Looking for indoor fun for kids without spending a dime? Skip the Smithsonian on the National Mall and check out DC’s newest family-friendly museum, Planet Word. This high-tech museum—the brainchild of a former reading teacher—features hands-on, interactive exhibits that will entertain and engage the whole family. Read on for why this museum should be on your must-see list beyond its can’t-beat admission price.

photo: Planet Word

Speak Up

Words are everywhere. We use them to speak, write, sing and communicate. And in the Planet Word museum, you use them to activate different exhibit spaces. In the Where Do Words Come From? exhibit (pictured above), a 20-foot boldly lit wall of words “talks” about etymology while prompting visitors to participate and communicate through microphones. The messages in this room may be lost on younger kids, but the take away—the power of words—comes across in this dazzling light show.

 

photo: Planet Word

Get Interactive

Many of Planet Word’s exhibits bring the gift of human language to life through interactive exhibits. Enter the museum and you will be greeted by a towering sculpture of a  willow tree. Walk past, and the tree whispers poems and sayings in over one hundred different languages. Get hands at  the Word Worlds exhibit (pictured above) where even littles will enjoy painting with, you guessed it, words, while they transform the space with color and sound. Don’t forget to check out Unlock the Music, another all-age exhibit where you get to star in your own karaoke-style sing-along while learning about the art of lyrics.

photo: Planet Word

Books Come Alive

In this Harry Potter-like library room (pictured above), words leap off the page—literally. This magical room offers a story time like you and your kids have never experienced before! Crack the spine of a book and words dance on projectors, some even include narration. Look for kid-friendly favorites like Alice in Wonderland and The Lorax. There is even a secret library nook where you can listen to poetry.

 

photo: Planet Word

Location, Location, Location

Planet Word is located in Franklin School, most notable for being the site of Alexander Graham Bell’s first wireless transmission in 1880. Take the blue silver or orange metro line; the museum is conveniently located near the 14th St. metro exit at McPherson Square. Can’t make it to the museum? Check out upcoming virtual events being hosted by the museum, like the weekly workshop, “We Love Word Games.”

COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required inside the museum. Free stylus pens are distributed to visitors. There are also a limited number of disposable headphones. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own headphones. Due to limited capacity during COVID, passes should be reserved online.

Hours: Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Cost: Free

925 13th St. NW
Franklin Square; Entrance on K Street
202-931-3139
Online: planetwordmuseum.org

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

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