It's always nice to curl up with a good book at home but even more special to find cozy places for reading outside your home. Besides local libraries and area bookstores, there are many hidden book nooks around the city. Many of our area museums have specially designed areas for kids where they can take a break from the hands-on activities and escape with a book to prevent sensory overload. Here are some hidden gems around our city where you and your little one can read books about a favorite theme or just take a breather before going back to explore the rest of the museum.
When little legs are exhausted from climbing through KidWorks and the interactive exhibits have lost their charm, take a break and find a quiet spot to snuggle up with a story in The Oasis. The Oasis is just that: a quiet room where there is ample space for reading a book together. Stop in at 11:30 a.m. every day for Daily Circle Times featuring stories and singing for young visitors.
While Brookside Gardens is more reknowned for the beautifully landscaped open spaces where kids can freely roam to admire flora, fauna, turtles, and Canada Geese, it's nice to take a breather in the Visitor's Center Children's Classroom. The Discovery Benches are stocked with hands-on activities, educational games, puzzles, and lots of books. The carpeted room lets in a lot of natural light and with gorgeous vistas of the Children's Garden, it isn't long before little ones want to return to the outside. Please note that the Discovery Benches are staffed and open, based on staff availability.
You may go to the National Building Museum with the intent to use the giant Legos in the Building Zone, but at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month, museum staff conduct read-aloud story times as part of their Book of the Month Literacy Program in the Book Nook. Books explore construction and building themes—like patterns and city planning—and celebrate cultures around the world. If you happen to miss the Book of the Month programming, there are still plenty of building-themed books available for reading in the Building Zone during your visit.
With a room full of experiences that delight the senses of curious kids of all ages, it's easy to miss the book nook at the end of the x-ray tables where kid-friendly science titles abound and are great for a respite from the hustle and bustle of rest of the museum. The often quiet space is truly a treasure within the Museum of Natural History.
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Finding places to explore, learn, and engage as a family in the Washington DC area is easy. From museums to monuments parents have choices in every direction. What about places where a family can go to play, where the parents can take a deep breath a... read more