America’s Best Children’s Museums by State
Whether you’re vacationing with family or just exploring your home state, visiting a children’s museum is an experience that can be just as fun for parents as it is for kids.
With activities that keep little ones busy and entertained while teaching valuable lessons about science, math and art, many children’s museums offer much more than your typical kid-focused attractions. Think innovation labs, bubble walls and archaeological digs.
Definitely not your average children’s museums, here are some of our favorites in every single state.
Alabama: Children’s Hands-on Museum of Tuscaloosa
Learning through play is the focus of this museum, which features 25 hands-on exhibits scattered across three floors.
Newborns through 13-year-olds will love exploring exhibits like the Lil’ Sprouts Farmers Market, a replica of a Japanese home, a kid-sized hospital and a space station.
Alaska: Fairbanks Children’s Museum
Located in downtown Fairbanks, this museum offers a range of interactive exhibits, including an Imagineering Lab, Tiny Town, train exhibits and an air maze.
Check the calendar for popular events like tea parties, Mess Makers and sensory-friendly days for kids with special needs.
Arizona: Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Ranked as one of the top three children’s museums in the country, this 48,000-square-foot museum has more than 300 play experiences spread throughout the historic Monroe School Building in downtown Phoenix.
Imaginative, open-ended activities are designed for kids up to 10 years old, from a three-level race track to the “Texture Café.”
Arkansas: Scott Family Amazeum
This museum in Bentonville ignites kids’ imaginations with exhibits and rotating pop-up activities focused on science, tech, engineering, art and math.
There’s a climbable tree canopy, a tinker lab and close to an acre of outdoor space for kids to run around.
California: Children’s Creativity Museum
In San Francisco, this museum nurtures creativity with hands-on exhibits that are suitable for a wide range of ages, including an animation studio, a music studio and an innovation lab, where visitors can design their own invention.
And that's not all. In the Tech Lab, kids can learn how to use coding to direct a robot through a maze.
Colorado: Children’s Museum of Denver
Designed for children up to 8 years old, this Denver museum encourages young visitors to investigate, create and explore.
Popular exhibits include Big Backyard, where kids can shrink to the size of a woodland creature, and Kinetics!, which offers fun lessons on motion and gravity.
Connecticut: The Children’s Museum in West Hartford
Give your kids the freedom to hone their creative thinking skills at this science- and nature-focused museum.
Find out what kind of dinosaurs once lived in Connecticut at the Dinosaurs in Your Backyard exhibit and meet live animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary.
Delaware: Delaware Children’s Museum
In riverfront Wilmington, this museum is designed for kids of all ages, from newborns to preteens.
The transportation-themed Training Wheels exhibit has a toddler-sized train and auto shop, while The Power of Me invites kids to learn about how the human body works.
Florida: Miami Children’s Museum
Art, culture and community are the focus of this massive museum, boasting nearly 60,000 square feet of space on Watson Island near downtown Miami.
Here you’ll find uniquely Miami exhibits like a pint-sized cruise ship, complete with a navigational control station, and a South Florida exhibit that teaches kids about local ecosystems.
Georgia: Children’s Museum of Atlanta
The only educational venue of its kind in Georgia’s capital city, this museum is designed for kids up to 8 years old.
Gateway to the World invites kids to visit six continents and launch a rocket ship, while Leaping into Learning has a treehouse, bubble wall and play car that’s perfect for toddlers.
Hawaii: Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center
In Honolulu, this museum invites kids to use their five senses to explore their world.
Little ones can learn about caring for the environment in the Rainforest Adventures exhibit and learn about living in Hawaii at the Hawaiian Rainbows exhibit.
Idaho: Children’s Museum of Idaho
Kids can board a pirate ship or ride a tractor at this recently opened spot in Meridian.
Dynamic and unstructured exhibits help visitors of all ages to learn through purposeful play.
Illinois: Chicago Children’s Museum
Located on Chicago’s scenic Navy Pier, this is the second-most visited children’s museum in the country.
Exhibits include Skyline, which explores the science and engineering behind the city’s tallest skyscrapers, and Dinosaur Expedition, where kids can dig for bones.
Indiana: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
With more than 130,000 artifacts and specimens designed to create extraordinary experiences, this massive facility (nearly 500,000 square feet!) houses 11 different galleries.
Learn about life as an astronaut in Beyond Spaceship Earth, and dive into special exhibits like Paw Patrol: Adventure Play.
Iowa: LaunchPAD Children’s Museum
In Sioux City, this affordable museum has crowd-pleasing exhibits like a Block Wall and Build Zone, a Water Table, and a kid-sized market and café.
