Museums are a great way to explore cultures, environments, educational topics and different forms of art. They're a great place for a first date or a stimulating way to spend an afternoon alone. For families, they can be a cheap way to have a day with the kids.
While most children's museums are free for kids with exhibits directed for their younger audience, they're a great resource for learning through play. What better way to engage in your child's learning than a family trip to an interactive museum! Take a look at these 10 family-friendly museums in the U.S that are sure to keep your kids entertained.
10 The Amazing World Of Dr. Seuss Museum
This museum in Springfield, MA is dedicated to everything Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’ real name is Theodor Geisel and he was born in Springfield. This museum is bilingual in both English and Spanish and has a variety of interactive exhibits surrounding children’s development such as vocabulary, sounds, rhyming, and storytelling.
This is an educational and playful museum for children to explore the works of Dr. Seuss. Aside from families, this is also a great place for any fan of children’s literature, as well as teachers or children’s care professionals.
9 Please Touch Me Museum
This museum in Philadelphia, PA is built off the concept of learning through play. They target communication and critical thinking skills as well as promote collaboration and curiosity which encourages children’s development.
Their popular exhibit at the moment is on the works of Eric Carle and the world he’s created in his books. Kids have the opportunity to explore the use of music and artwork as forms of expression as well as discover the world of children’s literature. Their newest exhibit is called Cents and Sensibility and explains money, investments, and the concept of saving in a hands-on and playful way.
8 Denver Art Museum
A popular exhibit is the First Light Family Space. This exhibit focuses on the concept of light through shadows, mirrors, the use of lamps and different materials. It is free for children and members. First Light Family Space is based on the Denver Art Museum's The Light Show which was previously held and well-received. This is a great way for parents to promote educational play and get involved with their children’s learning.
7 First Art Museum
First Art Museum in Nashville, TN is targeted towards families and educators. Their featured exhibit right now is celebrating Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar that just reached 50 years of publication. Their most popular center is the Martin ArtQuest Gallery which focuses on learning through art and includes tons of activities for kids to explore in their own unique ways.
Admissions for anyone under 18 is free, as well as Family Mondays. Essentially, on Mondays the whole family gets in with the purchase of one adult admission, making this a family-friendly but also budget-friendly way to spend the weekend with the kids!
6 The Strong Museum of Play
This museum in Rochester, NY is one of the largest history museums in the United States. The Strong’s well-known exhibits include the National Toy Hall Of Fame and World Video Game Hall of Fame. They are also home to many unique exhibitions on classics such as Sesame Street, The Berenstain Bears, American Comic Book Heroes and more.
This museum takes history and explores it through play. It is a collections-based museum with many historical materials that children can interact with. Its wide array of exhibits are not only for kids, and are just as educational and fun for the adults!
5 Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC accommodates families mostly through their Family days. These days give kids the opportunities to communicate with scientists and astronauts as well as storytimes and exploration of the observatories and many more activities. It is a great way for children to explore space and science with visuals to help them understand big ideas. They also offer a movie surrounding the subject of space and the cosmos starring Big Bird in their huge IMAX theatre once a month. The website has an easily accessible calendar where you can find events that suit your family's interests!
4 The Rabbit hOle
This museum in North Kansas City, MO is the world’s first Explore-A-Storium and targets literacy and children's’ relationship with literature. It is a great resource for families and educators and serves as a tool to help bridge the literacy gap in the United States. It is not yet up and running but will hopefully be available by Spring 2020.
This unique museum will have an impressive bookstore that will allow the community to connect with authors and illustrators as well as explore the books available. Their Goodnight Moon room will include storytimes and book clubs to engage kids in reading. Unlike other family-friendly museums that have a variety of targeted skills, the Rabbit hOle primarily focuses on the importance of literacy.
3 Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling
This museum in New York, NY addresses a community problem for the young children who come from families facing poverty and lack of education. It is a safe space for families to get together and explore educational programs and exhibits. This museum recognizes children’s natural creativity and celebrates education through art and storytelling, dedicating exhibitions on artists and discovering their works in interactive ways. Their entrance fees are extremely accessible for families of all incomes: Children 8 and under are free and adult tickets are 7$. This museum is all about the opportunity for families to learn as a unit.
2 Scott Family's Amazeum
This family-centered museum in Bentonville, AR is a collaborative experience that encourages parents to get involved and participate with their children. This museum has an acre of outdoor space that they use for daily-changing popup activities. With a focus on arts and sciences, they target skills like creativity, curiosity, and collaboration. Each exhibit has activities and galleries specifically designed to help enhance the children’s learning. They have specialized art exhibits like their Nickelodeon Play Lab and Cloud Theatre that fosters imagination, but also offer science-based ones like their Nature & Weather exhibit.
The Exploratorium in San Fransisco, CA celebrated 50 years in 2019. Their educational practices stem from an inquiry-based approach. Their vision is to foster individuality in children and gives them the opportunity to understand the world around them and develop their own thinking and perceptions. Their exhibits explore complex ideas like angles and perceptions. Their Distorted Room exhibit is like something out of Alice In Wonderland and uses angles, depth, and patterns to trick the brain. Their unique take on discovering the world allows children to take control of their learning.