The National Postal Museum might be small but if you have young children, this museum is a must visit museum when visiting DC. It is fascinating!
I was a little worried. A post office museum?
National Postal Museum doesn’t exactly have the same glitz or excitement as the National Zoo or the International Spy Museum or the Air and Space Museum and yet my friend who had lived in the area insisted it was one of their favorites.
It didn’t help that we had been wandering forever in the rain trying to get there or that I had unfortunately decided that it probably wasn’t going to rain when I packed our backpack that morning without our rain gear.
I should have had more faith.
Within moments of walking through the doors of the National Postal Museum we were greeted by friendly faces, shaken out our one tiny drenched umbrella, and my kids were skipping scavenger hunt in hand to the first exhibit.
There is a lot to do at the Postal Museum. I should have known this would be fascinating from our previous field trip to the Post Office, but this was better than I ever could have imagined.
5 Postal Museum Spots You Don’t Want to Miss
1. Scavenger Hunt
You can get a scavenger hunt of kids at the guest services desk towards the right in the first hallway. You can also pick up a map here.
If I’m being honest I knew almost nothing about stamps when we arrived. The scavenger hunt not only gave my kids something to do while we walked around but also clued us in to things that might interest them (and us!) along the way.
The scavenger hunt might be a little over the heads of kids that are under 5, but I would still grab one if you are visiting with younger kids because it will help you find the parts that will most interest them.
2. Stamp Gallery
This was our first stop and my kids thought it was so cool. Just about anything you can imagine has been on a stamp.
What are your kids’ interests? Trains? Animals? Airplanes? Play a simple game of I-Spy to clue each other into the different fun stamps you see around the exhibit.
3. Stamp Collecting and Creation
This is on the main level and was one of the absolute best parts of the museum. My kids each created a couple of stamps on the computers that you can then email to yourself.
You can also browse through the stamps on the table and pick 6 to bring home and start your own collection.
4. Write a Postcard
Before you head downstairs there is a table to write your own postcard. This is a fun writing opportunity and when you get to the bottom of the escalator you can mail it from the post office in the gift shop.
We loved the upstairs so much I was shocked to find how much was downstairs.
5. Explore the Transportation
Mail has been delivered by almost every form of transportation over time and you can explore the majority of them in the open space in the lower level. Kids can climb in a semi, check out a train mail room and more. This was one of our favorite parts.
In just a couple of hours we learned about stamps, how mail is sent, presidents, and so much more about history and writing.
It may not sound riveting, but add the Postal Museum to your next DC adventures with kids. It doesn’t disappoint.
Other things that are good to know:
*The National Postal Museum is part of the Smithsonian so all of this awesome fun is free.
*There are bathrooms with diaper changing tables on the lower level under the escalator.
*The gift shop has lots of fun stuff for kids so either visit or avoid as your pocket book prefers.
*Union Station is across the street and filled with food options if you need something to eat before or after. This also means that it is super accessible by Metro – no wandering through the rain for you!
*My twins are in kindergarten and this was based on their experience (which they loved!) I think younger kids would enjoy making a stamp and exploring all the transportation. Older kids would enjoy the scavenger hunt (I’d suggest 5 and up) and many of the exhibits. There is lots to see and explore for any age.
*You can learn more on their website.