frequently asked questions


Science and safety are our highest priorities. The Museum’s COVID-19 health and safety policies are informed by the most up-to-date local guidelines. As champions of science, we will continue to assess the landscape to determine what’s best for our multigenerational community. You may find our current COVID-19 policies on our healthy visit page at any time.
Museum staff and all visitors 2 years and older are required to wear a well-fitting mask that covers the mouth and nose at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Please note, gaiters, bandanas, masks with exhalation valves or vents, and face shields without an accompanying mask do not qualify as proper masks.

A professional cleaning team is on-site during Museum operating hours to clean and sanitize bathrooms, common areas, and exhibit spaces, including frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces (door knobs, handrails, etc.). Bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day. The Museum uses EPA List N compliant cleaners, with our visitors’ safety and environmental impact in mind.

Cleaning will happen before, during, and after visitors enjoy the exhibits during our timed sessions. The time between timed sessions allows us to reset and clean the Museum. During this time Museum facilities, janitorial, and front-line staff will work together to prepare the Museum for the next timed session, including replacing loose parts and manipulatives in each exhibit area with sanitized materials.

Teamwork makes the dream work! Here’s what you should know about the additional policies we’ve established to keep the Museum clean and safe and how you can help:

  • We have added additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the Museum and exhibits.
  • We have added messy toy bins throughout the Museum for visitors to place items that have been dirtied and/or in someone’s mouth. Toys will be cleaned and sanitized for reuse.
  • Museum exhibits have been modified to use easy-to-clean materials or items.
  • Exhibit areas designed for our littlest dreamers (ages 3 and under) are given extra attention between sessions.
  • Our visitors are encouraged to notify Museum staff if an area or object needs attention.

At this time, the Museum is operating with a limited capacity to ensure all guests are able to explore the space while maintaining proper distance from others.

Signage announcing visitor capacities has been installed. Additionally, general distancing markers serve as helpful reminders to visitors throughout the Museum. Museum staff will be stationed throughout the space to assist in maintaining proper distance among guests.

In order to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the Ronald Reagan Building, where National Children’s Museum is located, has upgraded the air filters used in its HVAC system to MERV 13 filters, and has increased the flow of outdoor air into the facility.

We strongly recommend that all visitors, including members, reserve tickets in advance of their visit. Limited walk up tickets are available but not guaranteed. To learn how to secure your tickets, please see below.

If on the day of your reservation a member of your group feels sick, stay home! Please email [email protected] in advance of your ticket time to discuss the possibility of rescheduling due to health concerns.

The Museum is currently offering 2 timed sessions Thursday through Sunday to manage visitor capacity and allow time for our staff to reset and clean the space.

When you purchase your tickets in advance, you will be prompted to choose a time slot. Currently, the time slots are 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

While you may arrive at the Museum at any time during your time slot, your entire visit must take place within your reserved time slot.

No. All of our exhibits are open and ready for play! Modifications to experiences have been made where necessary to accommodate for proper distancing and cleaning.
Yes. For the safety of our visitors and staff, a waiver is required at the time of ticket reservation.
We suggest familiarizing yourself with both our general guest policies and our COVID-19-specific policies, found on our healthy visit page.
Memberships will remain frozen until the Museum’s grand opening on September 2, at which point they will be reactivated. We are so grateful for the continued support of our members as we navigated the challenges of COVID-19 and hope you enjoyed our monthly, members-only virtual events. Please see below for more information regarding memberships.
Yes, visitors will be permitted to leave and re-enter the Museum within their time slot.

general museum information

The Museum will spark curiosity and ignite creativity for children from birth to age 12 while engaging the whole family. Our exhibits support exploration and fun for all ages, including adults! Explore the full list of exhibits here.
The Museum is opening with two time slots from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm Thursday through Sunday. The Museum is closed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in addition to the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The Museum is located in downtown Washington, DC at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, minutes away from the National Mall and the White House. Our main entrance on the Woodrow Wilson Plaza is between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues.

Please note the Museum is adjacent to (not inside) the Ronald Reagan Building and has its own separate entrances and security. Look for our blue awnings!

There are several private garages within close proximity to the Museum. The adjacent Ronald Reagan Building also has a 24-hour public garage. Rates vary per hour.

If you use the Ronald Reagan Building Garage, you can park on any level. Please note, the Atrium North parking area, marked with green signs, is nearest to the Museum.

The Museum is easily accessible by public transportation. We are located steps away from the Federal Triangle Metro station and are just three blocks from Metro Center Metro station. Nearby bus routes include 30N, 30S, 32, 33, 34, 36, D6, and P6.
When you visit, look out for our blue awnings! The Museum’s main entrance is on Floor 2, which opens to the Woodrow Wilson Plaza near the intersection of 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, adjacent to the Ronald Reagan Building.


National Children’s Museum exhibits and programs are designed for children ages 0-12, with the following admission policy:

  • Adults (age 18+) must be accompanied by a child (age 0-12); close relatives of that child age 13-17 are welcome.
  • We welcome individuals with disabilities who will benefit from our exhibits and programs.
  • Parents 16+ are welcome with their own children.

For the safety of all our guests, children must be supervised by an adult caregiver at all times.

Admission for children (older than one) and adults is $15.95. Children younger than one receive free admission. Members can access the Museum for free year-round.

