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October 2, 2008

New oceans exhibit at the Museum of Natural History: Our review

Filed Under: Washington, DC


So yesterday after pre-K, I took my daughter to check out the big new oceans exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History - and it totally lived up to the hype! The exhibit is beautifully done, incorporating many types of media, realistic full-size models of some of the most amazing creatures, and loads of preserved specimens of the craziest-looking fish and sea life you didn't know existed. My four-year-old was fascinated by the exhibit, and we're so glad we made it downtown sooner rather than later.

Among our faves: The large tank of live coral reef and the colorful fish native to that habitat. (My daughter and some other girls her age squealed with delight at the "Nemos" and "Doris" in the tank, and Ava had to be dragged away after a good 15 minutes of hogging the best view.) Also the 24-foot-long giant squid suspended in a fluid-filled tank and the 45-foot-long North Atlantic right whale model hanging overhead the gallery. And the huge shark jaws. And I really appreciated the volunteer docents available on the exhibit floor - They were so friendly and shared fun facts, as well as some hands-on models, with the kids.

I will say that the exhibit was more crowded than I'd expected for a Wednesday afternoon in October - BUT, it just opened and it's been getting some much-deserved press coverage. In our experience, the crowd was manageable and did not take away from the fun. But I do suggest going on a weekday, or early in the morning when the museum doors open on weekends (10 a.m.).

Must see to appreciate. And plenty of eye-level marvels for young children. This is one of THE best things about raising kids in Washington, DC - So many museums, and so many of them FREE! Enjoy them to the fullest.

photo credits: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution

Posted by Sarah at 2:21 PM.