The Best Children's Museums For Your Next Family Vacation, According To Travelers

Going on a family adventure can be a wonderful endeavor, but let's face it — traveling with children often presents a unique set of challenges. However, with the right itinerary, it can be highly rewarding for both kids and their parents. Children's museums might just be the key to keeping your kids happy while ensuring they return home with newfound knowledge and experiences.

Children's museums are dynamic spaces designed to spark curiosity and ignite young minds. They often come with interactive exhibits that bring learning to life, turning abstract concepts into tangible experiences. These museums also serve as opportunities for family bonding, whether you're conducting science experiments together or marveling at awe-inspiring displays.

So, as you plan your next family vacation, consider exploring the vibrant world of children's museums, where learning, laughter, and family fun blend together for an unforgettable journey. From toy museums to science discovery centers, we curate stories and experiences from family travelers and find kids' favorite exhibits in online reviews.

Eureka! The National Children's Museum - Halifax, England

Showcasing over 400 impressive hands-on exhibits, Eureka! The National Children's Museum takes the business of play very seriously, raising it to a whole new level. With a dedicated focus on the learning journey of children up to 11, the museum caters to their every interest and curiosity.

The All About Me exhibit invites children to delve into the wonders of the human body. They can zoom in to discover their own skin, follow the journey of food through the digestive system, peer into a giant nose, and more. Another highly popular area is Living and Working Together, a miniature town offering children a real-world simulation of adult activities and professions. Beyond playing and learning, this exhibit also encourages children to communicate and cooperate within a society.

Going beyond the realm of sciences, the museum's Spark Gallery ignites children's artistic side through interactive projects using cutting-edge digital technology. For the younger ones below 5 years old, the Desert Discovery exhibit is a favorite. Here, they can build using soft boulders, explore a cozy cave, and even meet a coyote.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Indianapolis, USA

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a sprawling 482,950-square-foot facility on about 30 acres of land, making it the largest children's museum in the world. Endless adventures await in this gigantic wonderland, brimming with exhibits and activities to captivate young minds. First stop? Dinosphere. This area transports children to the time of the dinosaurs through life-sized replicas and interactive displays, breathing life into these fascinating ancient creatures.

From prehistoric to the cosmic, visitors can blast into outer space at Beyond Spaceship Earth. This immersive exhibit provides children with a taste of astronaut life, featuring realistic space gear for hands-on exploration and engaging narratives to capture their active imagination. Other beloved attractions include American POP, a dedicated space celebrating pop culture, and Take Me There: Greece, an experience that immerses visitors in the rich tapestry of Greek culture through various captivating activities.

The museum also features Playscape, an area for younger children aged 5 and under. This section highlights hands-on activities and sensory play to stimulate creativity and motor skills. Toddlers are encouraged to explore nature, art, music, and athletics guaranteed to engage them for hours. There are many more exhibitions, shows, and programs designed to spark children's imagination and creativity. Be sure to check for any special events or programs that might be happening during your visit.

Papalote Museo del Niño - Mexico City, Mexico

Nestled in Mexico City's Chapultepec Park, Papalote Museo del Niño is a testament to the enchanting fusion of education and adventure. A world of wonder unfolds as young explorers step into its welcoming doors, starting with the immersive exhibits. The museum has five different thematic areas, including the popular Ideas Laboratory, where kids can freely experiment with building and launching a paper rocket, constructing huge towers, feeding a T-Rex, and many more activities. In the other sections, children can explore fascinating species of plants and animals, discover more about their five senses, experience a make-believe yet realistic city, and participate in family-themed activities such as cooking a meal and decorating a house.

Another highlight of the museum is the 360-degree visual experience. The Citibanamex domodigital technology transports visitors to different places, stories, and cultures with state-of-the-art simulations. Make sure to plan your time in the museum wisely, as different shows are presented throughout the day. Also, thanks to its connection to NASA's system database, the facility can simulate the positions and trajectories of stars in real time!

Boston Children's Museum - Boston, USA

Constructed in 1913, the Boston Children's Museum is the second-oldest children's museum in the world. Despite its senior age, the museum's exhibits and programs are far from antiquated; they are cutting-edge. As soon as little ones enter the building, they will be immediately drawn to the New Balance Climb, a three-story climbing sculpture that invites them to navigate a vertical maze all the way to the top.

The museum's first floor hosts the Science Playground, where children can engage with the laws of motion through fun and interactive activities, explore various natural objects with hands-on science projects, and experiment with bubbles. For kids with a passion for singing and dancing, the KidStage theater provides an opportunity to experience the joys of performing.

Venturing to the second floor, visitors encounter Johnny's Workbench, a favorite among kids. It's not every day that children can freely play with saws, hammers, and other tools to try their hand at simple woodworking — safe, supervised, and protected with safety gear. Highlights on the third floor include the Construction Zone, a fun and engaging space where children can build their own child-sized world, and Dinos in Space, an experiential area that will boggle the mind and spark creativity.

