17 Best Family Museums In The US To Take Your Kids
Best family museums in the US are Children's Museum Indianapolis, The DoSeum, and 15 others. You can take your kids on school breaks for a trip.
The facilities in America offer all kinds of learning opportunities for kids and adults alike, but some are specially designed for family visits.
Spending quality time with your family members is important and learning a thing or two while spending a day with your loved ones might be a better thing to do. What else can be more fruitful than visiting your nearest children's museum where your little one can learn and play at the same time?
These facilities are designed and built to engage your kid in several ways. The design and materials employ visual, auditory, and sensory inputs on your child to trigger learning.
Although children's museums appear like everyday playgrounds, subtle design hacks increase the learning experience drastically.
You as an adult can also have a fruitful time as most of the children's museums provide information about children's learning process or you could just go play with your kid.
We have listed some of the greatest children's and family museums for your next visit.
They start at about 46,902 square feet and grow all the way up to 472,900 square feet hosting all kinds of exhibitions.
Best Family Museums
|Name Of Museums
|17. Children's Museum of Denver
|16. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
|15. The New Children's Museum
|San Diego, California
|14. Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
|San Jose, California
|13. The Magic House
|12. Miami Children’s Museum
|11. Madison Children’s Museum
|10. Minnesota Children's Museum
|Saint Paul, Minnesota
|9. Port Discovery
|8. Boston Children's Museum
|7. Children's Museum of Houston
|6. Brooklyn Children's Museum
|Brooklyn, New York
|5. The DoSeum
|San Antonio, Texas
|4. Please Touch Museum
|3. The Strong
|Rochester, New York
|2. COSI: Center of Science and Industry
|1. Children's Museum Indianapolis
17. Children's Museum of Denver
Total exhibition area: 46,902 square feet
Children's Museum of Denver is on of the best family museums located in Denver, Colorado, USA.
The facility offers 46,902 square feet of exhibition hall scattered in its 9-acre campus houses 20 exhibitions, according to their Wikipedia profile. The interactive method used in the exhibition helps simulate learning in the little ones.
It is suitable for all kids, especially those between 1 and 8 years old.
The permanent exhibitions at the facility are; an indoor 3½ story climber, The Art Studio, Assembly Plant, Bubbles, Center for the Young Child, Energy, Fire Station No. 1 with a real fire truck, Joy Park: An Outdoor Adventure, Kinetics!, My Market, The Teaching Kitchen, and urban water system activities.
The permanent exhibits in the facility allow kids to climb nearly 4 stories or learn about energy from the available solar station. They also get a chance to work with real tools and benches at Assembly Plant.
While the kids are having fun, adults can go to the coffee shop, kick back, and relax, or you can accompany your little one and learn a thing or two.
Tickets for the Children's Museum of Denver will cost $17 if you are between 2 and 59 years old. However, that is just a fraction of the price to pay for everything you can enjoy. Visit the Children's Museum of Denver's website to learn about their day-to-day changing exhibits and activities.
16. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Total exhibition area: 48,000 square feet
Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located in the historic Monroe School building.
It opened the doors of all 48,000 square feet of space to the public on June 14, 2008, and has since been growing exponentially, in terms of visitors and experiences. It offers several learning experiences to kids no matter their age. It is fun for adults as well.
Some of the famous activities at the facility are Noodle Forest, The Climber, Art Studio, Blockmania, Building Big, The Market: Role Play Paradise, and Whoosh!, among many others. Everything at the facility is designed to provoke learning in children.
Most children love to spend time in Noodle Forest, and unlike traditional noodles, they are made of styrofoam and come in all sizes and colors. Children and adults love navigating through, never before seen terrain while giggles are guaranteed.
In addition to the permanent exhibitions at the site, it also offers camps for 5 to 8-year-olds. They run spring and summer camps and take care of your child's learning needs through their state-of-the-art imaginative program during the school breaks.
Getting into the Children’s Museum of Phoenix will cost you $16 each if you are between 2 to 59 years old. Sending your young ones for a camp session will set you back $300 per week or $255 per week if you have a membership. However, that is just a small price to pay for the offerings.
15. The New Children's Museum
Total exhibition area: 50,000 square feet
The New Children's Museum is located in the heart of San Diego, California.
