The best museums for kids are the ones with a focus on interaction. With only 200 children's museums in the country, interactive educational opportunities are few and far between.
What makes the best children's museums in the USA is an intense focus on childlike themes, a high degree of interaction, and fun educational value.
From climbing walls and various structures and hands-on interactive displays to physically engrossing facilities, there is an abundance of fun to be had for children of all ages.
Almost every city has one, and there’s no reason not to take your kids or grandkids.
So, without further ado, here are the best children's museums in the USA. (We found 30 of them!)
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One of the qualifiers for best children's museums in the US should always include dinosaurs trying to break into the museum.
Of course, they aren't real dinosaurs, but the aesthetic is pretty impressive, to say the least. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis also happens to be the largest children's museum in America.
The museum has five floors and is filled to the brim with activities, challenges, and even some fun for the adults.
There is a lot for children to tinker with, but adults are also not forgotten. There are things that you will enjoy, like the permanent Dale Chihuly exhibit, an antique carousel, and a two-story high water clock.
It also includes the dinosphere, one of the most impressive dinosaur displays in the world. The sphere itself contains several exciting shows and exhibits as well.
The Dinosphere is one of the museum's biggest draws, and the museum covers over 473,000 square feet of real estate—a gigantic entertainment and learning center almost entirely dedicated to kids.
Address: 3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Indianapolis and The Best Dinosaur Museums in the US
Kids like to put their hands on everything in the store, so why not take them to a place where touching and picking up everything is perfectly fine? The number of hands-on displays at the Please Touch Museum is incredible.
While kids of all ages can enjoy the museum, the exhibits and interactive activities are primarily geared toward children 5 and under.
Most exhibits are fully interactive and designed for parent/child participation. The best part is the museum's close location to the Philadelphia Zoo.
Kids can put together, schedule, and maneuver their own trains in Centennial Exploration, or excavate balls and unload them with a front-end digger in City Capers.
There are numerous fun places to explore. There are arts and crafts and painting classes, a toy supermarket, and even an Alice in Wonderland display.
The best part is the museum is open Monday through Saturday, so you can only miss it if you happen to be in the area on a Sunday. They stay open from 9 am to 5 pm; admission is $19.
Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Also Read: Top 25 Attractions & Things To Do in Philadelphia
Another one of the biggest museums in the world, the Boston Children's Museum, features a three-story climbing activity and 50,000 permanent, museum-owned artifacts for kids to learn about.
The museum also features immersive videos and rotating exhibits.
For the most part, the museum caters to kids aged 9 and under, although kids slightly above that age can probably find something to entertain themselves as well.
There is a KEVA planks building area, a construction zone, golf balls going down a swirly trail in Raceways, a school bus, and of course, some trains.
The museum provides a fantastic mix of calm activities and places to be rambunctious.
If you're not sure where to go, the museum features a guided tour, and there are plenty of places to stop and eat along the way.
The museum was founded in 1913, so it's no stranger to entertaining children after over 100 years of doing just that.
Locals say the crowds are never too intense, and the age range ranges from infant to nine.
Address: 308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Boston
Out of the four on the list so far, this is the most colorful museum from an exterior aesthetic standpoint.
According to the locals, the staff at the Children's Museum of Houston is outstanding, and the museum itself is enormous, covering 90,000 square feet.
Admission is $15, and, in return, you get a full day of interactive activities, the Kid's Hall, and over 20 major exhibits throughout the building.
Some exhibits include STEM learning, which imparts much-needed skills for the future. There's also a library for the kids who love to spend time with a good book.
The Kid's Hall is the heart and soul of the museum, and it's the first thing you encounter when you walk in the doors.
With a wealth of games and hands-on activities such as a Bubble Lab, they feature an exciting Matter Factory for the young scientists, an inventor’s workshop, an Eco Station, a visit to a mountain village in Mexico, or a place for kids to play different roles such as a policeman, a nurse, and a doctor.
The best news is there are no two things alike in the entire facility. There's something new and fascinating to explore around every corner.
