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By Lia Hobel & Sharon Pomeroy, CertifiKID Subscribers
Posted Dec 11, 2019
Posted Dec 11, 2019
Located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Museum of the Bible is among the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world, offering visitors of all ages, interests and backgrounds an immersive and personalized dive into the Bible's history, narrative and impact. For its youngest guests, the Museum offers a special Kid's Track version of its Digital Guide, as well an interactive children's exhibit where kids can experience the Bible's stories through fun and interactive games. Plus take a ride on Washington Revelations, a 6-minute exhilarating experience where you fly past iconic D.C. landmarks while discovering biblical imagery and verses!
We sent two of our MOM Squad ambassadors and their families to experience Museum of the Bible. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experience.
Lia: Prior to heading to The Museum of the Bible, my family had no idea what would be in store. We wondered if our 3 and 5-year olds would stay entertained, and we’ll just say the museum did not disappoint! We quickly got caught up in the excitement of the technology that truly brings biblical origins and the impact of the Bible to life.
Lia: On the first floor, there is a virtual reality tour of the “Lands of the Bible”, which took my family on a 360-degree virtual tour with biblical sights and sounds of Israel. My children watched the 9-minute VR tour twice (no line for us, which made it doable)!
Sharon: This is an extra cost of $9.99. If you have ever wanted to tour the land of the Bible or if you have children that want to try out VR, I highly recommend the extra cost. If you have children under the age of 12, you have to sign a waiver. Once you put on the VR, you enter so many wonderful places. You can rotate your chair around so you get a 360 view. There is someone narrating to you and the locations are also listed on your screen. As we were walking out my husband said, "Now we don't need to go to Israel. It felt like I was there."
Lia: The museum is immersed in interactive imagery. The ceiling is continuously changing scenes on the first floor. The elevators to each floor also have screens that reference biblical scenes.
Sharon: There is a beautiful staircase but we wanted to check out the elevators. They have TV screens on all the walls showing different scenes from the Bible, which was very entertaining while we traveled up and down floors.
Lia: Following this virtual tour, we chose to go up to the second floor and go on the 6-minute simulation ride of “Washington Revelations”. My 5-year-old is tall and was able to go on with us but my 3-year old couldn't ride. The simulator felt like something out of Disney. The motion ride delivered on the feeling of flying over Washington and swooping in around the city, with even water spraying and wind. It was a great way to learn about the biblical verses all around our nation’s capital.
Sharon: Washington Revelations is also an added cost of $5. There is a height requirement of 42 inches. If you like Soaring at Disney you will like this ride. You stand and lean against a cushion bar and fly virtually all over DC and they show you all the scripture references. We did learn a lot from this ride, but both my husband and I got motion sick.
Lia: Next, we decided to take a little break, as my youngest was sad he couldn’t ride. The children’s play area, “Courageous Pages” was the perfect fix to lift his spirits! We spent about 45 minutes in there but certainly my kids could have stayed hours. It’s a great place at any point for parents to catch a breather too while the kids have fun. The play space is large (over 2,000 square feet) with about a dozen play areas including a Noah’s Ark jungle. As you can tell from the name, the area is all geared towards courage and is a great way to learn and have fun.
Sharon: We spend a good amount of time playing in the room. Each game and area has a scripture story to go with it. While my children explored and played the games, I read to them what the area was about. They had a touch screen where you could throw boulders at Goliath (similar to Angry Birds). All my kids loved playing the Dan and the Lion's Den game.
Lia: We all enjoyed the “Samson Pillars”, which allowed us to imagine ourselves with super strength as we pushed against two columns (a great photo and boomerang opportunity!) and gave ourselves a chuckle.
Sharon: There is a climbing area and a toddler area for kids 3 and under. No shoes are allowed in the climbing area. Most of the room has padded flooring.
Sharon: After this, we went to the "Bible Now" exhibit. This area is a 360-degree live shot of Jerusalem today that changes from night to day. In the center, you record how the Bible has impacted you. Our kids enjoyed the touch screen tables.