The facility's all 50,000 square feet of space is dedicated to providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience to your kids and you as well. It focuses on bringing the experience to the children by employing contemporary art.
The museum collaborated and worked with hundreds of artists to build and install interactive art throughout the campus. Some of the works are bigger than a normal room. It offers quiet rooms to sit and relax to a dollar-bill-sucking machine that transfers the dollars through tubes and contraptions putting up a great show.
However, the facilities focus on art like no other. Every surface in the building is filled with some form of art, mostly paintings. If your little ones are not afraid of getting their hands dirty with some paint or painting supplies, The New Children's Museum is the place for them.
You can also check out their website for more information about their unique exhibitions that changes from time to time. If you do not qualify for any discounts then getting you and your little ones inside will set you back $18 for kids under 18 years old and $20 for adults.
They offer several kinds of membership programs to interested people allowing for free admission. The cost of getting a membership can be anywhere between $150 to $500 depending on your plans. Check out The New Children's Museum's website to learn more.
14. Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
Total exhibition area: 52,000 square feet
Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is located in San Jose, California.
The 52,000 square feet of exhibit halls and outdoor play and exploration area are dedicated to providing crucial interactive learning to your little ones. Although learning during a visit can sound boring for your child, they will not want to go home from Children's Discovery Museum.
It offers several exhibits including, Amazing AirMaze!, Art Gallery, The LeRoy Neiman Art Studio, Bill’s Backyard, Bubbles, Mammoth Discovery!, Rainbow Market, Secrets of Circles, Streets, Theatre, WaterWays, Imagination Playground, Wonder Cabinet, Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, among others.
Kids will learn the power of air with the amazing air maze, the contraption takes pom balls inserted by the children into the tubes for a wild ride. The kids will get to witness a life-size mammoth replica skeleton or find their own replica mammoth fossil at Mammoth Discovery!
Bill's Backyard is kids' favorite station as it provides half an acre of a playground filled with view towers, climbers, bridges suspended between tall trees, a dig-pit filled with smoothed stones, tunnels, and many more. Imagine the joy on your toddler's face when seeing dirt to play with.
A normal ticket for the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose costs $15.00 for everyone except infants, they get inside for free, and seniors, get a dollar off the normal price.
13. The Magic House
Total exhibition area: 55,000 square feet
The Magic House also known as St. Louis Children's Museum is located just outside of St. Louis in Kirkwood, Missouri.
The facility provides a hands-on experimental experience to the kids from all of its 55,000 square feet of exhibition space. It has grown from a mere 5,500 square spaces to its current size from the years of renovations and expansions.
Some of the permanent exhibitions are Children’s Village, Nature Play, STEAM Center, Bubble Room, Electro-Static Generator, and Star-Spangled Center, among others. The Kid's favorite part of the exhibition is Electro-Static Generator which raises their hair quite literally.
The Star-Spangled Center consists of a courtroom, an oval office, and a Legislative chamber, which paired with trivia gives children an insider view of the workings of government and aims at raising awareness of civic engagement.
Children’s Village is a miniature community designed to help children with their imaginations. It is complete with several community buildings to give a real community feel to the kids.
Tickets for The Magic House costs $14 for everyone above 1-year-old. Infants below the age of 1 can have free entry. Similarly, a group of 15 or more can get in for a discounted price of $6 per person. The Magic House offers several special discounts and packages that change from time to time.
12. Miami Children’s Museum
Total exhibition area: 56,500 square feet
Miami Children’s Museum focuses on learning through art, communication, and culture.
The facility is located on Watson Island in Miami, Florida. It provides a whopping 56,500-square-foot exhibition and learning space which is divided into 14 permanent galleries, a 200-seat auditorium, a preschool classroom, and a Subway restaurant.
Unlike other facilities in this list, most of the exhibitions and experiences at MCM are focused on teaching and learning format. Miami Children's Museum claims all of the materials used at the facility are created in accordance with the MDCPS curriculum.
Furthermore, the facility aims to give a tailored experience of classroom-based learning to visitors. With its carefully designed props and materials, MCM has successfully served 5 million guests since its opening in 2003 and has a yearly visit of around 400,000 people.
