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How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Favorite Museums in Juneau, Alaska and Washington D.C.

September 24th, 2010 by bsmith | Filed under Alaska, Washington DC.

Saturday September 25th is Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.  Households throughout the nation can download a coupon good for two free entries to participating museums.  Museums are always a favorite stop during my travels.  I love learning about the history and culture of the region I’m visiting.  More and more museums are offering kid friendly exhibits to engage your little ones as well.  On this busy Friday, I have to get studying for a test, but I wanted to take a few minutes to share some museum favorites from my summer travels. 

Washington DC 

International Spy Museum Washington DC

International Spy Museum 

The International Spy Museum is so top secret, they won’t let you take photos inside the museum!  It was eleven year old boy heaven with James Bond cars and plenty of concealed weapons.  I loved the section on female spys.  We sprung for the Operation Spy Experience  and are so glad we did!  Justin enthusiastically took part in this covert operation simulation.  It’s for ages 12 and “up”, but they didn’t “card” our very tall eleven year old. 

In the International Spy Museum gift shop I discovered two fascinating books George Washington, Spymaster and Harriet Tubman, Spymaster that teach kids about US History in a thrilling way. 

National Postal Museum 


National Postal Museum, Washington DC

I stumbled upon the National Postal Museum while waiting to meet a friend at Union Station.  It does a great job sharing the history of the US postal service and has some fun and quirky exhibits.  I also like the small scale of this museum.  You can see the whole thing in about an hour, and it doesn’t overwhelm like many of the Smithsonian museums.

Postal Museum Mailboxes, Washington DC

Juneau Alaska 

After my Labor Day visit to Juneau Alaska, I’m determined to return and visit with the kids next summer.  This beautiful capitol city has plenty of kid friendly museums to escape the frequent rain showers.  Best of all admission for kids is free at most Juneau Museums!  Here are three museums that I enjoyed on my last visit: 

Alaska State Museum 

Mining Exhibit Alaska State Museum

 If you want a great overview of Alaska history and culture this is the place to go, from a charming collection of dolls crafted by native Alaskan artisans to Sarah Palin paraphenilia, the Alaska State Museumhas it all!  There is a children’s area as well as kid oriented activity  such as a scavenger hunt availiable for the rotating exhibit. 

Juneau Douglas City Museum 

Children's Area Juneau-Douglas City Museum


I almost passed up a visit to the Juneau Douglas City Museum, but I am so glad I stopped by.  It is a beautiful kid friendly hands on little museum.  Highlights include a rotating children’s exhibit and an interactive multi-media exhibit produced by local Juneau students.  Be sure to stop by if you have young ones in tow! 

Last Chance Mining Museum


Last Chance Mining Museum Juneau Alaska

 This hidden gem as a highlight of my trip to Juneau.  The Last Chance Mining Museum  is brimming with old mining equipment and guarded by a friendly fuzzy white dog.  I loved Ms. Renee the curators single rule, “Touch anything you want, just don’t drop it on your foot!” During the summer local kids act as docents.

 Still trying to decide which San Diego Museum I’ll be heading to tomorrow.  Have a great weekend.

Happy Trails,


PS For more  on my DC adventures, check out my Mount Vernon with Tween  post on Uptake.

PPS Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursdays.  Stop by to discover some amazing family travel blogs.



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