Address: 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004
Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Houston
Kohl Children's Museum is located in the northern suburb of Glenview and is often considered one of the best children's museums in the US.
Providing a hands-on learning laboratory for kids ages birth to 8, the Kohl Children's Museum offers interesting and educational workshops that are a lot of fun.
Kids will always find something to suit their interests, such as Cooperation Station, Habitat Park, Nature Explorers, Ravina Festival Music Makers, Pet Vet or Play Café are just a few of their many permanent exhibits.
There's also a "pediatrician" activity center that gives children the opportunity to play doctor, something just about every toddler plays at one time or another.
Address: 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview, IL 60026
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Chicago
The first thing you see when you walk into the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey is a strange ballroom ball that expands and contracts while you look at it.
It certainly makes your brain feel a little weird, but that's only the first of many incredible things.
What makes the Liberty Science Center one of the best kid's museums in the US is its focus on massive interactive activities, such as the Infinity Climber, a wholly suspended climbing space that's as fun to watch as it is to participate in.
The center also includes films, exhibitions, and a big, sneezing nose in the contagion center.
If you visit New Jersey or just moved there, the Liberty Science Center should be the top spot on your to-do list. It's a phenomenal place to take your kids, and you'll probably find yourself eager for a return visit shortly.
Address: 222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Also Read: The Best Science Museums in the US
Port Discovery Children's Museum’s motto is to educate children and inspire enduring inquisitiveness.
As with most children's museums, Port Discovery is a massive, interactive center with a ton of fun activities for kids to take part in.
With exhibits such as Kick it up!- an indoor soccer stadium, and when not in use, it turns into an arena where kids can skate, snowboard and surf through tricky paths.
You can show your moves in i-Danceoff, or solve a perplexing case of the Baffle family in Miss Perception’s Mystery House.
What separates this museum from many others is the encouragement for parent involvement as well.
It includes a narrow footbridge, the Wonders of Water exhibit, a jungle gym with futuristic themes, and a place for kids to cook called Tiny's Diner.
Port Discovery is one of the top children's museums in the world for many good reasons, but primarily because of its parent-child interactive possibilities.
Address: 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Baltimore
Though it may sound like a government building, the Center of Science and Industry is one of the best museums for kids in the US.
Out of the museums on this list so far, this museum contains elements of both children's and adult exhibits. For the most part, however, it's geared toward kids.
The Planetarium is probably the best exhibit in the entire building and is easily one of the most popular attractions.
Kids can ride in a space shuttle, see the planets, stars, and universe, and learn more about our oceans.
Address: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Columbus
The Minnesota Children's Museum is all about "learning by doing." Kids will be able to learn how paper is made, make giant bubbles, see the science behind it, build a castle, and run a restaurant.
There is something to entertain children from toddlers down to crawling preschoolers with outdoor, interactive exhibits and learning to make dance videos.
The three major exhibitions include the Earth World with Minnesota Habitats, Our World, and World Works.
The Minnesota Children's Museum put together one of the most stunning and incredible water displays, combined with light, color, and shadow.
It's truly impressive, and you should put it down on your to-do list when you visit with the kiddos.
Address: 10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in St. Paul
Not only the Madison Children's Museum is known for being one of the best children's museums in the US, but it's also a fantastic place for wedding receptions. This is especially true for wedding receptions where many kids will be present.
This museum is one of the most colorful museums on the list, and it's packed to the brim with unique and entertaining activities and exhibits.
These include the Giant Bluegill, the Wilderness Bone Bridge, Rooftop Chickens (chickens are always endlessly fun), and the Rooftop Ramble.
Madison Children's Museum is an award-winning museum because of its extensive, massive, and safe activities and exhibits throughout.
The place even includes its own interior village known as the Wildernest. The entire village is constructed of natural materials brought in from the local area.
Address: 100 N Hamilton St, Madison, WI 53703
The Strong National Museum of Play contains the world’s largest collection of toys.
Alone, that’s pretty impressive since there are a lot of toys in this world.
Babies, infants, toddlers, and young children will all find something to do here and some way to fascinate themselves.