Tickets for visiting Miami Children's Museum must be purchased online and will set you back $24 per person in general. However, the rate is $16 per person if you are a Florida resident and able to produce a valid State of Florida ID.
11. Madison Children’s Museum
Total exhibition area: 56,500 square feet
Madison Children’s Museum is located in Madison, Wisconsin.
The museum aims on providing hands-on experience to its little visitors with several exhibits focusing on arts, sciences, history, culture, health, and civic engagement.
Some of the permanent exhibits at the facility include Stair Trek: Core to Cosmos, Stair Trek: Zip, Zap, Zoom, From Coops to Cathedrals, Urb Garden, and The Wonderground, among others. They are all designed to provide the most effective experience to the children.
Stair Trek: Core to Cosmos and Stair Trek: Zip, Zap, Zoom are two ordinary stairwells renovated to an extraordinary level. Kids climb up Stair Trek: Core to Cosmos learning everything from the core of our beloved planet earth and reaching outer space at the end of their ascend.
Similarly, Stair Trek: Zip, Zap, Zoom helps kids develop their sensory abilities by teaching them about different sounds and words.
It also features Urb Garden, a state-of-the-art facility teaching children about composting and sustainability. They get to experience worms turning waste into composting and aquaponics in the tilapia tank.
The Wonderground provides kids with a massive play area featuring climbers and a double-decker tree house.
Adults and children above 1 year old can get inside Madison Children's Museum for $12, grandparents and seniors get the ticket for $11, and qualifying families can get access for just one dollar.
10. Minnesota Children's Museum
Total exhibition Area: 65,000 square feet
Minnesota Children's Museum is another family museum located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US.
The organization was originally founded in Minneapolis in 1981 but shifted to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1995 in a 65,000 square feet space after attendance outgrew its former spaces.
Minnesota Children's Museum features The Scramble, Forces at Play, Shipwreck Adventures, Imaginopolis, The Backyard, Tip Top Terrace, and a special exhibit area. Traveling exhibits from around the world are showcased at the special exhibition area from time to time.
Shipwreck Adventures is one of the highlights of the facility. Kids are able to gain an underwater experience without getting wet from the real-life based shipwreck. What would a kid love more than exploring a shipwreck for treasures?
Forces at Play is a dedicated area for kids to engineering their way through shooting ping-pong balls with air. They also get a chance at a wacky car wash during their experience and sometimes get wet.
Kids paired with a ping-pong ball shooting air cannon and a car wash, what else will they need?
Tickets for the three-storied fun at Minnesota Children's Museum will set you back $16 for everyone from age 1 to 101 years old. However, qualifying families will be able to purchase the tickets at $3 per person and get a discounted lunch letter as well.
9. Port Discovery
Total exhibition area: 80,000 square feet
Port Discovery Children's Museum is located at the historic Fish Market in Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor.
The 80,000-square feet exhibition and play area at the facility are split into three-story providing sensory and hands-on experience to children. Unlike others in this list, Port Discovery does not have any special focus but it has plenty of exhibitions for children from birth to age 10.
Some of the most notable exhibitions and play areas located at the facility are Sky Climber, Kick it Up!, BGE Studio Workshop, Adventure Expeditions, The Overlook, Here We Grow, and Wonders of Water.
Wonders of Water might be the kids' favorite during their visit because it features water and bubbles. Other features are a stream table, Water Chimes, and a Plumbers Park area to provide kids with learning opportunities as they make a splash.
Here We Grow features a wooden tractor, push-pull farm tools, and plants. Kids also get an opportunity to explore farming with real local farmers available at the facility to provide their expertise and share their experience with the little one, who knows your little one might be the next big thing in farming.
Tickets for the Port Discovery visit costs $21.95 for children and adults. However, there are several offers and discounts available from time to time so be sure to check before you make your reservations.
8. Boston Children's Museum
Total exhibition area: 80,700 square feet
Boston Children's Museum is located on Children's Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts.
It is the second oldest of its kind in the United States of America and is currently located in an industrial building. It has 80,700 square feet of exhibition and play space dedicated to kids' learning and hands-on experience.
The facility features Arthur & Friends, Fantastic Forts, Bubble, Investigate, Raceaway, Fenway Farms, Construction Zone, and a Japanese House Gallery, among others, as permanent exhibits.
