Top 5 Children’s Museums That Are Fun for Everyone!
Top 5 Children’s Museums
Spring time is here and that is a good time to start planning some activities for you and your children. This year, instead of doing the same old routine – like going to the beach or pool, try something new. Thanks to earlychildhoodeducationzone.com we were able to look into 25 different children’s museums that are not only fun and education, but are also accessible for everyone in the family. We then picked out the top five museums that are best for children with different abilities, whether that be wheelchair bound or a visual impairment, these museums have just the accommodations you need.
#5 Edventure Childrens Museum- Columbia, south Carolina
Edventure Children’s Museum takes 5th place on our list. This museum offers more than just your typical museum. EDVenture is designed to influence developing minds with educational and creative programs such as Fire and Life Safety, Big Ed Health, The Cooking Lab, and even Camp. Within the museum there are different exhibits; some include Body Detectives, where you get to uncover the inner workings of the body, a Wag and Whiskers exhibit where you get a feel of what its like ___ to be a veterinarian and much more. Their website is very easy to navigate through and their section on accessibility and inclusion is very thorough. They have accommodations ranging from wheelchair accessibility, elevators for all three floors and even food and allergen assistance. Admission for children and adults is $11.95, which is not bad considering all you get to do here.
#4 Madison Children’s Museum – Madison, Wisconsin
Madison Children’s Museum is next on our list coming in at number 4 on our places to explore. This museum caught our eye and we’re sure it will catch yours too. The exhibits vary from an indoor art studio, a Funkyard, a Log Cabin and much more. This museum brings to life imagination through exploration, especially in their non-traditional style displays. The Funkyard is an upcycled outdoor exhibit where kids can try out an oversized scooter obstacle course, make music, play dress up, and enjoy stage performances. The Log Cabin, going a bit further back in time, teaches kids what it’s like to live in “old” Wisconsin. Kids can cook on the open hearth, write with quill pens, play games, churn butter, harvest vegetables, try a two-man saw, and more. On their website you will find information on the museum’s accessibility which is also rather impressive. Service animals are welcome and the staff working the museum floors receive assistance training and available upon request at the front desk are adult- and child-sized wheelchairs and crutches. General admission for adults and children is $9 and they are open Tuesday- Sunday from 9:30 AM- 5:00 PM.
#3 Portland Children’s Museum – Portland, Oregon
Portland Children’s Museum is taking our third spot on the list. With almost double the exhibits than the last two museums, Portland Children’s Museum is sure to excite you and your child this spring break. They have a garage, a clay studio, grocery and bistro, a pet hospital, a twilight trail and even a water-works section. The Twilight Trail invites children to play with light and shadows where it is dark enough to make kids feel brave. The Garage section is where kids are encouraged to used old recyclable goods and transform them into new works of art. Lastly, there is the Water Works; children explore gravity, currents, cause and effect, and much more as they crank, pour, and float their way through this all-star exhibit. The new Outdoor Adventure area is designed with accessibility in mind and the staff members are always on hand to offer any assistance that may be needed. The indoor space is also designed to welcome all children. Children using wheelchairs can pull up to a worktable in the Clay Studio, Garage and even the ever-popular Water Works exhibit offers low tubs and watertables. With general admission being $11, we’re sure you and your family will enjoy this museum.
#2 Boston’s Children’s Museum – Boston Massachusetts
Our “first runner-up” for museums to explore this spring break is Boston Children’s Museum. With over 18 exhibits, we are sure you and your family will find the perfect fit. Some of the exhibits include: Bubbles, Arthur and Friends, KEVA planks, Japanese House and Kid Power Station. Discover all that you can do with bubbles: you can blow, stretch, twirl and pop bubbles in this interactive display for younger kids. KEVA Planks captivate children of all ages – toddlers, preschoolers, and older children, as well as adults. Every KEVA piece is the same, approximately 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long. You build structures by simply stacking the planks. No glue, no connectors and it’s fun for everyone. Next to every exhibit (as explained on their website) the museum offers information on what exactly is being taught throughout each demonstration. Some offer communication skills, problem solving skills and much more. Accessibility options even include the following: ASL Interpreted Programs and Morningstar Access. The Morningstar Access program offers children with special needs/medical needs the opportunity to visit the Museum at a time when there are only a few other visitors. At these times, they have a limit of 100 guests, and children and their families can explore the Museum with less concern about infections and large crowds. If you, or your child, have food allergies that prevent you from eating in the lunchroom, you can ask a staff member for assistance. The resource room in the Play Space exhibit is a peanut-free zone.
Latex is not allowed in the Museum, so, all balloons at birthday parties must be mylar.
General admission for adults is $18.00. www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/visit
#1 Children’s Museum – Indianapolis, Indiana
Last, but certainly not least, our number one children’s museum goes to the biggest children museum in the world; The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana. If the exhibits inside don’t attract your attention, then maybe the life-like dinosaurs standing outside the museum will. Some of the exhibits include, the Dinosphere; Take me there: China; Fireworks of Glass; Treasure’s of the Earth, and even a chocolate themed slide attraction. Transport back in time 65 millions years and explore life with the dinosaurs in the interactive Dinosphere. Here, your child will come face to face with full-size dinosaur skeletons, dig for dinosaur bones, see one of the largest displays of juvenile dinosaur fossils in the world and touch an authentic T-Rex bone. Another neat exhibit is the Treasure’s of the Earth display that allows you and your child to visit a working archaeology lab, reconstruct a terra cotta warrior, decipher hieroglyphics to identify a royal mummy, take a simulated journey deep into an Egyptian tomb and see artifacts used by Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies. Another reason why you and your child will enjoy this museum is because of how helpful their facility is. Most areas of the museum are barrier free and the museums will give a complimentary admission ticket to a licensed care provider for visitors requiring medical assistance to visit (the Care provider must provide an employee badge from a licensed facility and a matching photo ID). There is first aid available and even hearing impaired services including American Sign Language (ASL) Performances and ASL interpreters are provided for select Lilly Theater performances. Admission for Youth (ages 2-17) is $18.50 and must be accompanied by an adult. Adult (Ages 18-59) is $22.50.
Whether you live near or far from these locations, we encourage you and your family to be bold and try something new this Spring. If traveling to some of these locations isn’t practical, perhaps this list might just encourage you to try to locate a museum closer to you and see the interesting exhibits they offer. You just might have a great time AND learn something in the process.
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2016 Magazine