Regular events include Baby Brainiacs and STEM Explorers.
Kansas: Kansas Children’s Discovery Center
Nestled in Topeka’s Gage Park, this museum offers indoor and outdoor exhibits that encourage hands-on play.
Kids will learn about everything from balancing a budget to art and architecture with a wide range of exhibits.
Kentucky: Explorium of Lexington
Kids can enter a courtroom or explore a forest at this family-friendly attraction in Lexington.
The Around Kentucky exhibits invites visitors to learn more about the state, with a look at local wildlife, minerals, waterways and, of course, horses.
Louisiana: Louisiana Children’s Museum
With 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, this New Orleans museum has activities to entertain children of all ages.
Kids can stand inside a giant bubble, drive an ambulance or attend a show at the Times Picayune Theatre, among many other options.
Maine: Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine
Currently located in Portland’s downtown Arts District, this popular museum will soon move to a new state-of-the-art facility at Thompson’s Point.
Wherever the location, kids love features like the superhero exhibit, the Lobster Boat and Ranger Station.
Maryland: Port Discovery Children’s Museum
A three-story urban treehouse is the centerpiece of this Baltimore favorite, consistently ranked one of the top children’s museums in the country.
Brand-new exhibits opening in 2019 include The Port, where kids can captain a giant ship, and the four-story SkyClimber.
Massachusetts: Boston Children’s Museum
Just look for the giant milk bottle to find this museum right on the water in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, which has been serving the community for a century.
New Balance Climb is a three-story climbing structure, and exhibits include a Japanese House, Keva Planks, a Construction Zone and KidStage.
Michigan: Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum
A healthy respect for STEM and the natural world are at the heart of this museum’s mission.
In the Legacy Gallery, kids can learn how traffic lights and the internet work. The Lyons Country Store transports visitors back to the 1930s.
Minnesota: Minnesota Children’s Museum
At this St. Paul museum, kids can decode alien messages in Imaginopolis, make music on the Tip Top Terrace and play with Ozobots in The Studio.
Lunch and dinner are served in the museum café.
Mississippi: Mississippi Children’s Museum
Located in Jackson, this museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits like the Pollinator’s Playground, where kids can learn about the importance of pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
There’s also the World at Work science, tech and industry gallery, where visitors can explore the careers and industries that are important to Mississippi’s economy.
Missouri: The Magic House
Housed in a Victorian mansion in St. Louis, this children’s museum features hundreds of interactive exhibits, from an electrically charged ball to a kaleidoscope wall.
The STEAM Center is the newest exhibit to join the lineup, and there are regularly rotating offerings like Splash and Bubbles: Dive In and the World Traveler Gallery.
Montana: Children’s Museum of Montana
In Great Falls, this budget-friendly museum invites little ones to play with sensory-friendly toys in Whoville, while older visitors can soar through the skies in the Flight Zone.
Fort Grizzly teaches curious kids about the animals that live in the Montana wilderness.
Nebraska: Omaha Children’s Museum
Open since 1976, Omaha’s children’s museum has a family carousel and train, a splash garden, a STEAM lab and special exhibits like the Enchanted Kingdom.
Look out for special events like Autism Night and Arendelle at Night.
Nevada: Discovery Children’s Museum
Located in Las Vegas’ Symphony Park, Discovery is a haven for families in a destination that’s typically seen as adult-oriented.
The new Discovery Lab encourages critical thinking skills and innovation, and Mystery Town explores the art of investigation.
New Hampshire: Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Whether your kid is a dinosaur fan, a budding artist or a little engineer, they’ll find something to peak their interest at this Dover museum.
Build It, Fly It teaches kids about aerodynamics by showing them how to build and launch their own flying machine. In Cave Explorers, visitors can explore the properties of light and darkness.
New Jersey: Garden State Discovery Museum
With activities designed for kids up to 10 years old, this Cherry Hill museum has more than 20 hands-on exhibits.
There’s a pint-sized doctor’s office, grocery store, service station and vet, plus a nature-themed wildlife area with a turtle bog.
New Mexico: Santa Fe Children’s Museum
At this popular museum, young children can explore art, science, biology and more through free play with activities like water tables, bubbles and blocks.
Check the calendar for regular events in the Earthworks Garden and the Portable Planetarium.
New York: Children’s Museum of the Arts
In a city with more than its share of children’s museums and attractions, this one focuses on the transformative power of the arts, inviting visitors to create art right alongside working artists.
North Carolina: Discovery Place
In downtown Charlotte, you’ll find a science-focused museum that’s one of the area’s top attractions.
