries and the globe (and beyond), the Smithsonian is the ideal destination for Washington-area families.
Now, the Smithsonian Associates has a few surprises and sparkling new events in store for both kids and adults. We've listened to families who've asked to make it easier to enjoy a Smithsonian experience by offering performances on weekends and holidays, and special programs and activities where the whole family can take center stage.
Let's get moving! This series features rockin' dance party concerts for youngsters ages 2–6, with music by some of the hottest bands and performers on the kids' scene. Our friends at the local Virginia coffeehouse and music club Jammin' Java are experts in children's musical entertainment, and we're joining forces to bring the best in family-friendly music to your favorite Smithsonian destination, Discovery Theater.
There's plenty of room on the dance floor to shake, shimmy, and get down in energetic kids' style. And parents can connect as they enjoy a complimentary cup of Jammin' Java coffee and grown-up snacks.
Who it’s for: Children ages 2 to 6.
When it happens: September through June
See the full list of TOT ROCK: Jammin' at the Smithsonian programs.
Discovery Theater is the perfect place to introduce the youngest Smithsonian kids to live performance, music, and movement. The Heritage series covers seasonal celebrations; the Science series and Meet the Museum series cover topics at locations around the Mall; Wee Speak makes learning languages fun; and captivating puppets tell tales both new and old.
Grade-schoolers will find much to enjoy in original productions and programs that use theatre to connect them to new ideas, places, people, and skills. Stories of adventure, history, exploration, and science come alive in Discovery Theater’s signature mix of learning and entertainment.
Discovery Theater programs are great for both school groups and families.
Who it’s for: Children ages 2–11; an appropriate age range is provided for each show.
When it happens: Discovery Theater’s season runs from September through July.
Learn more about offerings for families and school groups at DiscoveryTheater.org
Who could resist the chance to roll out a sleeping bag beneath a 50-foot whale? That’s exactly what young participants and their grown up companions do when they come to the Natural History Museum for a Smithsonian Sleepover. The great museum is theirs for a night that begins with fun activities from tours and games to crafts and even an IMAX movie…and ends dreaming under Phoenix the whale.
Who it’s for: Children ages 8–12, accompanied by an adult.
When it happens: May through August.
Learn more about the Sleepover activities and what to bring at SmithsonianSleepovers.org.
Know any future astronauts, animators, astronomers, actors, artists—or zookeepers? They’d love the Smithsonian Summer Camps. Choose from more than 80 half- and full-day camps that invite kids to expand their knowledge and hands-on skills in a whole spectrum of fascinating topics. All of the Smithsonian becomes Washington’s coolest learning lab as campers pursue their favorite interests and develop new ones.
Who it’s for: Camps are offered for children entering K to grade 9; each camp has a designated grade range.
When it happens: Each summer
Learn more about this year’s camps on the Smithsonian Summer Camp website.
We’ve got amazing programs for young people all year round.
The Smithsonian Associates’ family programs make the Smithsonian the place for kids to play and learn. They offer smart choices—in every way—for families looking for engaging and affordable ways to expand young peoples’ horizons and spark their imaginations.