Children’s museums are known for their interactive exhibits, which encourage kids to explore and learn. If you’re looking for great educational opportunities for your children, consider putting one of these institutions on your next travel itinerary.
Liberty Science Center
The Liberty Science Center is located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City near the Statue of Liberty. One of my favorite science museums for children, it houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, hurricane- and tornado-force wind simulators, K-12 classrooms and labs, teacher-development programs, and the Western Hemisphere’s biggest planetarium—the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater. More than 750,000 students, teachers, and parents visit Liberty Science Center each year. There’s a revolving door of interesting traveling exhibits, so check its website to see what’s happening next. One particular favorite exhibit is Our Hudson Home, featuring underwater creatures that are native to the Hudson River. For your budding scientist, they also have 2-day fall camps and summer camps.
Please Touch Museum
This beloved museum mostly focuses on children seven-years-old and younger and is located in Philadelphia’s Memorial Hall which dates back to the 1876 centennial celebration. Its two-story galleries are designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities, including a mini Philadelphia-esque neighborhood, a Creative Arts Studio and Nature’s Pond exhibit. Older kids can enjoy the Wonderland section, while younger ones can play in the Fairytale Garden. And do not miss the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel on the main level built in 1924 with plenty of benches to rest as you watch your little ones play.
Children’s Museum of Houston
Rated America’s No. 1 children’s museum, Children’s Museum Houston is packed with 90,000 square feet of innovative, interactive bilingual exhibits for kids, ages birth to 12 years, housed in a whimsical Robert Venturi-designed building. Since its establishment, the Children’s Museum of Houston has grown to serve more than one million children and families annually through onsite Museum attendance and community-based programs. Its main exhibit, Kidtropolis, is a huge pretend city that kids can run. This area features nine businesses, over two dozen job opportunities, including a bank, and veterinary office. It’s designed to help kids understand different occupations and how our economy works. Another favorite exhibition is the Inventors’ Workshop that offers a new selection of activities each month focused on engineering challenges and inquiry-based exploration.
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago
The Kohl Children’s Museum is a children’s museum in Glenview, Illinois, founded in 1985. It provides a hands-on learning laboratory for children ages birth to 8. Located on an 8.8-acre site, including a 46,700-square-foot museum building and a 2-acre outdoor exhibit space, the museum features exhibits and programs designed to make learning fun and interesting for young children. Of the 17 permanent exhibits, one of the all-time favorites is the Whole Foods Market mini grocery store, where kids can grab a cart and shop. The other top exhibit is Water Works—children can build a boat and see how fast it floats down the canal, balance balls on jets of water and even use spurts of water to make music. It is considered one of the best children’s museums in Chicago.
Madison Children’s Museum
The Madison Children’s Museum was founded in 1980 by a group of early childhood specialists and offers a variety of experiences for kids. The museum’s amazing installations teach architecture and art through the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit or their Art’s Studio. The museum’s website has a variety of new programs and exhibits that are constantly being added focusing on children’s development through play.
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum. It has five floors of exhibit halls and receives more than one million visitors annually. Its collection of over 120,000 artifacts and exhibit items is divided into two domains: Arts & Humanities and the Natural Sciences. Among the exhibits are a simulated Jurassic dinosaur habitat, a carousel, a steam locomotive, and the glass sculpture Fireworks of Glass Tower and Ceiling. The museum’s focus is family learning; most exhibits are designed to be interactive, allowing children and families to actively participate and provide hands-on learning. One of the most popular exhibits is the Dinosphere, which features a huge interactive gallery that allows kids to explore the world of dinosaurs.
The Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina is a must-visit for kids and adults. Its programs bring science, nature, and design together to create transformative experiences that enable the community to understand and enjoy science. Discovery Place is a leader in STEM education to the Carolinas with its four distinct museum experiences—Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature, Discovery Place Kids Huntersville and Discovery Place Kids Rockingham. It serves over 750,000 people a year One of the most popular exhibits is the KidScience section, designed for kids ages 0 to 7. It features a huge water table and a variety of activities. The Discovery Place also organizes field trips and camps for children, giving student’s hands-on opportunities to learn about science, technology and nature.