Arthur & Friends is an interactive play area based on Marc Brown's Arthur. The area allows young ones to serve as co-pilots on a cross-country plane with Buster Baxter, or join Arthur and his friends for a dance on an interactive screen. Enjoying beloved television characters can be a fun activity for kids.
Japanese House Gallery features a real two-story Japanese house from Kyoto. The exhibits provide in-depth knowledge about Japanese culture and tradition with props and materials inside the house.
Similarly, Fenway Farms is a replica of the Fenway Farms located on the rooftop of the building. Here kids get a chance to play with soil while learning about them. They also get to explore different types of plants and vegetables at the farm while having insightful conversations with local farmers.
General admission ticket for Boston Children's Museum costs $20 per person. Kids up to 12 months require to purchase a free ticket as well.
7. Children's Museum of Houston
Total exhibition area: 90,000 square feet
Children's Museum of Houston is located in Houston, Texas.
It has around 90,000 square feet of exhibition space available for the kids inside the campus. CMH serves over one million visitors annually with its several bilingual learning programs.
The permanent exhibits at CMH include Tot*Spot, Kidtropolis, USA, Matter Factory, Kids’ Hall, Cyberchase, SECRET Spy Game, and Heart and Seoul, among many others. All of the exhibits are interactive and specialize in enhancing specific learning in children.
Tot*Spot is a place where babies and young kids can play with their parents and caregivers. The play area is filled with soft toys ensuring safety while triggering interactive play with several colorful toys.
Kidtropolis, USA, is a functional community where kids are encouraged to participate in running the community by taking on employment or running a business.
They can also assume the role of leaders or authorities. Working hard at their employment earns Kidtropolis Dollar which can be withdrawn from an ATM machine and used to make purchases in the Kidtropolis.
Ticket for the Children's Museum of Houston costs $15 for anyone between 1 to 64 years old. Seniors above 64 years old can get inside for $14 and under 1 year old can have free access. There are also several discount offers available from time to time.
6. Brooklyn Children's Museum
Total exhibition area: 100,000 square feet
Brooklyn Children's Museum is located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York.
It is the oldest of its kind in the United States of America, it was founded on December 16, 1899. Since its opening, It has undergone numerous small and major renovations while expanding in size and area.
It now has 100,000 square feet of exhibition area and features Totally Tots, The NEST, Neighborhood Nature, and World Brooklyn, as permanent exhibitions. It also houses several visiting exhibitions currently hosting ArtRink, Sound Field, and Brooklyn Voices.
World Brooklyn is a miniature community constructed with reference to real-life buildings and shops around the neighborhood.
Children get to assume the role of members of the community including the shopkeepers, pedestrians, and even the customers at the shop, and developed an understanding of the importance of cooperation and teamwork in the community.
Tickets for visiting Brooklyn Children's Museum costs $13 per person but there are several discount offers available for selected partners. You can check with them through their website before purchasing your tickets.
5. The DoSeum
Total exhibition area: 104,000 square feet
The DoSeum is located in San Antonio and was previously known as San Antonio Children’s Museum is located in San Antonio, Texas.
DoSeum has a total of 104,000 square feet of space, according to Tilt-Up Concrete Association, which is divided into two parts, it has roughly 70,000 square feet of indoor and exhibition halls while the rest of the area is an outdoor play area.
It features Semmes Foundation Spy Academy, Innovation Station, Little Town, Force Course, Imagine It!, Sensations Studios, and Big Outdoors as their permanent exhibits. Every prop and material used at the facility is carefully designed and made for helping kids learn.
Spy Academy aims on providing a threat-free environment for kids to explore online communities and learn to be respectful of one another in the shared digital space. Kids or Spies, in this case, can roleplay K9 officers, Cyber-Operations Officers, or Geospatial Intelligence Agents to save the day.
Big Outdoors, as the name suggests, is an outdoor playground for everyone. The west and east yards provide several monuments and play tools to get your young ones engaged for hours.
The ticket price of $16 for everyone to get into The DoSeum is just a fraction of the price to pay.
4. Please Touch Museum
Total exhibition area: 135,000 square feet
Please Touch Museum is located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Housed in the well-known Memorial Hall, the 135,000 square feet of space has everything a kid dreams of. It has come a long way from its original space of 2,200-square-foot at the time of its opening on October 2, 1976.
