Coast to Coast: Best Children Museums in the USA
While most museums offer a small kid’s section, there’s a whole other world out there of kid-dedicated museums that take fun and learning to a whole new level. These facilities are specifically designed to engage little ones through creative, hands-on, interactive discovery and play. Each exhibit provides an educational approach to fun with science experiments, nature interactions, arts and crafts, and physically-engaging installations like wall-climbing and pretend construction. And unlike pricey theme parks and other forms of entertainment, even the highest-rated children’s museums are typically inexpensive. Plus, these exhibits cater to those big and small, so there’s plenty of fun to be had for kids of all ages. That’s why we’ve decided to gather our favorite children’s museums throughout the United States for you to discover, explore, and enjoy with your family!
This monstrous 472,900 square foot building features 5 floors of exhibits and is the single largest children’s museum the country. It's frequently ranked the best children’s museum in the USA. Dinosphere contains life-sized dinosaurs, a working paleontology lab, hands-on fossil digs, and one of the biggest collections of real fossils and dino art in the nation. Talk about adventure.
This well-known children's museum was the first one established in the US. Since then, it has been renovated to be over 100,000 square feet, and it isn’t done expanding. Neighborhood Nature is an exhibit that lets kids explore natural habitats and learn about the ecosystem. The Collections Central houses 30,000 objects from around the world, like specimens, carnival masks, and shark bones. This is one museum both little and big kids will love.
This world-class 100-year-old museum features 18 permanent exhibits with lots of temporary rotating ones. The Construction Zone exhibit inspired by Boston’s Big Dig allows kids to walk on high beams, use a jackhammer, and even ride a real Bob Cat. There’s also a 3-story climbing sculpture, a kid stage for performing, and an authentic two-story Japanese House. The museum also offers hands-on learning with classes and programs on science, math, technology, performing arts, and more!
The COSI is both a museum and a science research center existing of 320,000 square feet, making it one of the largest modern-built science centers in the United States. Located in Columbus, OH, this place offers over 300 exciting exhibits from space areas to fun gadgets and health science to deep sea exploration. There’s also a pretty amazing planetarium, radio studio, and TV for those little media lovers. One must-see program is the hair-raising Electrostatic Generator show.
This beloved museum features over 90,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, with some being outdoors, including the Weather Station, Flow Works, and Eco Station. The Science Lab features exciting and educational experiments, while the Paleontology Hall, which houses over 450 dinosaur fossils, is a very hands-on, investigative exhibit that all kids ages 2-12 can enjoy. One of the highlights is Kidtropolis, which mimics a real city where kids can become city leaders, workers, business owners, or shoppers and use the bank, check out the news center, shop at the market, eat at the diner, attend art school, and even visit a vet clinic!
This East Coast museum is a compelling destination to explore, play, and learn. The Amazing Airways exhibit wows kids with flying scarves, Built It! lets little ones collaborate on impressive fortresses, and Beanstalk let's kiddo's climb and conquer. Kaleidoscape is the ultimate outdoor entertainment for little ones to enjoy art and play (and it just so happens to be the first of its kind in the U.S)! With hands-on activities like a kid's grocery store, art studio, and doughnut factory, the fun is endless. This is one museum that kids will begging to come back to!
The name of this place says it all—Please Touch invites and encourages kids to come, interact, and play! This 2-story museum was created to make learning opportunities fun. Six interactive areas line the walls of the museum, like City Capers, which is a mock up of the city that kids can explore, and Wonderland, which lets little ones “fall down the rabbit hole” with mazes, doors, mirrors, and sip tea with the Mad Hatter. Curious and creative kiddos of all ages will enjoy this museum!
Please Touch Museum, PA.
This place is all about exploring, imagining, investigating, and creating—the exhibits allow kids to explore a real fire truck, crawl through an anthill, pretend to be a chef, create bubbles, build trucks, become an animal, shop at the market, and much more. The museum is currently undergoing a big expansion this year, which will include an awesome art studio, a teaching kitchen, and an impressive three-story climbing experience!
Known as one of the most unique and impressive museums on Earth, this museum is completely devoted to getting kids moving, playing, and having fun in their 150,000 square foot space. Inside, you'll find a working historic carousel, an indoor butterfly garden, a comic book superpower exhibit, along with licensed Sesame Street, Wizard of Oz, and Monopoly exhibits! Reading Adventureland is great for bookworms and pretend play. Bonus: all this action will have the kiddos will nice and tired for bedtime.
Do you have a mini adventurer? An artist? Sports lover? There’s something for every kid at the Port. Renovated from a fish market, this museum is located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Every exhibit is very hands-on and exploratory—perfect for busy minds. Down On The Farm, little ones can plant seeds and milk cows. In the Adventure Expeditions, kids travel back in time to search for Pharaoh’s lost tomb. In the Mystery House, kids help solve a case by hunting clues. Frankly, we want to explore this place, ourselves!