Children’s Museums are wonderful places for kids and grandchildren of all ages. They’re places designed specifically for children—spaces in which they can learn through play and exploration. No one says “Don’t touch” in children’s museums. They’re supposed to touch and throw and run and climb and enjoy themselves. It is a play environment without stress. There are only safety rules, not right and wrong answers. They’re places for interaction and fun which will later translate to reflection. It’s a hands-on kind of learning.
The first Children’s Museum in the U.S. was the Brooklyn Children’s Museum which opened its doors in 1899. Today there are 300 Children’s Museums in the U.S. and 65 more in the planning stages. They tend to be located in major cities and reflect the cultural diversity of the area. The best ones have experiences designed for all age groups including babies 0-3 years of age. Most of them have open areas with specific play prompts such as kitchens and restaurants, water play areas, doctor’s offices or climbing structures in the shape of a ship or a construction site. The themes encourage pretend play and lots of interaction. Theses museums also offer story hours, puppet plays, art experiences, musical experiences and specific classes at designated times.
Here are several of the very best Children’s Museums and their most popular exhibits and spaces.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis located in Indianapolis, Indiana
This award-winning museum has play experiences for all ages and exhibits that encourage an entire family to take part together. Here are some of their most spectacular offerings:
A Fireworks of Glass sculpture by famed glass worker, Dale Chihuly. It is over 43 Feet tall and includes 3200 pieces of glass with 1600 more in the ceiling.
A turn of the century carousel.
The Lilly Theater where the current presentation is a performance of The Tortoise And the Hare.
Experience Dinosphere. You’re in their world now.
Scienceworks where you’ll marvel at nature, wonder at the things people create and get dirty.
Cultural exhibits such as the current Take Me There: Egypt! Visit their market-places, eat their food, see their artwork and much more.
The Power of Children Gallery dedicated to young people who have made a difference.
A 130 seat planetarium.
A newly designed Playscape area is designed for toddlers where they will play in Mr. Bear’s Playhouse, enjoy sand tables, dress up and role play, draw and sculpt and climb, walk, walk and crawl through baby-sized structures.
The Children’s Museum of Houston in Houston, Texas
Here’s another top-notch Children’s Museum recommended by the Children’s Museum Organization as one of the best. Some of their special exhibits and activities are:
The Building Zone where kids construct their own homes, forts or anything else they can think up. Wood, plastic and a variety of building materials are available.
Cum Yah Gullah, a cultural exhibit which teaches about the West African Gullah People. Hear folk tales, learn how to live off the land and sing the songs of the People.
Cyberchase where kids learn math as they track down the evil hacker.
Eco-Station where children learn about gardens, woodlands, ponds, and do Research in the research pavilion. Feed the birds, learn about solar energy and learn to do soil tests.
Flow Works is a giant water experience. Learn to make a water tornado and work together to cause a giant water flow.
Kidtropolis is a city run by kids. They will find jobs, earn and spend money and even run for Mayor.
Matter Factory will provide experiences with molecules and atoms. Kids will solve problems of density, conductivity and viscosity of matter.
Newton Know How is a place to experience the laws of gravity in a number of Activities.
Children’s Museums are wonderful places. They are constantly designing new learning experiences for children in the areas of art, science, math, culture, the environment and more. They are dedicated to providing creative learning experiences for children. For more information on Children’s Museums around the world and all they offer, see the following: