This museum is the Hidden Gem of Smithsonians and definitely the "easiest" of the Smithsonians with kids! Excellent hands-on exhibits and the largest collection of stamps in the world. And the museum is right next to Union Station which makes it perfect for metro, parking and dozens of food options from Shake Shack to Chipotle!
Table of Contents
- Hours & Address
- Metro and Parking Tips
- Food In and Around the Museum
- Babies and Toddlers Guide
- Elementary Age Guide
- Teens Guide
- Gift Shop Alternative
Hours and Admission at the Postal Museum in DC
- Hours: Open daily from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM except for December 25.
- Admission is FREE and no passes are required.
- All Smithsonians require full security screenings (like at an airport, but you can keep your shoes on!) Do not bring sunscreen in an aerosol can or food or drinks other than water.
- Located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE which is right next to Union Station.
Validation Booth inside Union Station right by Postal Museum
Getting to the Postal Museum DC
One of the reasons the Postal Museum in DC is so family-friendly is that it is only a few steps away from Union Station!
I highly recommend taking the Metro to Union Station on the Red Line is located right next to the museum. See www.wmata.com for schedules, maps, and trip planner. Many buses also stop at Union Station.
If you choose to drive to the museum, attached to the back of Union Station is a huge parking garage which you access from H St. NE. Parking is around $7 an hour. You can validate for half off the first 2 hours directly inside Union Station from the garage.
Food Options Near the DC Postal Museum
There are dozens of food options (and shopping!) at Union Station steps away from the museum! The full directory is here. Some of our favorites with kids are below:
- Shake Shack Chipotle
- Dunkin Donuts
Babies and Toddlers Guide
Can't Miss Exhibits at the Postal Museum DC
- Mom Tip! Go to the Welcome Desk and ask for the 10 Fun Things to Do with Kids brochure and map!
- The World of Stamps exhibit is, surprisingly, so exciting! It is on the Main level right across from the welcome desk in the historic lobby. At this exhibit, you can create your own stamp design and email it to yourself, make a stamp collection, and even take home 6 historic international stamps to start your collection!
- Next, take the escalator or elevator to the lower level and explore Trucks, Trains, and Stagecoaches in the Mail Call atrium! Toddlers will love climbing behind the wheel of a semi-truck or inside a train. Tons to explore and learn.
- Finally, end in the Systems at Work exhibit teaches about the process of sorting and delivering mail. Fun hands-on activities include sorting mail, tapping out the zipcodes, and scanning packages.
- If you're running out of time...For this age range, I would recommend skipping all of the main floor galleries other than World of Stamps.
Strollers, Feeding, and Diaper Changes
- Check their Events page for Story Times including bilingual story times!
- Strollers are not as difficult to maneuver in this museum compared to other ones as there are fewer crowds. However, there are tons of hands-on activities so active toddlers may want to just roam!
- Wonderful large and clean restrooms located are located on the lower level behind the escalators with changing tables.
- Nursing: There is a bench outside the restrooms that is out of the way of heavy traffic that might be useful.
Elementary Age Can't Miss Exhibits at the Postal Museum DC
Mom Tip! Go to the Welcome Desk and ask for the 10 Fun Things to Do with Kids brochure and map.
The World of Stamps exhibit is perfect for this age! It is on the Main level right across from the welcome desk in the historic lobby. At this exhibit, elementary-age kids can create their own stamp design (including pictures!) and email it to themselves, make a stamp collection, and even take home 6 historic international stamps to start your collection.
Next, take the escalator or elevator to the lower level and explore the Binding the Nation exhibit which includes a walk through a dark forest to learn about the Pony Express. Kids can even climb inside the stagecoach with an interesting surprise inside.
Finally end in the Systems at Work exhibit on the lower level, which teaches about the process of sorting and delivering mail. Fun hands-on activities include sorting mail, tapping out the zip codes and scanning packages.
Teen Guide - National Postal Museum DC
Think stamps can keep the attention of your teens? I was skeptical but when we visited the World of Stamps exhibit, I saw tons of teens getting into all the activities. It is on the Main level right across from the welcome desk in the historic lobby. At this exhibit, kids can create their own stamp design (including their picture!) and email it to themselves, make a stamp collection, and pick out 6 stamps (super old and international!) to take home to start their stamp collection.
Next, go to the back of the Welcome Desk for free vintage postcards to maybe send to their friends the super old-fashioned way.
Go down the escalator or elevator to the sun-filled atrium for some great Selfie Spots including behind a semi-truck, huge train, and a stagecoach.
Finally, the Behind the Badge exhibit explores the US Postal Inspection Service with cool exhibits including spotting fraud and other mail scams, identifying crime suspects by matching crime-scene fingerprints, and analyzing crime scenes.
Gift Shop Alternatives at the National Postal Museum DC
A great substitute for a visit to the gift shop is to pick up some of the free postcards behind the welcome desk in the main lobby. Toddlers will be proud of their scribbles and you'll have a memory!
Also, don't forget to grab a copy of the museum's free Scavenger Hunt from the Welcome desk on the main level and work to complete the 9 missions! Maybe a smoothie at nearby Union Station can be their reward.