The Strong Museum covers a massive 285,000 square feet of real estate, and it's all packed with things to do.
For modern kids, there are loads of video games and arcade machines to hit up, and some of the exhibits include massive collections of classic toys that even adults will find nostalgic, at the very least.
Address: 1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 14607
The residents of Denver, Colorado, will be the first to tell you that the Children’s Museum of Denver is one of the best children's museums in the US.
They may be right. The Museum at Marisco Campus contains a 2,300 square foot art studio, which kids are always, instantly attracted to.
A life-size marble run, a massive climbing structure, water activities, digging activities, and a hundred other things that cater to most children's age groups are found here.
It's one of those things where you should set aside your entire day. This is not a museum that can be fully appreciated in just a couple of hours.
Address: 2121 Children's Museum Dr, Denver, CO 80211
Also Read: The Best Denver Attractions and Things To Do
If the word ends with "atorium," it's a good bet that something seriously impressive awaits you.
The Exploratorium is a hands-on, scientific endeavor aimed at teaching kids.
For that reason alone, it's one of the best children's museums in the US, whether listed as such or not.
The facilities within are massive and never cease to impress.
Not only you'll find tons of activities for both children and adults, but the Exploratorium also offers the Seaglass Restaurant and the Seismic Joint Cafe.
The permanent exhibits are so impressive that they bring back the crowds year in and year out.
Despite the size and the number of things to do, there are no guided tours on offer.
You’re free to come and go as you please and explore the exhibits and activities at your own pace.
Address: Pier 15 Embarcadero at, Green St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Also Read: The Best San Francisco Attractions and Things To Do
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburg is a fantastic destination for families, and the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having been there since the late 1800s.
The Planetarium used to be next door, but now it's part of the entire museum.
Recently, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburg was listed as one of the best children’s museums in the US.
It includes the planetarium, as mentioned above, a Makeshop, a nursery, a tinkering space, a kindness gallery, and an exhibit called Garage and Waterplay.
Within these spaces, kids can learn how to put together circuit boards, and wood materials, learn how to sew and discover how tools work.
Of course, they also learn how these things work, not just how to put them together, which is arguably more important and effective.
Address: 10 Children's Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
One of the coolest aspects of the Miami Children’s Museum is the fact that it's located on an island off the coast of Florida.
As a children's museum, the Miami museum does a fantastic job entertaining and educating the younger crowd.
The museum is loaded with activities and exhibits, the latter of which are also mostly interactive, and the fact that it's air-conditioned is an absolute blessing in South Florida.
The cost of admission is a little on the steep side, but it's more than worth the expenditure for a day loaded with activities.
The museum includes a 6-foot piggy bank, a massive sand castle (Castle of Dreams), a Music Makers Studio, and many more.
Address: 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Also Read: The Best Miami Attractions and Things To Do
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum stands out from the reflective glass, grays, browns, and blacks that encompass the majority of New York City’s daylight aesthetic.
It's bright orange, yellow, and red, so it's not difficult to locate visually.
The rooftop garden is one of the biggest draws of the museum because the elevation in New York City is the name of the game.
There are over 20,000 cultural artifacts throughout the museum, including plant and animal specimens presented in such a way that it interests children.
Not only are they attractive, entertaining, and pervasive throughout the museum, but they are also award-winning exhibitions that are just as impressive to adult visitors as they are to the kids.
Address: 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Also Read: Top NYC Attractions and Things To Do
One thing that separates the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena from most of the other kid's museums in the country is its equal focus on outdoor activities.
You get a bit of both at Kidspace, and it's refreshing to see a lot of outdoor activities as well, especially in the beautiful outdoor environment of Pasadena.
The primary age group for Kidspace is 6 to 10 years old.
The museum includes fun activities such as bottle rockets (design and operation), foam blocks, and pulley chairs.
It's not just a matter of watching these things but learning how they operate and having a hand in making them.
The outdoor tricycle tracks are also a blast, and there are plenty of opportunities for taking fantastic pictures and developing lifelong memories.
