Quizzical, Quirky and Quaint: A Tour of Five Fave Kid-Friendly Museums in the U.S.A.

Discovery Center Museum International Day May 18

May 18th is international Museum Day–and it’s a great opportunity to introduce or encourage kids to learn to appreciate art and history in all its forms. The bad news is that most museums out there cater to a more mature taste. The great news is that there are kid-friendly museums and museum exhibits all over that can educate and inspire on their level. Here are a few examples from around the U.S.A. Just click on the links and learn how fun a museum can be–and then tell your kids…  [photo via flickr]

Boston Children’s Museum (Boston, Massachusetts)

With its hundred year-old tradition of delivering hands-on experiences for children that are educational, interactive and engaging, BCM is not just a great place for learning about everything from art to music to science. It has produced exhibits that have become national favorites. “Bubbles,” “Raceways,” and, “Arthur’s World” all had their start at BCM. The programs there draw visitors from all over the U.S. and Canada.

Discovery Center Museum (Rockford, Illinois)

It’s all hands-on at the Discovery center with over 250 exhibits spanning two floors. Get outside for some fresh air and explore the Rock River Discovery Park: a massive, multilevel science park with hands-on experiences galore. Go for a day or, if you live close by, consider some of their ongoing workshops, classes and camps. Single-day admissions and annual memberships are available.

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Farmington Hills, Michigan)

There is enough here to keep any kid’s interest piqued for quite a while. Marvin’s is home to “thousands of mechanical oddities and one-of-a-kind collectibles.” The owner has been adding to this clicking, clinking and clacking collection since 1960. In need of somewhere to keep all the wacky things he’d accumulated over the years (and wanting to share them with the world), he opened the museum to the public in 1990. There are even a few pieces that were built just for the museum.

The Jell-O Gallery (LeRoy, New York)

This is a quaint little museum and gallery in New York State that delivers precisely what the name implies – a comprehensive history of one of America’s most loved desserts – over a hundred years’ worth. You will learn everything you ever wanted to know about Jell-O, and a few things you probably would never have guessed.

Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, California)

The mission of Bay Area Discovery Museum is “to ignite creative thinking in children” and is rooted in the understanding that the earlier a child’s mind is engaged in creative thinking, the better. From the totally manipulable environment of Imagination Playground to reading enrichment programs offered at Discovery Hall to the expansive Lookout Cove with its multitude of maritime-based learning and adventure areas, your child will gain a level of creative and intellectual stimulation that rivals or exceeds those provided by many schools. No trip with kids to the Bay Area would be complete without a stop here.