International Spy Museum

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800 F St Nw, Washington, DC, USA - (202) 393-7798

International Spy Museum Washington Reviews

Africancrab Africanc…
777 reviews
The Art of Espionage, Intrigue and Deception Jul 11, 2012
I will start by saying that I was disappointed, my experience less than satisfactory. We were to meet friends at the museum and tour together, but for some reason we all ended up arriving at different times. We arrived early and s=toured the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Portrait Gallery first, before crossing over to the Spy Museum.

We purchased tickets at what I thought was really a dear amount, in fact I joked with the ticketing clerk asking if I could get a refund if I did not like my tour. She smiled and said that most people liked it. We paid $20 per adult and $16 for children 5-12, total of $56 for the three of us. It was not busy so we went through the line to the elevator where one group awaited. The elevator then took us up to the start of the tour.

Starting at the Covers and Legends room, we had to choose code names; a spy must live a life of lies we were told. We had to master and remember the details of our new identities. All this was actually exciting as we waited to go to the next step. Next was the Briefing Theater where we were shown a film in which we were shown real life spies and the world of espionage; the reasons one might choose to become a spy. The younger visitors were excited about testing their spy skills, including my daughter; she wanted to know if she had what it takes to become a spy (smile!)

Next we moved to the interactive section, the School for Spies, where we had to use our new identities to complete certain missions. We also had access to the many spy gadgets like cameras, cars (the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 fully loaded with tire shredders, machine guns and rotating license plates), electronic monitoring devices, and weapons.

The next section took us through the history of espionage going back centuries. This is the Secret History of History section; at this point I lost interest only because there was so much to read, the black and white monotony of information on walls, in books, audio and black and white TV. The only thing that awoke my curiosity at this point was the mention of my name in “Harriet Tubman’ who was one of the famous spymasters. In a nutshell, it covered the civil war spies, red terror and had the famous pigeon camera. My husband was much more interested in the history than I was, so we moved on. What was frustrating was that it was one-way traffic, so I could not move back. You enter one way and exit the other.

At the end of the tour we got out through the gift shop (how convenient for them). Well it was a little too pricey so we decided to go to the Spy City Café for tea or coffee. My daughter wanted a bite, but they had very little to offer and the service was seriously lucking. We decided to leave and headed to the pizza restaurant across the street. Now, you may have a different experience, the museum comes highly recommended by many who have visited it.

I only have photos of the outside of the museum, no photographs inside the museum.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Africancrab says:
You are right, I normally rave about what I like, this one was a waste of $56 for the 3 of us.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2012
Dr_Seuss says:
Showing as 3* now, and it definatelty was showing 5 :O Was surprised since you weren't raving about it, and NOBODY else had given it 5 . Spooks playing tricks or ghosts in the machine ;)
Posted on: Aug 10, 2012
Africancrab says:
No I did not rate it 5*, you sure you are looking at my review?
Posted on: Aug 09, 2012
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Simon1012 Simon1012
1 reviews
Average fun Apr 06, 2011
Pretty intersting place with a lot of interesting facts and stories but a bit too much spy game scenarios you have to attend.Interesting giftshop with a lot of good books.
HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
Eh, I think they pump this place up too much Jun 28, 2010
Well, for those visiting DC from other places, the Spy Museum might be a neat stop. Those with young children might suffer because there's a lot of reading if you really want to know historical facts and stuff.

My 2 favorite things were the huge wall map at the end and all the knick knacks in the store (I don't know if they really work). It was just an OK thing to do. It can be a little dark in there for those with vision problems.

If you go and you're disappointed, don't say I didn't warn you. If you DO enjoy it, you can thank me later for lowering your expectations so that you can have a great time.
khairiahar khairiah…
3 reviews
International Spy Musuem, worth checking it out! May 01, 2009
It's an interesting museum, and a must go especially if you have children, they would enjoy the activities the museum offer.

Like the others commented, the gift shop is amazing!

The museum makes it cool to be a spy, and it can make you feel like you want to be one!
VoyageurDeMonde Voyageur…
7 reviews
Jun 05, 2007
This was a fun experience. It was very informative. You can't take pictures which was a downer, though. The spy store has some really neat gadgets you can buy. You're supposed to buy tickets in advance but since I was nearby in Chinatown, I just called ahead and was told to come on by. You get a ticket with an entrance time stamped on it and you can't go in until then. I ended up waiting a half an hour to get in which was fine since they have the spy shop and a couple of restaurants right at the entrance.
weathertrinity weathert…
1 reviews
Jun 26, 2007
This museum is an incredible experience. Spies across the globe and instruments used are shown. A great gift shop. The museum takes at minimum 2-3 hours to go through.

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International Spy Museum Map
photo by: b93sp