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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The International Spy Museum!

It’s covert, it’s top-secret, and you heard about it here first. Shhhh….

(Warning: this is not a normal museum review.)

My son and I made our way to the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, ready to assume our new identities under deep cover. (What else is new?) On a wall full of potential personalities, we memorized who we were, where in the world we were, why we were there, and our different dates of birth. Problem was, as we wandered through the small exhibit rooms, the two of us were unable to track these personalities since every interactive kiosk was five people deep.

I’ll let you in on a couple of things. Yes, the Russians talked into their shoe-phones once upon a time. Yes, there was a female spy named Matahari. Yes, there is duct work in the ceiling ventilation where kids can shimmy through, but anyone who’s ever taken their child with them to the office would not be shocked by such a possibility. Beyond that, forget the museum itself, pass “Go” and move directly into some live action that the International Spy Museum offers on the side.

What we should have done, and what we did end up doing another time was “Operation Spy”, a live action spy adventure open to adults and kids ages 12 and up. There’s a missing nuclear trigger and your mission is to find it… in 60 minutes or less.

Our group was comprised of couples and families, following directives to comb offices for information, monitor hotel lobbies for suspicious individuals via a bank of TV monitors, and listen in on breaking-up phone conversations. Just when we thought we may be making some headway and cracking codes or cracking safes, it was time to move on to the next part of the adventure.

In a word: too cool. Okay, that’s two words, but you get the idea.

The program had my young teen giggling and reviewing the special effects for days afterward. I would spill the beans about what transpired, but, as in any spy ring, these things simply cannot be talked about. For tickets in the $15 range, it was affordable fun, particularly great for older kids or adults who may need a change of pace from the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Should you have a few minutes to kill before or after the live action experience, you can’t go wrong stopping in to the cafe where their hot dogs even have undercover names, and you’ll get the most affordable meal in D.C. this side of Chinatown. (That’s classified info.)

The gift shop is also great with edible paper, invisible ink, lipstick pens and the much fancier and pricier high tech spy gear. There are always a few dads that get lost in the store. I have no idea what the shop’s best-seller may be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that, in our nation’s capital, home to over 10,000 spies from all over the world, the t-shirt “Deny Everything” might be right up there near the top.

Tired of the Smithsonian? Plan a covert operation to the other side of town. Tell them Alexandra sent you.


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One Comment : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Phyllis says:

    This sounds so fun! The last time I was in DC, our bios were 4th and 2nd grade, I believe. So it has been awhile. I’ll have to tuck this idea away for when we take our younger boys there in the future. But maybe we should wait until at least 2 will be allowed to go into the Operation Spy.

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