Low-key Fun with Your Little Ones in the Historic Building
Postal Museum is usually pretty quiet and easy to enjoy the peaceful space without a big crowd and the bustle like some other super popular museums on the Mall. It is located right outside of Union Station. It was the first Smithsonian Museum I went with my baby. Our first time there was when she was about 6 months old. I thought it was perfect for her because the museum was quiet and she was able to enjoy some nap in her sling while I explored this historic building. We still love visiting this hidden gem even at 20 months. She is now a running toddler and it feels very safe to let her roam around anywhere in this museum.
Postal Museum Highlights for Little Kids
Stamp Gallery and the Interactive “Create Your Own Stamp”
Mail-Carrier Airplanes, Cars, and Trains in the Atrium
Interactive Activities in Systems at Work
Storytime on Mondays
(You can get a good sense of the whole museum from this slideshow, too!)
1. Historic Lobby on Level 2
This is where you start your adventure at the Postal Museum. When you enter the stroller-accessible entrance on the 1st Street, you will be amazed by the beautiful historic architecture of this lobby. Look up the ceiling or the old brass private mailboxes in the corridor. Let your kids touch the gorgeous marble wall and tables. The lobby is a total time-trip experience.
2.Stamp Gallery and “Create Your Own Stamp” on Level 2
Stamp Gallery is one of the main regular exhibitions of the museum. It is full of displays of stamps from today and the past and lots of stories about them. It is the world’s largest collection of philately! I wasn’t sure how my toddler would enjoy this, but she had fun finding animals that she knows on the stamps. There are some interactive displays she was able to enjoy as well.
My favorite is “Create Your Own Stamp” activity, where you can get your photograph taken on a computer and design your own stamps. It’s free and you can receive your work through e-mail!
3.Mail-Carrier Airplanes, Cars, and Trains in the Atrium on Level 1
After exploring the lobby and the exhibitions on the 2nd Floor, take the elevator down to the 1st Floor. The atrium is filled with fun objects for your little ones to see and touch!
The atrium is almost like a postal version of Air & Space Museum. (The planes are actually on loan from Air & Space Museum.) There are all types of mail carrying vehicles, planes, horse carriages on display. The mail collection boxes from different countries are also fun to look at.
Everybody’s favorite seems to be this truck! My toddler loves to get on it and play with all the buttons on the driver’s seat. There is also a railway service car with mail sorting system inside of it. It’s a very fun experience for little kids to walk around inside of it.
4. Interactive Activities in Systems at Work
At Systems at Work exhibition, you get to learn about various innovations in the postal history. Obviously, my toddler doesn’t understand any of it, but the way the history is explained here is very visual and can be entertaining for little ones. My toddler loved walking through this exhibition and play with some interactive activities such as package sorting and barcode scanning 🙂
We went to their storytime for the first time when my toddler was 20 months and it seemed pretty age-appropriate. Since it was a Jazz Appreciation Month, the docent read a book about jazz. They gave us a matching game sheet and stickers at the end. After the storytime, kids can play with toys and dress up items such as hats and gowns for mail carriers and it is the cutest thing ever!
Storytimes are currently offered at 10:30am and 11:00am on Mondays but do check the museum calendar for the latest schedule. It is held at the Mezzanine Level. They also have tables and chairs that are perfect for lunchtime with little ones. Stroller parking is offered on Mondays located right next to the information counter on Level 2 (Lobby Floor).
6.Don’t Forget to Visit the Museum Store on Level 1
The museum store is not too big, but they do have some cute stuff for little kids. They also have a post office next to it and they carry a wide range of stamps.
I hope you have a great visit!
Smithsonian National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
10 AM – 5:30 PM daily
Closed December 25
Admission is free
Closest Metro Station: Union Station
Stroller Accessible Entrance: 1st Street side (Right out of the West side exits of Union Station.) or North Capitol Street Entrance via US Post Office
(When museum elevator is out of service, this is the only accessible entrance to the museum.)
See the museum map – Click Here
Check the museum calendar for the latest events – Click Here
Read more about activities for kids on the Hill – Click Here
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