9 US Children’s Museums That Will Entertain the Whole Family
Your inquisitive child is all about experimenting and making their own discoveries; spark their imagination with a trip to one of the best children’s museums in the country. These spaces are created with the pint-sized museum-goer in mind, catering to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young children. So get ready for a hands-on experience that’s all about education… oh wait, that’s not entirely true. While these educational environments will certainly school your littles with all kinds of tot-appropriate lessons, they’re also fun play spaces that will entertain, inspire, and amaze! Scroll on to start planning your family’s next museum adventure.
1. Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, PA: Your tot hears enough, “Stop, don’t touch that!” just about everywhere else. This museum invites hands-on experiences and encourages creativity. Permanent exhibits include a kid-sized Wonderland (as in Alice), the transportation-themed Roadside Attractions, the water-logged River Adventure, and a foam block-filled Imagination Playground. Your kiddo can also launch a rocket in the Rocket Room and have their own pretend play outdoor adventure in the Happy Camper area. (Photo via Please Touch Museum)
2. The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, NY: It’ll come as no surprise that this interactive space is completely dedicated to one thing and one thing only: play! Along with plenty of exhibits parents will enjoy on the history of play and toys, The Strong features fun for the kiddos with classic favorites like the Berenstain Bears, Sesame Street, and so much more. (Photo Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York)
3. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA: Head to the Garage to explore all things transportation, make multimedia art in the Studio, splash around in the Waterplay area, and enter the world of everyone’s favorite children’s television star Mister Rogers as your kids view the original show’s puppets, the iconic cardigan sweater, and those blue canvas sneakers. There’s also a special play space for tinier tots in the Nursery, making this museum a perfect outing for the whole family. (Photo via Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh / Jim Schafer)
4. Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena, CA: Explore with your little adventurer at this nature-themed museum that features lots of outdoor exhibits. There’s water-based play, a greenhouse, climbing towers, a trike track, a “physics forest,” and a nature exchange (bring something from home to exchange!). Translation: Your kiddo won’t want to leave at the end of the day. (Photo via Kidspace Children’s Museum)
5. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, Denver, CO: Kids can shrink to the size of a woodland creature and make their own backyard science discoveries; pretend to be a firefighter; create really, really big bubbles; and splash around in a world of water. This museum even has a special section just for tots under age three. (Photo via Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus)
6. EdVenture, Columbia, SC:EDDIE, a 40-foot-tall 10-year-old boy welcomes guests to this educational adventure space. Your kiddos can play the role of veterinarian, learn about nutrition and cooking, tinker and create in the Maker Works area (for children over five), and play the day away in the My Backyard exhibit — for kids three and under only. (Photo via Edventure Children’s Museum / Ellie McDearman)
7. Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston, TX: Kids can design and engineer with paper, test their physical abilities on the ropes course, experience the arts of the Gullah (a West African culture that survived slavery in the US), explore an outdoor EcoStation, and enter a magical world of Vietnamese folktales. The littlest visitors (birth through 35 months) can frolic in the museum’s Tot*Spot, playing in the Ball and Pillow Pit, pressing buttons and turning switches, or checking out their reflections in a multitude of mirrors. (Photo via the Children’s Museum of Houston)
8. Madison Children’s Museum, Madison, WI: Kiddos learn through play while creating art in the museum’s Studio, get a glimpse into the architecture and life of Frank Lloyd Wright, and visit an entire city that’s packed with puzzles, games, and fun galore. And don’t leave without venturing up to the top of the building for the Rooftop Ramble, where your child can meet the famous rooftop chickens, scale a giant acorn, and get a true bird’s eye view of the surrounding city from the Crow’s Nest. (Photo via the Madison Children’s Museum)
9. The Boston Children’s Museum, Boston, MA: This creative museum has been educating and entertaining children for over a century. As an innovator in hands-on exhibits, the Boston Children’s Museum was, and still is, a pioneer in play-based learning. Hang with dinos, make art, build — and tear down — in the Construction Zone, blow bubbles, and nurture your kid’s creativity in countless ways. (Photo via The Boston Children’s Museum / Karin Hansen)
What’s your favorite children’s museum? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!