Interested in an extraordinary museum experience?
Washington D.C. is filled with great museums that are worth your time. This one may make your kids forget that it’s a museum.
The International Spy Museum is one of the best museums for families in Washington D.C. I knew my teenagers would love the Spy Museum, but I was worried about keeping my 3-year-old son happy. I shouldn’t have been. As we left the museum he yelled, “That was awesome! I love that place.”
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. My girls loved the interrogation by a Spy Museum employee. They held their composure and didn’t blow their cover.
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.
Tips for your Visit
When you visit the International Spy Museum, here are a few things you should know.
- 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.
- Hungry? Check out Shake Shack, my favorite burger and custard joint, located on the same block as the International Spy Museum. Pi Pizzeria is also very good.
- Love spying? Check out the interactive spy experiences available for an additional fee. Spy in the city is a GPS-guided spy experience in Washington D.C. and Operation Spy is a one-hour spy experience inside the museum.
Ways to save on admission
Admission to the International Spy Museum can add up when you bring the family, but there are a couple of good ways to save. Be aware that kids ages 6 and under always get in free!
First, consider Explorer Pass. You can save up to 35% on admissions if you plan to visit 3 or more included attractions. Explorer Pass includes some of Washington D.C.’s most popular attractions including the International Spy Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and more.
Groupon is another possibility that can save you 30% or more. Be sure to read the fine print and check for blackout dates.
Good to Know
Where: Between 9th and 8th Streets at 800 F Street, NW, Washington D.C.
When: Open daily, except major holidays.
How Much: Check current ticket prices at www.spymuseum.org/visit
- $21.95 adults (12-64)
- $15.95 senior citizens, law enforcement, military
- $14.95 youth (ages 7-11)
- Free for children under 6
- Consider Explorer Pass or Groupon before you pay full price!
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.
How else can we help?
Need a place to stay? Allison has stayed at Kimpton Hotel Madera and Hotel Harrington, which are both within a short walk or Metro ride from most of these attractions. Read her review of Hotel Madera HERE. Check rates and read reviews at TripAdvisor.