We took a drive up to Wilmington, Delaware, to visit the Delaware Art Museum. It's about two hours north of DC, but it works for us since it's halfway between DC and Philadelphia, where my sisters live. We found this art museum very charming; it's small but just the right size for a family, with lots of hands-on activities for kids. The exhibits ranged from local historical artists to modern art and sculpture. There's a large British pre-Raphaelite collection, but my kids preferred the pirate paintings of Howard Pyle and the American Art 19th Century-Present room with works by Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper.
The Delaware Art Museum is only open Wednesday through Sunday, so keep that in mind when planning your visit. While admission is usually $12 for adults and $6 for kids ages 7-18 (6 and under are free), we chose a Sunday to visit. All Sundays are FREE! Parking was also free, so this made for a great frugal day trip. You can also get free admission on regular days as a military family through the Blue Star Museums program and free admission for BofA cardholders through the Museums on Us program.
The Kids’ Corner area, a huge room filled with hands-on art activities, was our favorite part. My kids created art using foam blocks, magnetic puzzle pieces, and foam pieces on a peg board. There's also a large library area with comfy seating and a great assortment of kid-friendly art books.
We headed outside to see the Copeland Sculpture Garden on the beautiful grounds. Their favorite was the Crying Giant. We also walked until we found a brick reservoir hiding a stone labyrinth, where they ran off some energy before getting back in the car for the long drive home. This was a great experience at an art museum, a great combination of observing-without-touching and also getting to be active.