The Strong National Museum of Play - Rochester, USA

If you think museums are all about education and learning, prepare to have your expectations defied. The Strong National Museum of Play is dedicated to the joy of playing, and it's home to the world's largest collection of toys, dolls, and games, with over half a million items covering cultures and generations.

Staying true to its mission of celebrating play, the exhibits span from Hasbro Board Game Place, featuring installations of iconic games like Monopoly and Jenga, to the Console Central exhibit that will fascinate kids with classic console games and some of the most recent ones. The Toy Halls of Fame showcases some of the most important and historically significant toys of all time, with new additions each year. Beyond observing, kids can actively engage with toy-inspired installations, like creating virtual bubbles using motion-capture technology or playing with a 20-foot-tall kinetic Jenga blocks sculpture.

For energetic children, the museum also offers a variety of physical activities, with the Skyline Climb being a particular favorite. This thrilling challenge allows children to navigate through beams, ropes, and bridges before flying on a zipline platform across the museum. Honoring both timeless classics and contemporary favorites, visiting The Strong National Museum of Play is an unforgettable discovery for kids and a nostalgic journey for adults.

Children's Museum Houston - Houston, USA

A vibrant world of wonder awaits young adventurers at the Children's Museum Houston. Boasting 14 interactive galleries that seamlessly blend education with entertainment, this museum hosts world-class exhibits for kids of all ages. Children transform into young inventors at the Invention Convention, unleashing their creativity to turn ideas into reality through engineering and design. For those who always have questions about everyday phenomena, the How Does It Work? exhibits explore the inner workings of everyday objects and mechanisms through hands-on experiences.

Do the kids love playing with water? Don't miss FlowWorks, an exhibit where children not only splash and play around but also learn fundamental scientific principles in a way that feels like pure fun. For older children aged 8 and up, the SECRET Spy Game offers a 60-minute adventure, challenging young agents to embark on a thrilling mission, solving problems, cracking codes, and navigating through interactive puzzles. If all that sounds too advanced, families with toddlers can enjoy Tot*Spot, a sensory-rich environment featuring soft play areas and stimulating activities designed for younger children.

London Children's Museum - Ontario, Canada

The London Children's Museum has been a part of the community since 1977, a visionary initiative by forward-thinking leaders and educators. Originally an old elementary school, the building was transformed into a three-story facility tailored for optimal hands-on learning experiences for children up to 9 years old.

Featuring nine interactive exhibits spanning the realms of science, art, culture, history, and more, the museum offers a diverse range of educational experiences. A particular favorite among children is the "Dinosaur" gallery, where they can step into the shoes of a paleontologist and engage in digging for dinosaur fossils. For those feeling a tad mischievous, there's the option to dress up as a dinosaur!

Transitioning from dinosaurs, My Arctic Discovery introduces the captivating wildlife of the incredible Arctic, including the mighty polar bears, seals, walruses, and more. The interactive landscape allows the kids to enter an igloo, experience ice fishing, and learn to write in Inuktitut. On the flip side, Sifton Street Where You Live invites children to live as adults for the day, engaging in activities like grocery shopping, visiting the bank, working in different professions, and other experiences that pique their curiosities.

Museo dei Bambini - Milan, Italy

Nestled in the heart of Milan, Museo dei Bambini (MUBA) is a treasure trove for young explorers and their families. The building itself is a marvel, showcasing ancient Roman-style architecture adorned with expansive windows that fill the interior with natural light and vibrant energy. The museum's programs are dynamic and may vary from time to time, so it's best to check and reserve in advance on the official website.

To ensure a comprehensive and enriching learning experience, this museum organizes guided tours and programs with fixed hours and durations. Many visitors appreciate the professional guides and their role in maximizing the learning experience. According to a Tripadvisor review, "The guide was very good with small kids, and everyone, including herself, was clearly enjoying it. For small kids a museum where they are allowed to touch and experiment is ideal, and I also enjoyed our visit."

Many of the museum's programs are in collaboration with renowned organizations. In 2024, the museum will host the REMIDA project, engaging children's creativity and fostering learning experiences using waste materials. Another collaboration with MyEdu offers a futuristic view of transportation through videos and interactive games.

Kids Plaza Osaka - Osaka, Japan

Championing the idea that children develop best while playing and having fun, Kids Plaza Osaka offers entertaining experiences at every turn. The exhibits prioritize a child-centered approach that not only sparks curiosity but also instills the joy of learning. The adventure kicks off on the fifth floor, aptly named the Discovery Floor. Here, kids don't just observe science and creativity but actively engage and participate, from experimenting with bubbles to pumping water around tubes and channels. This floor also features a TV studio where children try their hand at being broadcasters, camera operators, or sound technicians.

