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5 of the Best Children’s Museums to Visit

by Eugenia Lazaris

Dec 21, 2017

© R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc | Dreamstime


Try suggesting a museum to a kid on vacation and you’re going to get groans and excuses, but they can be a fun way for a family to spend a day together when you pick the right one. Museums designed especially for children combine learning and fun in a way that make smiles and memories while encouraging future generations of movers and shakers. When you and your family find yourselves vacationing in one of the cities home to the following museums, make some time to squeeze in a museum trip that will make it fun for the family to do a little learning and exploring together.


National Museum of Play, NY

© Debra Millet | Dreamstime

The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, N.Y.

The Strong is devoted to the history of play. More than 300 years of toy history is on display at The Strong and it is home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame and the National Toy Hall of Fame. Kids can visit the Berenstain Bears in Bear Country or explore the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, an indoor butterfly enclosure open year-round.


Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, Pa.

The Please Touch Museum, designed for families with children 7 and younger, is one place where you won’t have to tell your kids to keep their hands to themselves. Everything in the museum is touchable and interactive so kids can learn while they play their way through the various exhibits. The hands-on experiences encourage little ones to have fun while developing motor skills, communication skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, not to mention creativity.


The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Ill.

Not just for kids, the MSI is packed with exhibits for all age groups designed to encourage visitors to explore science, nature, technology, space and creativity. Visitors can interact with robots in the Robot Revolution Exhibit, take a tour of the U-505 Submarine or explore the mirror maze at the Numbers in Nature exhibit. The Henry Crown Space Center teaches kids about the history and future of space exploration while the Idea Factory, an interactive exhibit designed for children 10 and younger, lets kids play with a variety of science experiments including the giant Water Spectacle that lets them splash and play while learning about the forces of water.


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Ind.

At the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis kids can experience circus life at the ‘Circus – Starring You!’ exhibit where they can dress up like circus performers and even walk a tightrope — a virtual tightrope, that is! Next they can travel 65 million years back in time to the land of the dinosaurs in the Dinosphere exhibit to see a mummified Brachylosophaurus along with a T-Rex skeleton and more. If the exhibits aren’t enough, this museum also offers live theater shows. Performances require a separate (but free) ticket.


California Science Center

California Science Center. Photo: Chon Kit Leong | Dreamstime


California Science Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

This museum has numerous exhibits to guarantee everyone in the family will find something exciting, but perhaps the most popular is the Air and Space Exhibit, the current home to the space shuttle Endeavor. Visitors of all ages can get an up-close and personal look at this modern marvel on display. The museum is also equipped with special discovery rooms designed for young children (aged 7 and younger) to interact with animals, ecosystems and a modern city setting so they can learn about the world around them in a creative, hands-on environment.


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