This past weekend we visited the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. With two little ones, the Natural History Museum has always been a favorite, and we’re definitely blessed to have such great museums–free, no less!–so close to us. The exhibit is a new part of the permanent collection, joining the ever-popular dinosaur room, the very realistic mammals room, and, of course, the gemstones, including the Hope Diamond.
We went early in the morning on Sunday (well, around 10:30 by the time we actually got there!) and the crowds were definitely manageable. By that I mean, plenty of room for our stroller, but also room enough that we were comfortable letting the kids walk around by themselves with us following right behind them. (Sometimes it’s so busy, particularly in the dinosaur room, that I wouldn’t set the kids down for a minute.) There’s nothing too scary in the exhibit with the exception of one small video being shown on killer whales hunting seals. It’s tucked away in the corner, behind the giant Megalodon mouth, and definitely to be avoided for little kids. Or any soft-hearted seal lovers, really.
As always, bring your own snacks and water–they will let you in with them as long as you are discreet–as the food in the museums is on the pricey side. A much better option is to bring your own sandwiches and have an impromptu picnic somewhere on the mall, or, as we discovered on Sunday, in the lovely Smithsonian Castle Gardens.
We stuck to a very manageable three hours, and still saw the whole Oceans exhibit, the mammals next door, and made a quick run into the dinosaur room. In one morning we saw sharks, whales, giraffes, “cute, tiny!” mice, and tyranosaurus rex–which made for two very happy little kids.