There's endless charm in watching your little one explore and learn new things -- specifically in a world created for them. Here's a short list of some of my favorite children's museums, and some I can't wait to check out.
Brooklyn Children's Museum | Brooklyn, NY.
A pioneer in kid museums (it was founded in 1899!), my kids absolutely love it here. Its permanent collection houses over 30,000 objects from cultures all around the world. The Garden and Con Edison Greenhouse invite kids to get their hands dirty while learning about plants and eco-systems.
Boston Children's Museum | Boston, MA.
Instantly recognizable by the iconic Hood bottle outside, this museum has been around for over 100 years and is my hometown favorite. Popular exhibits like Countdown To Kindergarten allow kids to fake it 'til they make it! The beautiful Japanese House mimics a silk merchant’s home from Kyoto. A three-story climbing sculpture lets children get physical inside and make their way through a "3D full body puzzle” -- my kids’ favorite. Cultural programs, such as the Boston Lyric Opera, make it a winner in my book.
Please Touch Children's Museum | Philadelphia, PA.
This hands-on museum is on my short list of to-dos by sheer virtue of its title -- nothing is off limits! The Flight Fantasy exhibit engages a child's imagination through creating movement with their own energy. Wonderland is a popular exhibit inspired by the "topsy-turvy" world of Alice in Wonderland. A theater, music and movement, art programming, story time and character appearances invite repeat visits. The antique carousel is a timeless bonus!
Children's Museum of Phoenix | Phoenix, AZ.
This museum is a must-see. Kids get to play big in a village just their size, making their own play food out of textured fabrics, like silk. An amazing climb space puts visitors high above the action with a bird's eye view. This museum even has Pedal Power; a safe place for your child to learn how to master a tricycle, complete with road signs!
Strong National Museum of Play | Rochester, NY.
Curious little ones will love the Dancing Wings Butterfly Museum lined with brilliantly colored plants, emerging butterflies and feather friends. If you’ve got a toddler that enjoys the experience of grocery shopping, there’s Wegmans Super Kids Market perfect for their little hands. They can cruise down the aisles with their own shopping cart and pick out goodies.
The Exploratorium | San Francisco, CA.
The Tinkering Studio is a wing of the museum designed for hands on learning. Children can learn how to connect mechanical systems with natural phenomena, sure to make little ones “ooh and ahh.” One of their most popular exhibits, Light Painting, explores how to use light as an artistic expression.
Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.
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