See larger-than-life bug models in the Bug Lab, catch a show at the IMAX Theatre or visit the World Alive indoor rainforest.
North Dakota: The Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm
Redefining the idea of a children’s museum, Yunker Farm is a place in Fargo for kids to discover life on a farm.
There are gardens, nature trails, a playground and a carousel.
Ohio: Children’s Museum Cleveland
Housed in the historic Stager-Beckwith mansion in midtown Cleveland, this museum features exhibits like the Wonder Lab, an industrial science lab.
There’s also Adventure City, which is — you may have guessed — a massive, multilevel indoor playground.
Oklahoma: Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
Even adults are encouraged to play at this Seminole spot, which has both indoor and outdoor activities.
At Mabee’s Kid Town, little ones can explore the world of adulthood through a tiny construction site, fire station, classroom, grocery store and more.
Oregon: Portland Children’s Museum
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, the Portland Children’s Museum uses familiar materials to encourage innovative problem-solving.
There’s a clay studio, a maker studio, a theater and an outdoor labyrinth for little ones to explore.
Pennsylvania: Please Touch Museum
This Philadelphia museum is housed in the historic Memorial Hall, which dates back to 1876.
Visitors love the century-old carousel and fantastical exhibits like Wonderland, which has a Hall of Mirrors and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Rocket Room, where kids can learn all about the solar system.
Rhode Island: Providence Children’s Museum
Kids up to 11 years old with a wide range of abilities will find plenty to entertain at this Providence museum.
In Underland, kids will discover a subterranean world of wormholes and animal burrows. The Coming to Rhode Island exhibit teaches visitors more about the country’s smallest state through an interactive time-traveling activity.
South Carolina: Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
In downtown Charleston, the Children’s Museum invites kids to board a pirate ship or race down rapids.
They can experiment with different artforms in the art studio or let their imaginations run wild in the Medieval Creativity Castle.
South Dakota: Children’s Museum of South Dakota
Located in Brookings, this museum encourages kids to get outside and explore with the Prairie Play exhibit.
Indoors, kids can learn how people live all over the world in the Imagine a House Exhibit, while Sensations encourages self-expression with a Creativity Lab and Art Studio.
Tennessee: Creative Discovery Museum
This popular Chattanooga attraction is conveniently located near the Aquarium and riverfront.
Visitors are introduced to five Native American communities in New England at the Native Voices exhibit, or they can learn learn basic woodworking or sewing skills in the Make It studio.
This STEAM-powered children’s museum in Austin boasts more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor play space.
Events for a range of ages include Think Labs and Baby Bloomers, while exhibits include a Kitchen Lab, Light Lab and a Spark Shop, where visitors can tinker with toys and build their own gliders.
Utah: Treehouse Museum
With a focus on children’s literacy, this Ogden museum offers imaginative exhibits that encourage retelling favorite stories.
Kids can put on a show at the Science Circus, play dress-up at the King and Queen Thrones, and explore the giant Treehouse Tree.
Vermont: Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum
Find out what a Rigamajig is at this museum in downtown Rutland.
Visitors can also explore textures at the Sensory Table, develop fine motor skills at the Creative Art Space and experiment with the Magnetic Wall.
Virginia: Children’s Museum of Richmond
A giant apple tree greets visitors at this Richmond museum, inviting kids to pluck as many apples as they can in an addictive, energetic game.
There’s also a diner, a grocery store, an ambulance, carousel, art studio and outdoor play space. And let’s not forget the splash pad — always a hit in the warmer months.
Washington: Seattle Children’s Museum
Special daily programming and activities are included with the price of admission at this Seattle museum, designed for children up to 10 years old.
The Mountain exhibit invites visitors to go on a Northwest adventure, and Cog City explores the science behind motion, cause and effect.
West Virginia: Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley
Located in Wheeling, this museum has interactive exhibits like a Rock Wall, MakeShop and Imagination Playground.
Check the calendar for events like Parents Night Out and various camps.
Wisconsin: Madison Children’s Museum
At this children’s museum, everything is Possible-opolis — or at least that’s the name of an imaginative exhibit that features a giant hamster wheel, a climber, puzzles and interactive games.
Outside, the Log Cabin takes visitors back in time through Wisconsin’s history.
Wyoming: Jackson Hole Children’s Museum
Lovingly built by volunteers and artists in the local community, this museum has a fairy garden, market and a kid-sized Jackson Hole Airport, complete with a check-in counter and control tower.
In Inside Out: Discovering the Human Body, older kids can explore life-sized models of body parts.