FAQ—Visiting with Kids

Find answers below to questions parents and caregivers frequently ask about visiting the museum with children. For general information about the museum such as hours, locations, rest rooms, security procedures, and food service, see our FAQ for visitors and the Plan Your Visit section of the website.

Do you have any hands-on activities available at the museum?

Interactives and interactive spaces have been closed or blocked off to limit the number of high-touch surfaces in the museum. Our hands-on exhibitions Spark!Lab and Wonderplace are closed until further notice. See our COVID-19 statement for more information.

Do you offer any guided programs suitable for families?

We are not currently offering guided tours or other programs. See our COVID-19 statement for more information.

What should we do if we only have an hour to spend?

We offer several self-guided tours of the museum. Each offers highlights from the museum's collections and takes about an hour to complete. A family guide for America On the Move features games, questions, and directed-looking activities to engage young visitors. You may download guides and use them digitally on a personal smart device or print them out for your visit.

How long will it take to visit the museum?

Many visitors find that about two hours is the right amount of time. Take into account your family's interests and needs when arranging your day, and plan to take lots of breaks, especially if you have very young children.

I would like to arrange a visit for a group of school-age children. How can I do this?

For the safety of our visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited. When accompanying children, one adult can chaperone up to a maximum of five (5) children. All children (under the age of 18) must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. While on Smithsonian property, groups will maintain at least 6 feet (2 meters) of distance between themselves and individuals outside their group. See our COVID-19 statement for more information and our Plan Your Field Trip page for additional ideas.

Where can I get more information about visiting the Smithsonian with kids?

First, check our museum's Kids page. Visit the Smithsonian Institution's main website for more information about exhibitions, programs, and services available at other museums.

I still have questions about planning my visit. Is it possible to speak with a staff person at the museum?

Send your questions to us at NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu. A member of our staff will respond to your inquiry as promptly as possible, usually within three business days.

How can I prepare my child for a visit to the museum or keep the excitement from our trip alive once we get home?

You can plan your trip and build or maintain excitement about history through the resources on our website. To learn more about what to expect at the museum, the hours, and location, use the Plan Your Visit page. To explore historical topics before visiting the museum, check out activities and book recommendations on the OurStory website.