Children’s Playseum (DC)

Friday November 11, 2011
Be With Me Children's Playseum

Be With Me Children's Playseum

545 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 2003
Website   ~   Map Link

Indoor Space Rating:

Located in:
Good For:
Park Features:
Play Space Amenities:

Bottom Line:  Very fun indoor playspace. Parking can be a challenge, entrance fee is $6/pp. 4/5 stars (minus a star for parking challenges and price)

The Review:

We finally had a chance to visit the Playseum in Washington DC last week and what a fun place it is!

The DC location is the second installation of the Playseum concept — the first opened in Bethesda in 2009.  Both locations are nice, but I prefer the DC destination.   Things to know up front:   parking is a pain — there is limited street parking around the museum that cost $1.50/hr with a 2 hr max.   Several blocks away (South on 8th St, towards the SW Freeway bridge) there is a parking lot that is supposedly not usually full and only costs $0.75/hr.

The Playseum costs $6/pp for everyone over 10 months.  For a mom of 3 like me, this makes for a fairly expensive outing. However, your entrance fee is good for all day, so you can always leave for lunch and return, getting lots of bang for your bucks.

Once you are in the Playseum, there are more ways to spend money — you can purchase “Playseum Dollars” ($1/1) which allow your child to purchase upgrades — like a chance to frost and decorate a real cupcake or purchase a craft item to paint.   Kids can have tons of fun without spending extra — I just told my kids upfront we were not spending for any add-ons and they knew better than to complain.

There is a designated eating area that you can bring in your own food, however, on weekends this space is reserved for birthday parties.  There are also snacks available for purchase.   Bathrooms and changing tables are available on both levels.

The DC space seems much bigger than the Bethesda location and has an elevator.  However, there are some raised thresholds (near the stairs) which may make it a little challenging for wheel chairs (I believe strollers are left in the front).

We visited on a Friday afternoon, after the big kids got out of school and it was not crowded at all. I recommend going during an off-peak time if you can swing it, keeping up with your kid(s) can be more challenging in a crowd.

I tried to take pictures of every space, even so, I think I missed stuff.   My kids loved the Pet Shop and the many many different dress-ups located all over the space.   We had a great time, and I’m sure your kids will too!

Each room is themed, many with either local landmarks or with (sponsored) local businesses.   I took a ton of pictures, so without further ado, here ya go!







Have you been to the Playseum?  What’s your opinion?

Disclosure Statement:   I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.

13 Responses to Children’s Playseum (DC)

  1. 1
    Grandma says:

    What a fun place that must be! Too bad they didn’t have anything like that when Mike and Karen were little. Makes me want to go!!

  2. 2
    Micaela says:

    This was the most helpful review of the Playseum that I have found! I am so glad you had ALL those pictures and discussed the “add-ons.” I’m sure my 5 year old will be asking about those too!

  3. 3
    Cman says:

    I plan to check out the place tomorrow. Found this blog while go-ogling info. Any affordable eating places nearby (besides the typically fastfood places)?

    • 3.1
      Kendra says:

      I am not real familiar with that area — perhaps others can weigh in. Most of the eateries in the immediate area are more casual upscale vs. fast food. We brought our lunch in when we visited. Have fun!

  4. 4
    Cris says:

    I found that one way to avoid the parking hassle is take the metro. It’s 2 blocks from the eastern market blue line. My 3yr old loves metro and trains so we took it and he loved just getting there.

  5. 5
    Kelly says:

    Unfortunately, it looks like this place went downhill since you’ve beent there. We went today and I had a totally different experience. Yuck! Unsafe! Horrible! The toys were old and dirty, most were broken and none had batteries. I would NOT recommend this place to anyone. The rooms are tiny with no space for the kids to actually play. The toys are missing pieces and everything is messy. It looks like they gathered up a bunch of used toys from tag sales and tried to create a theme with them. The costumes are dirty and torn. The market area is full of used containers that are dirty. For example, there was a rinsed out juice container with duck tape on the cap. The container was still wet on the inside. The milk jug had white crusty chunks around the lid. Yuck! The cash register didn’t have batteries or play money. There was 1 bag to use at check-out. It looked like it had been dragged through the mud and left out to dry. Disgusting! There are nails that poke up all over – on the stairs, on the kid’s stage, etc. Very dangerous. The balls are all dirty and a few of them were even wet and sticky. There was only 1 lightbulb that worked in the sports room and it flickered which gave a really creepy feeling.

    It looks like this place has never been cleaned. The farm room and courtroom smell like dirty diapers because there is a diaper pail nearby and who knows when it was emptied last! There is dust everywhere. They DO have several things to purchase throughout. Those are neatly organized on shelves and most are clean and dusted. The electrical outlets are exposed, except for the one that had an air-freshener plugged in. Don’t waste your time or money on this place.

  6. 6
    Betty says:

    I don’t know when the last time you visited this place but it has really gone downhill. I suggest don’t worry about parking, just don’t go! The place has not been cleaned in ages. The balls are all deflated and sticky from who knows what. Some of the lights are out,making the tiny rooms dark and unsafe.That little riding car you picture, there is no place to ride it. In fact we had to pick it up to turn it around.The costumes are torn and have stains and are dirty!! Nails are sticking up on the stairs, the carpet is a trip hazzard by being so rippled.Toys are broken leaving sharp edges, puzzles are missing pieces. The market is awful, no room to move,broken register,dirty left over boxes from someones kitchen with food still on them. Gosh even the sand table was awful, with sharp shells and not dust free sand so the little one were breathing in all that dust.The smell in the farm room was worse than being on a farm because it smelled like diapers. Thank goodness we did not use the bathroom and where was no way I would frost a cookie or cupcake.Yeah for $7.00 each they let you come back for the day, but the question is who would want to??????

  7. 7
    n. Harris says:

    My granddaughter went to the 8th st location Sunday for a birthday party and I was shocked that they had a jail cell which they do not have at the Chevy Chase location. Jail should not be a play thing for any kids and I wonder is it at this location because it is located in Southeast Washington. That makes me wonder about this organization.

  8. 8
    Kristen says:

    I took my 3 kids to the DC location in April 2014 and wow, what a change from a couple years back. Dirty, grimy and I noticed the sand area barely had any sand in it. There was a kitchen play area upstairs and one downstairs but liked it better when there was more variety. Their favorite part is to go shopping in the store with the grocery carts and that never gets old. The other parts just seemed so dirty and outdated. It was nice to be there for 3 hours and have the place all to ourselves! The employees were awesome and interacted with the kids. It’s just a bit expensive for us and just too dirty. FYI – the meter maids are out and ticket on the 2:01 so just be careful.

  9. 9
    nesreen says:

    it is below than average. Health department should shut down the place. even the one in Bethesda

    I don’t understand you can trust place like this

    • 9.1
      Kendra says:

      My original review is from 2011. I have not been back since then. Others have commented on the decline since then, which I am sorry to hear.

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