The best vacation memories aren’t necessarily made when doing nothing or visiting amusement parks. For your next family vacation, why not take an educational approach? There’s so much to see and learn all across the United States!
One of the best ways to integrate fun and learning into travel is by stopping at science museums. Just about every major city in the United States has a science museum of some kind.
Here are the best science museums in the U.S! Visiting one of these destinations this year? Plan a science day. You’ll have a blast at any of these science museums!
The MoS is undoubtedly one of the best science museums in the country! Not only does it have fantastic displays on just about every branch of science, but it even has its very own indoor zoo. You can come see over 100 rescue animals that call the Museum of Science home.
This science museum is a popular San Francisco tourist destination. It’s not only informative, but also a lot of fun! This museum is located on the famous Embarcadero, right in the heart of downtown’s most exciting district. Visit the Exploratorium for hands-on fun that is sure to delight all ages!
Address: Pier 15 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111
You’ve probably seen this D.C. science museum in Night at the Museum 2. However, there’s a lot more to this Smithsonian treasure than the few exhibits featured in the film! This is one of the world’s most-visited museums, and for good reason. It contains important pieces of aerospace history, including the Wright brothers’ plane and parts of Apollo 11. And yes, you can see the Tuskegee Airmen in the museum—but we can’t promise their statues will come alive and start talking to you.
Address: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
This scientific collection is housed in a gorgeous Romanesque building in the Windy City. The Museum of Science and Industry contains a wide range of fascinating scientific items, including German U-boats, trains, a genetics exhibit, and much more! Be sure to visit the FarmTech exhibit, which shows how modern farmers ply their trade in a technology-driven world. This museum is an essential Chicago experience.
This incredible Ohio museum has over 300 exhibits! You could spend all day here and never see everything on display. There’s a lot to do! Visit the Ocean exhibit to learn about both the natural and technological side of our planet’s water system. Or, head to Space to tour a replica space station and learn how space exploration works! There’s even a Gadgets area, where you can play with mechanic elements to learn how they function. See all of this and much more! It’s little wonder that COSI is considered one of the best science museums for families.
California is home to not just one, but two of the best science museums in the U.S. Not to be outdone by San Francisco, Los Angeles features the California Science Center (or, as locals like to spell it, ScienCenter) in Exposition Park. This is a massive hands-on science museum! It has a wide variety of permanent exhibits, including Ecosystems, Creative World (including architecture, energy, and more), World of Life, and Air and Space. This is a great place for both kids and adults to spend an afternoon.
Address: 700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
This institution serves as both a research facility and a family-friendly museum experience. Naturally, as Philadelphia’s top science attraction, it is named after they city’s most famously inventive resident: Benjamin Franklin. Of course, it has a display about Franklin’s discovery of electricity, in addition to its other exhibitions. Other favorite exhibits include the Giant Heart, and aviation display, and even a sports zone. Although this museum appeals to a modern audience, it is actually one of the oldest science museums in the United States! It was founded nearly 200 years ago, in 1824.
This Minnesota science museum has been educating northerners for over a hundred years! This museum has a wide variety of displays. Little ones will certainly be fascinated by the dinosaur exhibit, including Fafnir the triceratops skeleton! Among other exhibits, the museum also features the Mississippi River Gallery, which offers a local take on the river and nearby national park. The most innovative display in the museum is an exhibit called RACE: Are We So Different? This part of the museum explores the cultural, historical, and biological components of race and discusses social issues.
Next time you’re in North Carolina, be sure to make a trip to Discover Place! This is a super-fun, kid-friendly, fantastic place to spend a day. Besides the main building, there are three additional branches of this museum. The first is Discovery Place Nature, which includes a butterfly pavilion, live animals, and interactive exhibits. The second is Discovery Place Kids, which offers learn-through-play experience. The third is Discovery Place Education Studio, which offers professional development to educators. If you ever get bored by the many exhibits and programs at Discovery Place, you can always take a trip to the in-house IMAX Dome Theater!
This STEM-focused museum in Little Rock is a fantastic place for families to explore! If you want science, technology, and math to excite your kids, this is the place to go. You’ll be able to interact with all the displays in this museum, from foam architecture to ball mazes and physical activities. Your kids will have so much fun, they won’t even know they are learning! Or, better yet, they’ll discover that learning can actually be a whole lot of fun. Don’t miss this when you visit Little Rock.
Address: 500 President Clinton Ave #150, Little Rock, AR 72201