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International Spy Museum, Washington, District of Columbia: Find honest reviews of this attraction written by real parents on MiniTime, the family vacation-planning website.

International Spy Museum, Washington, District of Columbia

Rating for your family

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is just a couple blocks from the Capital Mall and the Smithsonian Museums. Nearly all the Washington DC family attractions are within a mile or two of each other, so make sure to put this museum on your list. The founder has a real-life espionage background that includes working as a codebreaker during the Korean War. It’s a good choice to add to your family trip plan in Washington DC if your group includes kids who know how to read, since reading is a major component of the fun here.

Exhibits at the International Spy Museum are highly interactive. They include a “secret mission” where you and your family assume the identities of spies and piece together facts. You can even crawl through air ducts to complete your task! Add-on assignments include GPS-based missions that incorporate off-site attractions. Another portion of the General Exhibition includes props from famous spy movies. If your family enjoys James Bond or Mission Impossible, then this is definitely the place for you!

The International Spy Museum also houses some notorious historic artifacts, including a pistol lipstick, eyeglasses with hidden cyanide pills and a camera concealed in a cigarette case. The KidSpy program offers a revolving selection of fun things to do, and the museum also schedules frequent lectures by real-life spies and other espionage insiders. The gift shop is especially cool, complete with gadgets for covert ops at home, hard-to-find games and movie-themed collectibles.

Before you head to the International Spy Museum, there are some important things to keep in mind. Unlike many museums in DC, there is an admission fee. However, some of the on-site lectures are complimentary. Add-on assignments, like Operation Spy, are a little extra. A nice thing to know is that it’s a super-convenient place to visit because of all the hotels nearby the International Spy Museum. Operation Spy takes about one hour, while touring the General Exhibition takes about two hours. If you’re seeking to avoid crowds, visit on a weekday. There are no strollers allowed in the general exhibition, but the staff provides baby carriers for the duration of your visit. Some displays might be a bit mature for little folks, so consider reviewing the exhibits online to decide what’s appropriate for your visit. Finally, the International Spy Museum’s hours vary almost daily, so make sure to check online or give them a call before you head out.

Tips for Families

Special exhibits and tours incur additional costs. Combination tickets available.

Address. 800 F St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004

| Map
Phone. 202-393-7798
URL. Hours. Mon-Sun 9 am – 7 pm or 10 am – 6 pm. Holiday and seasonal hours vary. For additional details, check schedule. More Info Price. Adults & Children (12+): $18; Children under 12: $15; Seniors: $17; Military & Intelligence Community: $17

Family Trips that include International Spy Museum

Recent User Reviews

Toronto, Ontario

My overall rating:

My ratings by kids age

Big Kids (6-8) and Tweens (9-12)

Get your spy on

My kids loved this museum. Whereas most museums have only a bit of hands-on action, this one allowed them to assume and identity and become a spy. They had a blast crawling through tunnels, trying to remember their secret identities and learning to send secret messages

Tips for Families

The younger your kids are the less you are likely to get out of this visit. There are a lot of boards to read and it is probably best suited for middle school kids.

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I Spy. A Museum?

The Spy Museum is one of Washington D.C.’s best kept secrets. If you are looking for a day filled with trickery, espionage and plenty of spy facts, this is the museum for you! Unlike other museums because it truly is interactive. The tour starts out by having visitors choose an "identity" to assume for the tour. Guests then proceed to see s Briefing Film which we found to be a little dry. The exhibits are well laid out and offer many surprises such as hidden cameras, secret weapons and unique spy gadgets. My son loved climbing in a make shift heating vent so that he could "eaves drop" on a suspect. The Secret History of History chronicles the history of spying and The "Spies Among Us" shows real-life spy stories. The children see how real life spies hide themselves in cars and other places. The exhibit ends with a collection of famous spy memorabilia (Pink Panther, I Spy, To Catch a Theif) which was of interest to my husband as well. We all enjoyed this visit as it featured something for everyone. After all, who doesn’t like imagining a thrilling international spy life!

Tips for Families

The beginning can seem a little long but be patient, the museum is worth it!

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My Kid’s Review

My son said "The next time your child says. "Oh, another Museum? What a drag!". Just tell them about this one."

Clever, Interactive Museum Full of Gadgets and Gizmos for Espionage

Walk into Washington DC’s International Spy Museum and adopt your own secret agent cover. The museum was one of the most clever and interactive our family has experienced, but, in a city where many of the attractions are free, this one requires an admission. Tons of artifacts illustrating the various technical aspects of spycraft – bugs, disguises, cameras, and weapons, sure to intrigue the kids. There are also pop culture movie and TV props from the entertainment world. You can easily spend half a day at the museum.

Tips for Families

Ticket prices range from $19.95 for adults (ages 18-64), $14.95 for seniors (ages 65+), and $13.95 for youth (ages 7-17). Children ages 6 and under are free. Keep an eye out for discounts. I was able to use a Groupon discounted ticket for only $10 for an adult. So keep your eyes open for specials.

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OK, so who is the mole?

While not one of the many interesting and FREE museums that DC has to offer, this one is a bit more commercial than the block of Smithsonian Museums. That being said, it was certainly the one the kids yelled the loudest for. Admission isn’t cheap but figure on getting your money’s worth. Even for accompanying adults, you can’t help but ”get involved” as a spy and there are some interesting things to see and learn about. Plan to spend an hour or two, depending how thorough your little spies are in their researching and playing the game. It moves along well with good flow control by the staff.

Tips for Families

Make sure you carry enough $$ to get in. Eat and use the ”facilities” before playing the spy game. Easy to lose sight of the little ones, so keep tabs on them should they run off, it can get pretty dark in there.

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