School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your learn on… in the most fun way possible. The open highway, perfectly concocted Spotify mixes and a handful of prime destinations just waiting to be discovered — sounds like summer vacay to us, and we always have a museum or two on the “to do and see” list. Here’s a collection of the top 10 museums across the U.S. that are sure to get you and your wee ones sprinting toward the car quicker than you can call shotgun! So what are you waiting for? Pair these 10 spots with their seasonal exhibits and get started on the road to becoming the most cultured fam by the time September rolls around.
1. Mingei International Museum (San Diego, CA): We don’t know about you, but whenever we think of San Diego, we think of hundreds of sun-kissed surfer dudes and dudettes hanging out, waiting to catch an awesome wave. So we think it’s necessary to check out Surf Craft, the Design and Culture of Board Riding currently on display at Mingei. It’s for anyone who ever really wanted to know just what makes Southern California so… well, Southern California.
2. Discovery Time Square (New York, NY): So here’s the thing. Most of us are pretty obsessed with LEGOs and simply don’t know how to bring it up in casual conversation. Are we right? It’s one of those understood unspokens, which makes it the perfect reason to bring the fam to the Art of the Brick, one of the most insanely elaborate shows featuring one of your childhood faves. It was recenlty coined a “Must-See Global Exhibition,” and we wouldn’t be surprised if every single one of you walks out daydreaming about creating your own at-home LEGO installation.
3. Museum of the Moving Image (New York, NY): There’s not much that’s cooler than a sassy bunny with a snarky demeanor and an uncanny obsession with danger. If there’s one exhibit that guarantees full blown nostalgia, it’s “What’s Up Doc? The Animation of Chuck Jones.” We fondly look back on our first taste of romance with Pepe Le Pew, learning how to never give up on our goals with the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote and realizing it’s okay to let the crazy out once in a while with Daffy Duck. Oh, the good old days.
4. The Academy of Natural Sciences (Philadelphia, PA): We can’t think of a better way to spend the day than running around a museum impersonating bird mating calls or challenging each other to a chicken dance-off. The Birds of Paradise exhibit gives you a fab reason to do just that! Perfectly puffed out plumage and colors that could very likely inspire a new Marc Jacobs collection, these beautiful beings of nature are simply awe-some.
5. The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, PA): Ever feel like a complete scatterbrain that’s got a million thoughts jumping on trampolines all around your brain? We sure do! Learn how to wrangle in those chaotic neurons this summer at the Your Brain exhibit, Indiana Jones style. Crawl through neural networks as you explore what makes these little magical multisensory networks tick. (Creating your own customized sound effects are greatly encouraged.)
6. Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta, GA): Wait. A museum dedicated exclusively to all things puppets? Indeed. It’s a favorite of locals and visitors alike and a must-stop for all of you Muppet lovers and Jim Henson-ites out there. If by some off-chance you’re not familiar with puppets, then this stop has been specifically assigned to you (yes, you) by yours truly.
7. Whitney Museum (New York, NY): Does Jeff Koons make your eyes twinkle? Do you stare wooingly into space imagining being less than a foot away from that bright and shiny Balloon Dog? Well stare into space no more! The Koons Restrospective should be in your top three shows to check out this summer in NYC. And while you’re at it, pop your head in and check out Alexander Calder’s drawings and sculptures. Walking into his world will make you and yours want to run off and join a carnival… or create your own.
8. The Walt Disney Family Museum (San Francisco, CA): Alice in Wonderland — what in the world would we do without her? Isn’t she the one who taught us all about adventure, imagination and adorable Mary Janes? Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair is the perfect exhibit to get lost in. Afterall, she is the one who designed the “It’s a Small World” ride. Blair has worked on or influenced just about every one of our favorite classic Disney movies. Swoon.
9. Pacific Science Center (Portland, OR): Lock picking guns, pigeons equipped with espionage cameras and poison-tipped umbrellas. No, it’s not the latest Bond flick (though we would be pretty excited about that). Spy: The Secret World of Espionage exhibit is the first to feature collections from the CIA, FBI and the NRO. OMG!!! It’s close to impossible for us to contain our excitement about this one! Seriously, what would life be like without fellas like James Bond, Jason Bourne and the Pink Panther?
10. Children’s Museum (Indianapolis, IN): Ever imagine yourself as a warrior? Strong. Stone-like. A protector of all things good? Lucky for you, the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit lets you examine all of the bits and pieces that coined these guys the eight wonder of the world. And if that’s not enough, you can also take a photo as a warrior yourself! You’ll be the only warrior family on the block. That’s a threat AND a promise.
What’s your favorite type of art-venture?!? Share your comments below!