Activities & Resources
National Gallery of Art050in Washington, DC 20004
about National Gallery of Art:
Visit the East Building first, as it's the one most kids prefer. The giant Calder Mobile dominating the atrium is an inspiration, plus the shape of the building itself, are enough to get young creative juices flowing. Be sure to pick up the wonderful family guides, available at the front desk, which definitely enhance both kids' (and adults'!) understanding of what's on view.
To get to the West Building, take the underground tunnel (complete with moving walkway). Be prepared to spend less time here than you'd like, but start out at the Micro Gallery, which includes an interactive touch-screen opportunity that lets kids zoom in and out of famous works of art.
Kids love visiting the Sculpture Garden featuring a magnificent reflecting pool and fountain with eight water jets that shoot water high, high into the air. Most of the works here are strictly hands-off, but the exception, Six Part Seating, is fun for kids to climb on. The ice-skating rink is open seasonally.
The National Gallery also offers a variety of programs for children and families. The very popular Family Workshops and Stories in Art fill up quickly, so make sure to register well in advance. Jazz in the Garden presents free concerts in the Sculpture Garden, every Friday evening in the summer. Take a look at the museum's website for kids, www.nga.gov/kids/kids.htm, for upcoming events.
Numerous dining options can be found at the museum including the Cascade Café - on the concourse between the two buildings, with a very kid-friendly view of the cascade waterfall - featuring a menu of soups, made-to-order-salads, specialty entrees, wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fresh-baked desserts. The Espresso and Gelato Bar serves homemade (and really, really good!) gelato, panini, and sweets. The outdoor Pavilion Café, near the fountain/ice rink and with a panoramic view of the Sculpture Garden, serves specialty pizzas, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and assorted beverages. A children's menu is available.
Strollers are available - free of charge - near the check rooms.