Please Touch houses several permanent exhibitions and quite a few traveling ones. Adventure Camp, Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, Cents and Sensibility, Please Touch Garden, Roadside Attractions, Rocket Room, and River Adventures, are a few of the permanent exhibitions.
Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace is focused on giving children the hands-on experience of being an inventor. The place is well equipped with all the tools they might need when creating from their imagination.
Rocket Room has stars and planets suspended from the ceiling and the only way of reaching them is to launch your own rocket. The room is equipped with a mission control facility and lets your child launch their rocket while they learn everything about our solar system.
The ticket price for admission to Please Touch Museum is $19 for everyone.
3. The Strong, Rochester
Total exhibition area: 285,000 square feet
The Strong National Museum of Play aka The Strong is located in Rochester, New York, United States.
The Strong started at Margaret Woodbury Strong's home and now has outgrown several large estates and has over 285,000 square feet of exhibition space. Unlike other similar facilities, The Strong features several artifacts and collections on display in addition to the hands-on materials.
Skyline Climb, Toy Halls of Fame, Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, Wegmans Super Kids Market, American Comic Book Heroes, and Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? are to name a few permanent exhibitions on display. It also hosts a number of traveling and short-term exhibitions as well.
Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is a closed tropical environment in the middle of New York City. The enclosed space houses hundreds of brightly colored butterflies that fly about and sometimes land on you. Keep your eyes sharp as other insects and animals also move about.
American Comic Book Heroes exhibition houses inspirational superheroes of the past several decades. You can also become one by absorbing all the gamma radiation required to lift heavy objects or fly about with a cape.
All the fun at The Strong National Museum is just for a ticket price of $19 for everyone above 2 years old. However, you will need an extra ticket of $6 for visiting the butterfly garden.
2. COSI: Center of Science and Industry
Total exhibition area: 320,000 square feet
COSI or Center of Science and Industry is located in Columbus, Ohio.
COSI is not just an ordinary children's museum but a science exhibition and research center. The exhibits on offer, at the facility, are well entertaining for everyone from kids to adults, they are divided into segments and themes. The 320,000 square feet of space lets everyone explore at their own pace.
It features the AMNH Dinosaur Gallery, Planetarium, Big Science Park, Energy Explorers, and Life: The Story of You, as permanent exhibitions. There are several other ways to get entertained which change from time to time.
Big Science Park is the place for both children and adults to learn the fundamentals of science in a fun and interactive way. Are you strong enough to lift a normal 1100kg car? Your 8-year-old might beat you by employing science in his favor. You can also roll down a huge two-and-half-tonne granite boulder.
Learning about dinosaurs at AMNH Dinosaur Gallery is a fun way of spending time. You will witness millions of years old fossils and an 8-foot-long femur with your eyes at the display and learn about how our old inhabitants of the earth went about their daily lives.
COSI entry tickets cost $25 for anyone between 13 and 59 years old. Children below 13 can get their ticket for $20 and seniors will have to pay $23. There are also discount programs and packages available.
1. Children's Museum Indianapolis
Total exhibition area: 472,900 square feet
Children's Museum Indianapolis is the best and largest family museum in the world. The one of a kind is located on North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The 472,900 square feet of exhibition area spans five floors and has a huge outdoor play area. The facility features several small structures throughout its campus with most of the exhibits housed in the main building.
World's largest children's museum, it has something for everyone to enjoy from kids to adults. Some of the permanent exhibits include Take Me There: Greece, Carousel Wishes and Dreams, Mini Masterpieces, All Aboard!, and The NEW Dinosphere, among others.
The NEW Dinosphere is a revamped and renovated dinosaur-themed area with a collection of fossils and replicas. It also features several life-size replica skeletons of the million-year-old inhabitants of the earth.
Take Me There: Greece is a featured area designed and made like Greece. You will need to board the Take Me There flight to get to Greece complete with cafes and landmarks all inside the building.
It also hosts several screenings and shows related to history and science for visitors on regular basis, the shows tend to change from time to time. Be sure to check their website for more information about the screenings.
An adult ticket for Children's Museum Indianapolis costs between $18 to $25 depending on the day of your visit and for youth below the age of 18 costs between $15 to $20.