Kid-Friendly Visit: Washington DC International Spy Museum

by Cate on August 29, 2011

Spy Museum - Entrance
For the past six months or so, Nick has been obsessed with spies and espionage.  Fingerprinting kits.  Secret recording devices.  Alarms and the like.  Many items of which made his birthday list earlier in the month.  I have since explained that he can take this newfound interest and parlay it into a career with the CIA, FBI or Secret Service and he was more than a little thrilled .  Which makes me happy.  I would love for him to have a career that he is passionate about, and although his future direction is his choice, even better if he finds something early on and can direct his decisions appropriately to follow that path.

When we were googling things to see in Washington DC for our recent weekend escape, this spy museum was one of the links that Nick found, and given his penchant for all things spy-related, it quickly got added to our must-see list.  All the better to break up the monuments, historical stuff and endless walking.  On this 800 block, there is the spy museum, a cafe and a gift shop, all related and connected.  Is it terrible to say that we completely skipped the museum and opted for the gift shop and cafe instead?  No?  Good.  ‘Cause that’s precisely what we did.  The museum is a little on the spendy side – normally $92 for a family of four, but currently discounted to $65 (no discount for AAA) – and if I thought all four of us would get the benefit, I would have done it.  But there’s a lot of reading, and I knew Madeline wouldn’t be up for it.  I didn’t want to push her, nor waste my money, so we did the next best thing.  We ate and shopped.

Spy Museum - Cafe Sign

Spy Museum - Outside Sign

Spy Museum - Decor

First, a quick stop in the corner Spy City Cafe for cookies, french fries and Diet Coke.  We had already done all our White House and assorted other area sightseeing, so this was a perfect spot to duck in for a few minutes of air-conditioned relief and a quick snack.  They have a light breakfast and lunch menu and pretty decent seating.  The fries were slightly crispy on the outside and soft in the inside.  The chocolate chip cookies were adored by the kids.  I’ve never seen them inhale cookies so fast.
Spy Museum - Food Signs

Spy Museum - Cookies

Spy Museum - FriesSpy Museum - Gift Shop
Afterwards, we headed next door to the gift shop.  That’s where it got hard.  Because Nick both kids wanted one of everything.  And spy gear, particularly one of everything, doesn’t come cheap.  I gave them their budget so they could make their choices a little more judiciously and on their own, and Nick was good at picking at things that were spy-related but slightly useful.  Madeline, of course, went the complete opposite route by acquiring yet another stuffed animal.  While I was there, I discovered this terrific book series for kids Nick’s age, the Capital Mysteries, a collection of mystery books involving most of the Washington landmarks that we visited on our trip.  I thought that would be an excellent way to keep Nick’s interest, since it was a little more relatable visually, and getting him interested in reading is sometimes more than a small challenge.  The book section in the museum is pretty awesome – everything from children’s books to real-life stories of espionage and mysteries in the nation’s capital.  If I didn’t have to get the kids out of the store in the interest of not breaking the bank, I would have definitely poked around more.

So if you’re heading to the DC area and need something kid-friendly (and air-conditioned) to break up your “let’s see the monuments!” walking tour, do check out the Spy Museum, shop and cafe.  Worth a visit for the little spies in your life.

Spy Museum - Windows
Love this picture because it totally looks like one of those fake scenery pieces on a movie set. It just happens to be the outside of the museum, and me looking up to capture the shot.

Spy Museum - Outside

International Spy Museum
Follow them on Twitter here.
800 F ST NW
Washington DC, 20004
202.EYE.SPYU

August 29, 2011 – Bonus Photos

Orange Coolatta - New Favorite Drink
This is my new favorite drink. I’m a fickle sort. I will latch onto a new drink and drink it until I’m sick of it, and then move on to the next new favorite. I’m the same way with songs. Luckily not so much with men. This is the Tropicana Orange Coolata from Dunkin Donuts. I am battling a serious head cold lately and I like to think that the orange juice in this, not to mention the icy goodness, is perfect for what ails me. Mystic says I can rationalize anything. He might be right. But in this case, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne August 30, 2011 at 6:16 am

My brother and I definitely went through a spy-loving phase…especially after reading Harriet the Spy. I know we would have loved this museum!

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sarah August 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

Great photos! That sounds like so much fun. I can’t wait till Will reaches the spy phase.

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Ramona August 30, 2011 at 11:28 am

What fun! Luv the pics.

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Jackie B September 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

This is such a great place to go with the family! How I wish to bond with my niece here. She’ll surely love this spy museum!

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