Chosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best
10thSmithsonian National Air & Space Museum
This marvel of a museum is located in our nation's capitol and welcomes over eight million people a year, making it the most visited museum in the US. It's easy to see why. Historic aircraft and spacecraft on display are awe-inspiring and capture the imaginations of children and adult alike.
Photo courtesy of Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
9thCenter of Science & Industry
Kids can turn into astronauts with the snap of the finger at this Columbus, Ohio museum by riding in a mock space shuttle. "COSI" offers a wide array of permanent exhibits and hosts a few traveling ones, too. If space isn't of interest, children might want to check out the museum's working radio station, or maybe take a tour of the ancient stories of the sea hosted by Poseidon himself. An outdoor science park has much on display including the "green home of tomorrow."
Photo courtesy of Center of Science and Industry
8thHenry Ford Museum
Children who love model cars will love the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. Heck, even kids who prefer the souped-up versions that zoom by in video games will get a kick out of this place. The museum began as Henry Ford's own personal collection but has expanded much since then. Visitors can get a glimpse of an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, the bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and more.
Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum
7thNational Museum of Play
With over 150,000 square feet of pure fun and education, this New York museum is irresistible to families looking for a great way to spend a day together. There's a butterfly garden and a life-size pop-up book along with a kid-friendly library, where young ones can "check out" their first book. Families won't want to miss the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, which displays some of the museum collection's most famous toys.
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
6th¡Explora! Children's Museum
This Albuquerque museum is as hands-on as it gets. Populated with tons of small table-top exhibits for children, visitors can get up close and personal with art, math, science, music and a variety of other educational subjects. Play with rulers or pound on a piano. Camps and programs on offer also work to keep children engaged with learning. The facility is available for birthday parties and other rentals, too.
Photo courtesy of ¡Explora!
5thDiscovery Center Museum
Two hundred and fifty exhibits inhabit the Discovery Center in Rockford, Illinois. Kids will want to see all of them. From outer space to mathematics, and air and space to levers and pulleys, this center has the basics down pat. Discovery Center's latest exhibit commemorates the life of astronaut Janice Voss, a Rockford native. This museum even offers classes and camps.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Center Museum
4thMusical Instrument Museum
"The World's Only Global Musical Instrument Museum" displays instruments from around the world. Certainly not just for music lovers, this Phoenix museum offers a fascinating peek into the mechanics of mysterious instruments like mechanical zithers and more. An experience gallery welcomes kids and adults to bang and strum drums and harps.
Photo courtesy of Musical Instrument Museum
3rdNew Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
This Albuquerque, New Mexico museum's main exhibit, "Timetracks," offers a journey through the state's history, dating back to the prehistoric. Dinosaur alert! Other permanent exhibits cater to fossil-lovers, so kids who love dinosaurs are in heaven. A planetarium rounds out the experience, along with a "DynoTheater" that shows science programming on a towering screen. The museum offers education programs for kids and families, including a summer camp.
Photo courtesy of MarbleStreetStudio.com
2ndChildren's Museum of Houston
The Children's Museum of Houston welcomes families and invites them to experience a day of fun spread over fourteen exciting galleries. Kids can explore hydro-power, or learn about ecology at the museum's EcoStation, or visit a city "for kids, run by kids" called Kidtropolis. Thursdays are free for families, an even greater incentive to turn off the television and step into a world of real-life wonder.
Photo courtesy of Cody Duty/Duty Free Studios
1stChildren's Museum of Indianapolis
Families would be challenged to find a more impressive museum for the little ones. This Indianapolis attraction is the largest children's museum on the globe, with over 29 acres to its name. Exhibits include everything from dinosaurs to immersive cultural experiences. Take Me There: ® China opens May 10 and the museum will also have the REAL Terra Cotta Warriors as part of a separate exhibit opening the same day. It will be called Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor’s Painted Army.
Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Houston, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Rockford also tops
Savvy families have a new must-see list with the reveal of our readers' winners for Best Museum for Families. This popular Readers' Choice contest category was hotly contested, but in the end, Children's Museum of Indianapolis took the top spot, followed by 9 worthy contenders with large, loyal followings.
Each of our winners makes an excellent destination on wet or chilly days or a fun weekend outing in any weather.
The winners in the 'Best Museum for Families' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice are as follows:
Congratulations to all our winners!
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