Lia: We then ventured to the third floor, which I recommend spending the bulk of your time. We checked out the story of the Old Testament, which is another immersive experience that walks you through the main storyline in a series of interactive storytelling features from room to room. It takes about 30 minutes. No filming or photographs are allowed, but take our word that the theatrical performances of these shows is a crowd-pleaser! We were impressed and moved by the experience.
Sharon: We finished our visit by going to the New Testament Theater on the third floor. This is an animation of the New Testament. The whole room does go black for a few seconds, so if your child is afraid of the dark, stay close by.
Lia: All in all we spent four hours at the museum. We could have definitely used more time, but the museum was closing. We didn’t leave enough time to explore the last three floors. If we didn’t run out of time we most definitely would have continued on and so would have my kids. We are very intrigued to revisit and continue where we left off.
Sharon: We did take the elevator to the top floor to check out the restaurant and the Bible Garden, but everything was closed because the museum was closing soon. In the map given to us as we entered the museum it says there is a great view of the Washington monument from Level 6.
Getting There and Getting In
Lia: The Bible Museum was very easy to get to and find. We paid for street parking. There was plenty of parking options and we lucked out getting a spot on the street adjacent to the museum. You can also take the Metro exiting at the Federal Center SW Metro Station.
Sharon: We used Goggle Map to get us to the Museum of the Bible. The directions were straight forward and it was easy to find. There is 2-3 hour meter parking all around the building. There is a garage just on the other side of the bridge (3-minute walk) if you plan to stay longer. We went to the Museum on a Sunday, so the meter parking was free and had no limits. The Metro Stop - Federal Center SW - is on the same block as the Museum of the Bible. There were no lines and the check-in was very easy.
You need to have all your items scanned in an X-ray box before entering. While your stuff is in the box you walk through a metal detector.
What Did Your Family Enjoy Most?
Lia: The interactive features as it made the museum exciting for the kids. One of the best play areas too for young children!
Sharon: I really enjoyed the Hebrew Bible walk through experience.
Is There Anything That Could be Improved?
Lia: I really believe they thought of it all. We could even check our coats!
Sharon: Everyone was so nice and helpful. We didn't see anything needing improvement
Recommended Age Range
Lia: My children are 5, 3, and 4 months. My children handled everything fine. You have to be 42 inches for the flight simulator, so my 3-year-old couldn't go on it.
Sharon: My children are 14,10,7. All three of my children enjoyed everything. No one ever asked to leave or go to another part of the museum. My 7-year old did ask if he could go back to the children's area.
Time Recommended to Experience Activity
Lia: We spent 4 hours with a 15-minute snack break at the cafe and 45 minutes in the play area. I could have easily spent another hour or two to complete the museum. I would say plan for at least 4 hours.
Sharon: We were there for 2.5 hours and there was only about 20 other people in the whole museum. I would recommend 3-5 hours if you really want to see everything. We did not go to the part of the museum where the artifacts are because we ran out of time.
Food and Drinks
Lia: There is a cafe and a restaurant. We chose to do a quick snack and coffee at the cafe. There is also a McDonald's and a Starbucks within walking distance.
Sharon: They have a cafe on the main floor and a restaurant on the 6th floor. No food/gum is permitted in the museum exhibits and theaters.
Tips for Families
Lia: Check the schedule on your museum map (or ask) when each interactive activity begins so you plan accordingly.
Sharon: The changing tables are only in the family bathroom, which is not a bathroom, but a room with a sink, chair and changing table. Children 6 and under are free. They do have a military, seniors and student ID pass for $19.99 and a membership that is very reasonable.
Would Your Family Visit Again?
Lia: Absolutely. Even though we spent several hours inside the museum, we could have very well spent more time. Having no crowds on the Monday after Thanksgiving made it all the more worthwhile and enjoyable! With each exhibit, I felt inclined to learn more and wanted to see the next great attraction!
Sharon: We are planning to go again and buy a membership. We just have to go twice and it pays for itself. We still want to check out the other exhibits and return to the children's area. This is a great place for a play date or a meet up with another friend in the winter or rainy season.
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