Address: 480 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91103
The Children’s Museum of Manhatten is considered one of the top children's museums in the USA and for a good reason.
One of the major attractions at the Manhatten museum is the NYPD (New York Police Department) Mounted Unit.
It offers a full and entertaining breakdown of the mounted unit's long history of operation throughout the city of New York.
The City Splash exhibit is always fun, along with the PlayWorks exhibit, the Art Lab programs, and the family-friendly restaurants.
The museum targets a wide swath of age groups, and there is something for 1-year-olds right alongside exhibits with a focus on 13 to 17-year-olds.
Address: 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
What makes the Children’s Museum of Phoenix one of the top children's museums in the USA is its massive 300-plus attractions.
It's certainly not the biggest museum on the list, only covering about 48,000 square feet of real estate. However, they do a lot with only a little.
One of the most common themes heard from locals and tourists who visited the museum is its ability to burn off all their kid’s energy for the day.
That is something that most parents can come together on. The museum is also strategically located next to the Arizona Science Center.
You can get some adult time with more complicated scientific exhibits while entertaining the kids.
Admission is $16, and you'll easily find enough to do here to last the entire day.
Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Also Read: Top Phoenix Attractions and Things To Do
There's always something fun to do in Georgia, and now, you can add the Children’s Museum of Atlanta to an already extensive list.
The museum is hard to miss, with a streamlined welcome format and a stack of books in the shape of a person doing a hand-stand.
Admission is standard fare and not as expensive as some of the others on the list.
The interior is built with space in mind, and there are colorful and entertaining attractions everywhere you turn.
The museum is also located right next to the Centennial Olympic Park, which is entertaining in its own right.
There are many activities for kids to engage in here, including old-school bread making, sand art, wood shops, and a children's planetarium.
They even have a small grocery store where kids can learn the value of healthy shopping and expenditures.
Address: 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Also Read: Top Atlanta Attractions and Things To Do
Kids love a bouncy tube, and the New Children’s Museum in San Diego has a huge one.
Even some adults love these things, so if you do, go for it. To each their own, after all.
This museum has a laser-like focus on art, and the kids will have a blast opening all the little creative doors in their minds.
Art doesn't just stop at paints, crayons, and coloring pencils, however.
Lights are a huge theme as well, and kids are free to mix light and art until their hearts are content.
The museum is a vast space, so you will never feel crowded, no matter how many show up and what day you go.
The New Children's Museum is also one of California's first "green" museums to open a shop offering creative and educational gift items.
When your bellies start growling, there is also a lovely cafe inside the museum.
Address: 200 W Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Also Read: Top San Diego Attractions and Things To Do
EdVenture, in South Carolina, is one of the best museums for kids in the state and well beyond South Carolina's borders.
The museum structure covers 92,000 feet of real estate, and there are many activities to explore within.
There are over 300 exhibits to observe, appreciate, and take part in, along with themes for each season—summertime, spring, fall, and winter.
EdVenture includes EDDIE, a 40' tall child structure you can crawl up, and it weighs 35,000 lbs!
The museum also includes Autoworks, World of Work, My Backyard, Wags and Whiskers, FLIGHT, a Musical Floor Exhibit, and the Great Outdoors (not associated with the movie of the same name, starring John Candy.
Address: 211 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201
Another of the best kid’s museums in the US that’s located in Florida, Glazer Children’s Museum is an exciting tourist location.
The building resembles a gigantic LEGO construction of mostly white LEGOs with a splash of orange, red, yellow, green, and blue.
The primary focus is children 12 and under, and the building encompasses 53,000 square feet.
Like many of the best children's museums, Glazer includes a mock grocery store for kids to learn the value of expenditure and healthy foods.
There is also an on-site cafe with plenty of deli sandwiches and snacks, along with hundreds of fun and interactive exhibits.
After the tour, the kids can cool off at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park just down the street.
Address: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Also Read: Top Tampa Attractions and Things To Do
The second museum in San Fransisco, California, the Children’s Creativity Museum, is just as good as the Exploratorium and more of a museum.
The fact that the museum sits near the Yerba Buena Gardens only makes the trip better.
