The 10 Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.

The 10 Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.

Escape to a place where there’s no need to use indoor voices, and your kids can touch EVERYTHING! Can’t you almost hear their mental gears churning and feet pounding as they race down the hallways towards their next discovery? National Geographic’s The 10 Best of Everything: Families guarantees you’ll want to stay the whole day at these museums:

1.The Boston Children’s Museum 

 300 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, 617-426-6500

There are two goals here: engaging families and building communities to help kids become creative, curious, global, green, and healthy. At “Boats Afloat,” kids can sail an assortment of boats and barges while controlling the current in an amazing 28-foot, 800-gallon tank. Come for the wonderful climbing structure!

2. Strong National Museum of Play 

1 Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607, 585-263-2700

Home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, games, and other items that celebrate play. The indoor butterfly garden is a great place to walk among approximately 800 brilliantly colored butterflies. Don’t miss the craft stations.

3. Brooklyn Children’s Museum

145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213, 718-735-4400     

The first museum created especially for children, this museum has engaged children and their families since 1899. Exhibits include “Totally Tot” and “World Brooklyn.” In “Neighborhood Nature” you can visit a freshwater pond, a beach, a garden, and an urban woodland.

4. Port Discovery Children’s Museum

35 Market Pl., Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-727-8120           

A “ginormous” slide and climbing structure is the centerpiece of this interactive museum. “Wonders of Water” is the museum’s newest exhibit.

5. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208, 317-334-3322       

The largest children’s museum in the world lets kids explore physical and natural sciences, history, world cultures, and the arts. Immerse yourself in three environments—a brightly colored underwater coral reef, a dinosaur discovery area, and an Egyptian tomb.

6. Madison Children’s Museum

100 State St., Madison, WI 53703, 608-256-6445

A cool “green” exhibit, “First Feats” and its child-centered activities support the healthy development of infants and preschoolers. Adults can compare notes with other caregivers, find out more about infant brain development, or tap in to community resources. In 2010, new location is 100 N. Hamilton.

7. Discovery Center Museum

711 N. Main St., Rockford, IL 61103, 815-963-6769

Explore Rock River Discovery Park, the first community-built outdoor science park in the U.S. Design a Mars Rover or space station in “Robotics Lab.” “Air & Flight” teaches the four basic principles of flight, demonstrates aerodynamics, and promotes principles of scientific inquiry.

8. The Children’s Museum of Houston

500 Binz, Houston, TX 77004, 713-552-1138      

“Yalálag, A Mountain Village in Mexico” replicates a real Oaxacan village. See live chicks hatch at “Farm to Market,” solve mental mind benders in the “Think Tank,” chase dragonflies, scoop pond water, and make animal tracks in “My Home Planet Earth.”

9. Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 W. Seventh St., St. Paul, MN 55102, 651-225-6000                                                                                                                                                                                
Visit “Rooftop Art Park,” where art and nature converge with a great view of St. Paul. Kids scramble up to a 12-foot tree fort and dance under the shadow dome, mimicking tree shapes and shadows.

10. Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110, 408-298-5437                                                                                                                                               
The striking 52,000-square-foot purple building explores themes of community, connections, and creativity. In “Alice’s Wonderland,” kids step into a fairytale that exercises math, science, and literacy.

Not to be Missed:

Please Touch Museum, Pa     

Kidspace Children’s Museum, Ca

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pa            

A great resource to find a children’s museum near you:

Association of Children’s Museums

“Children’s museums put learning into the hands of children and make learning empowering, creative, and fun.”                                                                                   —Janet Rice Elman, Association of Children’s Museums



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