Smithsonian Dillon Ripley Center
The S. Dillon Ripley Center, or just The Ripley Center, as it is more commonly referred to, may not catch your eye at first, but once you step inside you will discover a lesser-known Smithsonian affiliate that we think is certainly worth a visit while at the National Mall.
This copper-domed kiosk is located on Jefferson Drive, right in between The Castle and Freer. Though it appears to be quite tiny, once inside you will take an elevator down 3 floors into a large underground facility that houses the Smithsonian Association (founded in 1922), the Children's Discovery Theater, and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service.
While there isn’t too terribly much to do inside, you will get to see various hands-on rotating exhibits, as well as an art gallery and on-site classrooms to explore. The best thing about Ripley Center? It’s free! To extend your visit head to Sackler, Freer, or the African Art Museum, which are all connected to this center underground.