If you get an opportunity to do both, you certainly should.
You'll also find a historic contraption within the building, known as the 1906 LeRoy King Carousel, which has been under operation for over a century.
It's a relic and a joy at the same time.
It's a rain-or-shine museum, with cover provided for its outdoor activities during rainy days.
The price of admission is a little steep, but it's well worth an enjoyable trip to one of the best museums for kids in the San Fransisco area and the state of California as a whole.
Address: 221 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Here we have another museum for children located in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.
It sounds a lot like the Center of Science and Industry in Ohio.
In many ways, it's very similar but no less of a fantastic trip destination because of it.
The Museum of Science and Industry encompasses 14 acres of property within Hyde Park.
That means you will find a lot to do both indoors and outdoors. It includes an incredible Apollo 8 module and even an IMAX theater.
This is also a primary destination for field trips from the local schools in the area, so expect to see many kids there, especially during the regular school year.
Address: 5700 S Dusable Lk Shr Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
Also Read: The Most Unusual Things To Do in Chicago
Mainly a scientific museum, Discover Place in North Carolina is science harnessed and focused on younger, insatiably curious minds.
It includes some incredible scientific exhibits and plenty of hands-on interaction with kids.
That includes the KidScience exhibit for young kids, Discovery Place Science, Science Rocks, and an IMAX theater.
There are ample activities to explore, and if your kids don't come out with w healthy appreciation for science and an even more curious mind, you're doing something wrong.
Address: 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Yeah, it's a very long name, but it tells you exactly what this place is, and it's a blast for kids.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art was founded by Eric Carle himself, a renowned illustrator with over 70 books throughout his lifetime.
As you can imagine, there are huge studios within the building, entirely focused on art, especially from a drawing standpoint.
There are also a ton of rotating exhibits throughout the building—some including up to 1,200 different illustrations to look at.
If your child is showing a propensity for art, regardless of how it is taking form, this is a truly special place and, if you live close, should be on your to-do list.
Address: 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA 01002
This gigantic purple building is reminiscent of Barney the Dinosaur, mainly because it's in the same shade of purple.
It's also located next to the Tech Museum, so you might be able to fit in two museums on the day.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is loaded with fun activities for children, including the Wonder Cabinet, the WaterWays (a mix of water tube slides and play ball pits), and a fantastic art studio.
Address: 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110
Illinois is really on the map when it comes to children’s museums. This one is no less than the others on this list.
The DuPage Children’s Museum may be one of the top children’s museums in the USA.
DuPage does a phenomenal job of mixing fun and learning in all of its exhibits, something that’s not altogether easy on the best of days.
DuPage has what is called Exhibit Neighborhoods, with each neighborhood presenting a particular focus, with multiple exhibits within.
It's one of those places where you can simply let your child walk ahead of you and turn towards whatever strikes their fancy, which will probably be a lot.
Address: 301 N Washington St, Naperville, IL 60540
The Doseum in San Antonio, Texas, is renowned for capturing your attention the moment you walk in the door.
That's because you are instantly greeted by Little Town, which is a huge "kid" city full of buildings, streets, and businesses.
The museum also includes things like the Spy Academy, Dream Tomorrow Today, and the Big Outdoors.
All of the exhibits feature some fantastic, interactive activities that can entertain for hours unless you pull your child along in an attempt to see and do everything in a single day.
Address: 2800 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209
Also Read: The Best San Antonio Attractions and Things To Do
Probably the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. USA Today features a top ten list every year that determines the winner, and this museum is number one more often than not.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis takes the cake again. Not only is it the biggest children's museum in the US, but also in the world.
It's generally a close call between the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, and the Toy Museum in Munich, Germany.
There you have it—thirty of the best children’s museums in the United States. Since there are 200 of them, these thirty are by no means a representation of the whole. The other 170 children’s museums are fantastic in their own right.
So long as the museum is well-kept, contains plenty of activities that challenge and invigorate your children’s minds, and is entertaining for parents, it belongs on your to-do list as well as the thirty on this list.