imagiNATIONS Activity Center

The interactive, family-friendly imagiNATIONS Activity Center provides visitors up to age ten with a multitude of unique learning experiences. Native peoples have always used the natural environment around them to meet their needs, and today many of their innovations and inventions are part of daily life for millions worldwide. Visitors to the center can explore some of these ingenious adaptations through a variety of hands-on activities. Weave a giant basket to learn about various styles of basketry; explore different modes of transportation such as snowshoes and skateboards; sit inside a full-size Comanche tipi to learn about Comanche life and the buffalo; and discover the adaptability of Native architecture.

imagiNATIONS Activity Center Visitors can read books about Native cultures and by Native authors in the center's story room, or create art projects to take home in the craft room. We invite visitors to come and explore!

Knowledgeable museum staff conduct special programs and are available to help answer questions and provide additional resources. Visit the museum's online calendar for a listing of scheduled events and programs.


Things to Do for Infants and Toddlers (ages 2 and under)

Renovations to create an area specifically designed for infant and toddlers up to age two will begin in fall 2019. This new interactive space will introduce babies and tots to the Indigenous cultures and traditions of the Americas.

In the meantime, please visit Cradleboards and Crawlers, our pop-up room where infants and toddlers can practice their motor skills, engage with objects for new sensory experiences, and play! Space is limited; first come, first served.


Group Visits to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center

Available Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, in 30-minute increments (i.e., 10:30–11 AM; 11–11:30 AM, etc.), from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

  • Pre-K to third grade only: All groups, including school and homeschool classes and daycare, camp, or scout groups, are required to schedule entry time to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center.
  • Groups are limited to 30 students per timed entry, with one chaperone for every five students. Five additional chaperones per class are allowed beyond the 1:5 ratio.
  • Group size must be in accordance with the number specified in the confirmation letter. If parents want to bring a student's sibling, the child will be counted as part of the group, and the group will still need to adhere to the 1:5 group ratio or 30-student maximum policy.
  • Booking requests must be made at least 48 hours in advance.

Reserve group entry to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center via online reservation, or by contacting the Group Reservations Office at nmai-groupreservations@si.edu; 202-633-6644; 888-618-0572 (toll-free); or 202-633-6751 (TTY). Group size must be in accordance with the number specified in the confirmation letter. Groups with reservations should enter at the south entrance on Maryland Avenue.

Group policy information is subject to change.