Embark on a covert mission at the International Spy Museum. Children age 12 and older can put their spy skills to the ultimate test in the thrilling interactive exhibit "Operation Spy." For the more timid visitor there are plenty of exhibits to keep you interested - the museum has the largest collection of international spy artificats ever placed on public display. Prepare your children for mission success by visiting the KidSpy Zone on the museum's website ahead of your visit. $$. Washington, D.C. Spymuseum.org

Prepare to be signed, sealed and delivered to an afternoon of fun at the National Postal Museum. This Smithsonian museum takes visitors on an exploration of America's postal history and philately from colonial times to the present. Step into a World of Stamps to see the world's first stamp and learn how stamps have honored people and places worldwide. Don't forget to say "hello" to Owney, the official mascot of the United States Postal Service. Free. Washington, D.C. postalmuseum.si.edu

Take a trip to the beach without leaving downtown D.C. at the National Building Museum. Spanning across the museum's Great Hall, the BEACH, covers 10,000 square feet and includes an "ocean" of nearly one million plastic balls. Whether you're "swimming," resting by the "shore" or enjoying a snack from the concession stand, you'll love enjoying a day at the beach without the pesky sand. $$. Washington, D.C. nbm.org

Spend an afternoon traveling through time at Woodlawn Manor Museum. The 19th century estate, which is thought to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad, provides an engaging experience for children to learn about the agricultural practices, technological advances and cultures for the people who lived in and around the estate. FOr those looking for a more refined experience, the museum regularly hosts special event teas. $$. Sandy Springs, MD woodlawnmanormuseum.com

Explore architecture at Building Zone in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. In this gallery, children are encouraged to build towers, drive construction play trucks and try on hard hats and tool belts. Kids can even go inside a life-size custom-built green house. $$. nbm.org/exhibitions-collections/ exhibitions/building-zone.html

Let your child explore the hands-on exhibits designed specifically for kids at the National Children's Museum at National Harbor. The museum has educational exhibits suited for children age 8 and younger. Children can interact with Sesame Street characters through the museum's partnership with Sesame Workshop. $$. ccm.org

Participate in hands-on science activities at the Koshland Science Museum in Washington, D.C. On weekends, the museum hosts engaging programs about energy, aging and memory. Guests can explore the Earth Lab, Life Lab and Idea Lab through a selfguided tour or an in-depth facilitated tour. If you can't make it to the museum, some exhibits are available for online exploration. $$. koshland-science-museum.org


Arts al Fresco
Family Fun
Planes and Trains
Historic Sites
Water Fun
Unique Museums
Culture for Kids
Animal Encounters
Nature Discovery
One-Tank Trips
County Fairs and Parades