Slide down to the fourth floor and prepare to be captivated by Kids Town, an exhilarating playground that looks straight out of a storybook. Vibrant designs, whimsical shapes, and intriguing structures invite little ones to climb, roam, and crawl around for hours. The fourth floor also houses an experiment lab, where kids can roleplay different professions, and also play areas for toddlers.

Last but not least, the third floor is all about creativity. A high-tech interactive touchscreen allows children to create and play to their hearts' content. Alternatively, they can sign up for guided arts and crafts exploration workshops.

Museo de los Niños Abasto - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo de los Niños Abasto creates a miniature world for kids, elevating play and learning through immersive role-playing extravaganzas. Picture your little ones stepping into a tiny marketplace or a make-believe workplace — not just for fun but as an interactive lesson in real-world scenarios, nurturing knowledge, social skills, and imaginative thinking.

Many of these role-play experiences are developed in collaboration with renowned institutions, such as media outlets, banks, real estate developers, TV stations, and more. The result is a remarkably realistic learning opportunity for children, where they can operate a giant crane or work in a McDonald's kitchen. While this might not seem like a groundbreaking concept, the museum consistently exceeds expectations, as indicated by a Tripadvisor reviewer saying that this place is better than some experiences they've had in the U.S. Just when you think it couldn't get any better, the museum offers a designated area for younger children suitable for even babies. The room has interactive sensory activities for kids of all ages, a perfect setup for parents bringing two or more kids with varying needs.

Please Touch Museum - Philadelphia, USA

True to its name, Please Touch Museum transforms the traditional "please don't touch" into an invitation to dive into a curiosity-filled world where everything is meant to be engaged. Tailored for children aged 6 months to 8 years old, the diverse exhibits are carefully crafted to unveil the power of learning through play.

A standout favorite, the Adventure Camp takes place in a charming treehouse. Here, children delve into science through activities such as turning magnetic gears to switch on lights, looking through a periscope, and more. The treehouse leads to yet another favorite area, Wonderland. Inspired by "Alice in Wonderland," kids will encounter familiar characters and references that elevate their adventure through the interactive maze.

And, of course, kids can't resist role-playing adults for a day, making the Food & Family section a big hit. In this child-sized world, they are free to shop, play cashier, cook, and engage in various adult activities. Beyond play, they also learn about the journey and importance of food in different cultures. Other favorites include the Rocket Room and River Adventures, complemented by ever-evolving thematic temporary exhibits.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg's Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is a dynamic hub where education seamlessly merges with entertainment, dedicated to demonstrating the joy of learning math, science, and technology. The museum proudly features an extensive collection of almost 400 permanent exhibits, enriched with an impressive rotation of temporary and traveling exhibitions.

Sci-Bono is home to the Nat Geo Kids Weird But True! exhibition, the first of its kind in Africa. This unique experience transforms the learning of nature into an enjoyable adventure through visually stunning fun facts, games, and installations. Another groundbreaking feature is the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Exhibition, the first in the country. This exhibition is a favorite among children, where they can interact with humanoids and get lost in virtual reality with engaging content focusing on STEAM learning.

The intellectual excitement is harmoniously balanced with physical activities. The museum houses an indoor climbing wall enjoyable for all ages, children and adults alike. With a multitude of exhibitions and activities, visitors can easily spend hours in Sci-Bono. As noted by a Tripadvisor review, "You will need at least 5 hours to do justice. "

Tokyo Toy Museum - Tokyo, Japan

Housed inside a former school building, the Tokyo Toy Museum boasts an extensive collection of 10,000 toys from Japan and around the world. But beyond its remarkable array of playthings, this museum offers unparalleled experiences and gateways to stories from the past that captivate the imagination. Here, toys are not just objects; they come to life through engaging activities.

The Toy Square Red area is dedicated to Japanese traditional toys from various eras and regions. Meanwhile, Toy Square Yellow focuses more on toys that promote scientific discovery and exploration. Not to be missed is the "Wood Toy Forest," a one-of-a-kind playing experience that transports visitors to a vibrant yet serene magical woodland. The wooden sandbox, a ball pit area with 20,000 hardwood balls, is especially popular among kids.

Inspired by this limitless creativity, it's now time for kids to craft their own toys. The toy-making workshop utilizes recycled materials to bring fresh ideas to life using various tools and techniques. Plus, the kids can proudly bring their creations back home.


The list was initially compiled by meticulously going through the stories and itineraries of family travelers. Then, we cross-referenced the places mentioned with online reviews on Google and Tripadvisor to ensure an overall positive experience with children. Information about exhibits and programs was gathered mainly from the museum's official website and tourism boards, but we picked the ones to highlight based on kids' favorites mentioned on Tripadvisor.

Additionally, we selected museums in popular city destinations, allowing them to seamlessly integrate into any itinerary without requiring extensive driving or commuting from the main attractions. The museums can easily be part of any itinerary without having to drive or commute too far from the main attractions.