Interested in an extraordinary museum experience? The International Spy Museum is one of the best museums for families in Washington DC.
I knew my teenagers would love the International Spy Museum, but I was worried about keeping my 3-year-old happy. I shouldn't have. As we left the museum he yelled, “That was awesome! I love that place.”
The International Spy Museum has moved to a new location in L'Enfant Plaza since our visit, but it's still one of Washington DC's most popular paid museums, with many of the same high-tech and hands-on experiences.
Here's our experience at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC.
What to Expect
The top floor of the museum features exhibits about the history of spying, interactive computer displays, and many cool spy gadgets such as a lipstick pistol and the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger. The lower level is an entire exhibit dedicated to James Bond.
The International Spy Museum appealed to our entire family. At the beginning, everyone selects a spy “cover” and memorizes the details of their new persona. Exhibits throughout the museum question your cover and test your memory of details about where you were born, how old are, where you are traveling, etc.
While my older girls were busy maintaining their cover, my younger kids loved playing with the spy gadgets. We listened to bugged rooms and overheard conversations in other rooms, crawled through duct work like real spies, and watched the James Bond car come to life.
On the lower level, we loved the James Bond exhibit. We loved cracking the code at the Spy vs. Spy exhibit and attempting to diffuse an atomic bomb. The hands-on activities throughout the museum kept it interesting for kids of all ages.
Related: 3 Days in Washington DC With Kids
Tips for your Visit
When you visit the International Spy Museum, here are a few things you should know.
- Spring Break and Summer bring crowds. You can visit museum exhibits in any order.
- No strollers are allowed. Strollers may be left in the Coat Room and baby carriers are available to borrow at no charge.
- Shop in the Spy Museum store. If you like gift shops, this one is excellent and worth a few minutes to pick up souvenirs at the end.
Get more tips from the museum's official site at www.spymuseum.org/visit/tips-for-visitors.
Ways to Save
Buy online at the official website. You'll save $2 on each adult ticket (ages 13-64).
The International Spy Museum is included in the Go Washington DC pass. If you're also interested in Mount Vernon or a Big Bus Tour, this pass can save you a lot of money on these activities. Click the button below to learn more about Go Washington DC at gocity.com.
Related: Review of the Go Washington DC Pass
The International Spy Museum is a cut above most museums – even the amazing Smithsonian museums in Washington DC. The high-tech, interactive exhibits are so fun that your family may forget you are at a museum. But, it's still educational.
Our family had a great time at the International Spy Museum. We hope that our experience will help your family decide if it's right for you.
Good to Know
Where: 700 L'Enfant Plaza, Washington DC. The L'Enfant Plaza Metro stop and paid parking are available nearby.
When: Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, except major holidays.
How Much: Adult tickets cost $24.95 (ages 13-64). Kids ages 0-6 get in free. Check current ticket prices at www.spymuseum.org/visit
Save money on admission with the Go Washington DC pass when you bundle the International Spy Museum with other popular activities.
How Long: 2-4 hours
Amenities: gift shop, coat check and stroller parking, bike parking
Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to The International Spy Museum for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.