OurKids.com Government Shutdown Guide [Updated]

Updated on Jan. 29.

The Federal government shutdown is over, for now. Regardless, the following places remain open and offer a variety of experiences for your family to enjoy. We invite you to get acquainted with them. You may find some new and fantastic gems!

For the Animal Lover:  The National Zoo’s animals are being cared for during the shutdown, but no human visitors are allowed to watch the animals, who must be getting lonely by now.  While you are waiting for the zoo to reopen, consider a visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Maryland Zoo (offering deeply discounted tickets with the code “winter”), or the Leesburg Animal Park, which is now open year round.

For the Art Enthusiast:  DC’s major art museums have closed, and their family programs have disappeared for the time being.  If your budding artist has a hankering to create, check out the Kreeger Museum’s First Studio + Storytime programs.  The Phillips Collection also has a downloadable Family Guide as well as  well as regular Artful Adventures and Creativity Workshops.

For the Transportation Enthusiast: The trains of the American Museum of History may be closed off to the public, but the nearby B&O Railroad Museum has you covered with trains galore.  Another great alternative is the National Capitol Trolley Museum where kids can learn all about trolleys, take a trolley ride, and watch model trolleys to their heart’s content.

For the Nature Lover:  As of now, most national parks are still open, although they are not being maintained.  There have been reports of parks filling with trash and unusable bathrooms.  As an alternative, consider going to a state or locally run park instead.  DC run parks can be found here, Maryland state parks here, and Virginia State Parks here.  Some favorites are Watkins Regional Park and Clemyjontri Park.

For the History Buff:  It may not be historically accurate, but kids will love stepping back in time with a Medieval Times jousting show and Medieval themed meal.   Older kids might get something out of visiting the Holocaust Museum which is still open.  Visiting Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens is like stepping back in time, featuring artifacts from Mrs. Hillwood’s life as well as plenty of room for kids to roam.  They also have weekly family programs.

The Museum Fan:  Not all museums are closed!  Local favorite the Building Museum is open for business as usual, along with its popular Building Zone for kids.  The Newseum is open and offering free admission to Federal employees during the shutdown.   The US Navy Museum is also open during the shutdown and is worth a visit!  The Maryland Science Center is another good option.  One of the Playseum’s two locations would also make a fun and educational day out.