Kids adore the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History. That exhibit hall tends to be more crowded in the morning. You may want to start upstairs with the Hope Diamond and the insects before taking on the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Start your own treasure hunt at the National Gallery of Art. Pick up a "Less Than an Hour" brochure at the museum entrance, and let your young ones discover Van Gogh's Self-Portrait and the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Western Hemisphere. It gives a quick overview in bites small enough for beginning art critics.
photo: For a kid-centric place, explore the past, present, and future of flight at the National Air and Space Museum.