Yellow Van Travels

Guide to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

In addition the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, their Natural History Museum is also one of their most popular museums. It is great for people of all ages and is super kid friendly mostly because it is like going to a zoo or aquarium. Kids will be able to see their favorite animals and get right up to see them fairly easily.

How to Get to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum:

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum is located, where else, but the National Mall in Washington D.C. It is on the North side of the Mall, directly across from the Smithsonian Castle. It is also located right between Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art.

The closest Metro stops are the Smithsonian, Archives, or L’Enfant Plaza stops. So whichever line you are coming in on, you should be able to find a stop that isn’t that far away from the museum’s entrance.

Like most Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C., the lines are usually shorter and quicker on the non-Mall side of the museum. In the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s case, enter on the Constitution Ave side for the quickest entrance.

Entrance to this museum, like all Smithsonians, is free.


What You Will See at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum:

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum is not as big as you think it would be. It is contained to only 3 floors. If you come in from the back entrance you will be entering onto the basement level where there is a Q?rious exhibit for kids and teens that is super interactive. It looked fun, but we did not participate. From the basement level you can take escalators up to the main level of the museum.

On the main level you will see the famous elephant that greets visitors as they enter through the main entrance and all around the main rotunda. This main level has a gift shop as well tons of animal exhibits. All of the animals you will see here are real animals! They have all been taxidermied  for preservation. It arranges animals by habitat and gives information on each of the animals. There are also a few small hands-on displays throughout this area of the museum.

From here you can take stairs or an elevator up to the second floor. On this floor you will find the Rocks and Minerals exhibit (including the Hope Diamond!), a Bug exhibit and the Dinosaur exhibit. In the Bug exhibit, you will find a butterfly pavilion. This does have a charge for adults and children, but if you go on Tuesdays, it is free. Double check their website for more info.

One of our favorite exhibits that we saw here was the National Geographic Photography contest winners. The photographs were AMAZING and we spent most of our time here just marveling at how these photographers captured nature in such beautiful ways. Sadly this exhibit only on display through September of 2017.


Sum Up:

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum is a great museum for people of all ages. But the Smithsonian Natural History Museum would definitely be a highlight for children and one of the more interesting museums for them to visit. Entrance is free and lines are shorter at the back entrance.