The BIG Maze

The BIG Maze is like summer itself; it’s only here for a little while, so enjoy it while you can.

Our group of four (two adults, one child and one almost teenager) headed to the National Building Museum on a recent Saturday afternoon, eagerly anticipating the Museum’s latest exhibition, which is part of its Summer Block Party programming. Happen to catch last year’s mini golf exhibit? Having thoroughly enjoyed that experience, we had high expectations for the BIG Maze, and we were not disappointed.

As fact panels placed near the exhibit entrance explain, the BIG Maze is “inspired by ancient labyrinths, garden and hedge mazes of 17th and 18th-century Europe, and modern American corn mazes.” Created in partnership with international architecture firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the BIG Maze is just that – really big.

The 60-foot square structure fills almost one third of the Museum’s soaring Great Hall. The outside walls rise 18 feet. Yet the giant cube, built of birch plywood, is not confining or panic-inducing. It is actually serene and, on the afternoon we visited, light-filled.

As visitors make their way through, there is a jovial sense of community and then elation upon reaching the center, the heart of the maze. Its walls grow progressively shorter, so by the time you reach the center, you can see the entire maze – where you’ve come from and where you’re going – with a 360 degree perspective.

Be ready to snap photos when you reach the center – it’s a great photo opp! Another way to experience the maze is from above. Visit the Museum’s second and third floors for an aerial view, and of course, more photos.

Our kids loved the BIG Maze; we went through multiple times at no additional charge. Highly recommend!


Visit Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through Sept. 1, 2014. Note that ticket sales end at 4 p.m. weekdays and at 3 p.m. weekends and holidays.


Tickets are only available for purchase in person in the Museum lobby. (Again, note that ticket sales end at 4 p.m. weekdays and at 3 p.m. weekends and holidays.) Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3-17) and seniors (age 60 and over). Discounts are available for museum members, military and groups. Tickets to the BIG Maze include admission to all other Museum exhibitions as well. And remember, you can go through the Maze as many times as you’d like during your visit.

Good to Know

  • It’s probably a good idea to hold hands with younger children, as the twists and turns are many. All children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • If bringing a stroller, use the G Street entrance and be aware that there really isn’t room to navigate a stroller inside the maze. Strollers must be left outside the exhibit entrance.
  • For more information about the National Building Museum itself, don’t miss the Our Kids review.

Photo by Erin Link.

Photo of author

OK Editorial Team

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