Finding fun at children's museums
As busy families do more traveling, there is always the search for fun, budget-friendly ways to keep the kids entertained. Children's museums are a good way to combine an indoor activity that has an educational angle and mixes well with the overall site-seeing through a city.
The city of San Antonio is looking forward to a new children’s museum, now under construction and set to open in June 2015. For now, the current San Antonio Children’s museum is nearly 20 years old and ready for the move to a new larger location plus a new name. The new place will be called “The Do Seum” which gives you an idea that the future structure is more about "doing" in a place built for interaction and education.
This children's museum was designed for ages 0 to 10 year old with a focus on learning and creative arts and sciences. The hands-on experience is meant to combine play and learning as a key to early childhood development.
The attached video will give you a preview of the new "Do Seum" and provides another reason for families to visit San Antonio. The address of the new facility will be 2800 Broadway St. and it is near the San Antonio Zoo and Brackenridge Park (a popular place for family picnics and not far from the downtown area).
Check the link above if you are planning a visit, for a complete review of the exhibits and the hours and admission.
Top Children's Museums
In 2011, Parent's Magazine released the "10 Best Children's Museums". They surveyed the list based on many dimensions such as the quality of the exhibits and facilities as well as healthy places for lunch. Here is a sample of the top three museums that were selected in that report.
1. Children's Museum of Houston makes a big impression with aqueducts and boats races. Yes it is bigger in Texas but there are plenty of educational adventures, like playing out different job roles and learning how to manage your money with a pretend debit card. There is an water exhibit called "flow works" that allows kids to learn about the power of water with interactive play. The museum is located at 1500 Binz near the Hermann Park Garden Center. Look for the full list of summer calendar of programs and the "Free Family Nights" on Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm which includes story time in the library. Check the link above for details and directions. Even the website looks fun with a comic book theme and a list of after school events.
2.The Children's Museum of Indianapolis with a planetarium that holds 5 star shows gets high marks. It offers all kinds of adventures and one featured exhibit is the Terra Cotta warriors, from the Chinese emperor tomb. This should spark the imagination of kids and adults. The Lilly Theater and the Planetarium are separate from the general admission so look for all the visitor information on the link above.
3.Please Touch Children's Museum is located in Philadelphia at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. Major renovations expanded the building that was opened in October 2008 with a more space and exhibits. Look for "Star Wars Days" in August and other youth programs. This is where kids can have fun learning and they are encouraged to touch things. There is a live theater show as well and the mission states that they want to promote "..a lifetime of learning and cultural awareness."
What are parents are looking for?
Museums for children need to be a safe place with a variety of fun learning activities. It needs to be easy to access and low cost so that the whole family can enjoy. Most cities are adding corporate sponsors and colleges as well as a list of helpful volunteers to keep the community linked into the success of the museum. It is also a place where parents are encouraged to plan birthday parties and celebrations with a group of children so they can share the fun experience.
Take a look at what your city may offer. If you are traveling, plan ahead to fit in a museum visit while in a new city. And check on the cost of a family membership, which may save you money for those who want to make frequent visits or have a large family.