Admission includes all exhibits (permanent and temporary) in addition to pop-up experiences, family workshops, and early childhood programs, when offered.

You can purchase your advanced tickets on our website at nationalchildrensmuseum.org/tickets. Limited walk up tickets are available but not guaranteed. We strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Every Monday at 9 am EST, a new week of tickets will be released and tickets are released 8 weeks in advance. Please reserve tickets for your entire party in one order, as time slots may sell out quickly.

If you are unable to purchase tickets online, please get in touch with us by phone at 202-844-2486 or by email at [email protected], and a member of our staff will be happy to assist you!

The Museum does not offer discounts for individuals (e.g. seniors, military, etc.) or reciprocal benefits but hopes to do so in the future.

To ensure the price of admission is not a barrier for families, the Museum developed its Community Access Program to provide local organizations and the families they serve with free membership.

Tickets are non-refundable and may only be exchanged for a new date and time if you are unable to visit due to health concerns. In such situations, you must request to reschedule your reservation at [email protected] in advance of your ticket time.

infants + toddlers

The Little Dreamers and Little Movers spaces are designed specifically for ages zero to three. STEAM + Storytime programs engage young learners in early literacy and playful hands-on activities.
We encourage parents to feed their children wherever they feel most comfortable. A dedicated Mothers Room, sponsored by Lansinoh, is located near Little Dreamers on Floor 1. To accommodate for proper physical distancing, the Mothers Room is currently limited to one family at a time.
Limited and unattended stroller parking is located on Floor 2 of the Museum, where guests enter. Please fold your stroller to provide space for as many families as possible. Families may also take strollers into the exhibits as long as major pathways remain clear. The Museum is not responsible for lost or stolen items.


At this time, visitors are encouraged to consume food and beverage outside on the plaza and in the building’s food court. Readmission to the Museum will be permitted. Guests are permitted to drink their own water throughout the Museum, and water fountains will be available for use.
A soon-to-be completed Bluestone Lane café will be accessible from both inside the Museum and directly from the Woodrow Wilson Plaza. A food court with additional options is located inside the adjacent Ronald Reagan Building, where our guests can enjoy full access. Please note that in order to access the food court, visitors must go through Ronald Reagan Building security. Readmission to the Museum will be permitted.


Yes! Exhibits within the Museum are physically accessible, including the Dream Machine. We have also designated quiet spaces for neurodiverse visitors. Additional resources, including social narratives and sensory backpacks, are available upon request.
We welcome service animals trained to perform a task for individuals with disabilities.


Must be ages 5 or up­—yes, adults too! Visitors may not climb the Dream Machine with shoes on, and must wear socks. Please note that visitors may find themselves in narrow spaces.


You can learn more about our family memberships here or speak to a Museum Experience Associate at the Museum.

Yes, everyone must reserve timed tickets in advance of their visit. Members can reserve their tickets by navigating to the member reservations section on our tickets page. For any questions on accessing the member portal, please contact [email protected]. Please note, members may be subject to ID checks at time of entry.

Please be considerate of other guests when reserving tickets! One of the benefits to being a member at National Children’s Museum is free admission. While we hope you take full advantage of this benefit, please keep in mind that the Museum is operating at a limited capacity for the safety of all guests. Please only reserve tickets for days you intend on visiting us. If you are unable to attend, please cancel your tickets by emailing [email protected]!

Our family membership includes benefits for two adults and all children in the household and our builder family membership includes benefits for three adults and all children in the household. When you purchase or are gifted a family membership of either type, we automatically collect the name of one adult in association with the member’s online portal. In order to register the names of additional adults on your membership, you must email us at [email protected]seum.org. Please note, members may be subject to an ID check when being admitted to the Museum. IDs presented at the admissions desk must match the name of an adult registered on the membership used to purchase tickets.
Members enjoy a 10% discount in the Museum’s gift shop. To redeem this benefit, members will be asked to show their ticket at the point of purchase.

group admission

Stay tuned! While we are not currently scheduling birthday parties, we’ll be taking requests for fall 2021 and beyond shortly. The Museum will offer two birthday party packages. Reservations will be available on Saturday mornings and afternoons and must be made at least two weeks in advance. For more information visit our birthday parties page.
At this time, the Museum is offering self-guided group field trips. Please reach out to [email protected] to inquire about our group booking rates.
Please reach out to [email protected] to inquire about our availability and group booking rates.


We encourage visitors to capture the magic of the Museum as long as these moments are for personal (not commercial) use. As a courtesy to others, please only take photos of your group.

If you have questions about professional filming or photography, please contact [email protected].

National Children's Museum welcomes requests for ticket donations from schools and organizations with a 501c3 or equivalent status. To learn more about the Museum's donation guidelines and whether your organization or event qualifies, please visit nationalchildrensmuseum.org/ticket-donation/.
Yes! The Museum’s EIN is 23-7423491. Earned revenue covers a portion of the Museum’s operating costs and generous donations make our high-quality exhibits and programs possible.
While the Museum was renamed in 2003 with a designation from the U.S. Congress, it does not receive federal appropriations funding.

I’d like to be in touch! Who can I contact?

For ticketing and reservation inquiries, please email [email protected]

For membership inquiries, please email [email protected] 

For press related inquiries, please email [email protected] 

For general museum inquiries, please email [email protected]