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Best Science Museums in the U.S.

Best Science Museums for Kids Across the U.S.

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One of our family’s favorite activities when traveling is visiting science museums. The best ones are fun and interactive and you learn new things without even realizing it. As adults, we love going as much as the kids! Here are some of my recommendations for the best science museums for kids in the U.S.

1. Museum of Science – Boston, MA

The Museum of Science was founded in 1830 and is one of the world’s largest science centers and Boston’s “most attended cultural institution.” With a focus on science and technology and 700 interactive exhibits, it would take more than a day to explore everything. Permanent exhibits include Butterfly Garden, Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff, and Discovery Center. My son particularly liked an exhibit called Mind Games and Optical Illusions.

Read More>> Best Things to Do In Boston With Kids – Museum Of Science

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Best science museums for kids in the US - Boston Museum of Science electricity

Kids will love the Lightning! show at the Boston Museum of Science.

2. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN

Although it’s called a children’s museum and is the biggest children’s museum in the world, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers a wealth of information, activities and exhibits on science for the whole family. My daughter loved the unique exhibit Take Me There: China where you can “fly” over the Great Wall of China, “land” in Beijing, and embark on a journey through contemporary China. Other favorite areas were Science Works and Dinosphere.

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Best science museums for kids in the US - Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Enter the world of the dinosaurs at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

3. The Franklin Institute – Philadelphia, PA

At The Franklin Institute, you and your kids can learn about the brain with interactive brain teasers, climb a rock wall, ride a sky bike, and see a planetarium show all in one afternoon! Located in Center City Philadelphia, it is one of the oldest science museums in the country and is named after famous Philadelphia scientist Benjamin Franklin.

Some of exhibits we like the most are Your Brain, which explores how the brain works, and Changing Earth where you can pretend to be meteorologists and report the weather on-screen. Other great areas to explore are The Giant Heart, Sports Challenge and KidScience.

Read More>> The Franklin Institute – Fun for Kids in Philadelphia

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Best science museums for kids - Sky Bike at The Franklin Institute

Riding the bike in the sky makes The Franklin Institute one of the best science museums for kids!

4. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – Washington, DC

Although not a traditional science museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a great place for kids to learn about space exploration and planetary science. The highlights for our family included seeing an Apollo command center, the Wright Brothers exhibit, and the original “Spirit of St Louis” plane that flew around the world. The kids also got a kick out of touching a piece of moon rock.

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5. California Academy of Sciences – San Francisco, CA

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park was one of my kids’ favorite activities in San Francisco. This is a natural sciences museum focuses on “how to explore, explain and sustain life.”

We watched a planetarium show, walked through the extensive aquarium, and wandered through four floors of enclosed rain forest. Our favorite experience, though, was the Shake House where you stand in a fake house and “experience” the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989. This really brought to life what an earthquake was and the damage it could do.

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Best science museums for kids in the US - California Academy of Sciences!

We survived the simulated earthquakes at the Shake House at the California Academy of Sciences!

6. Museum of Discovery and Science – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Museum of Discovery and Science is one of the best science museums we have visited. There are two large floors of interactive exhibits teaching nutrition, problem solving, mathematics and science in fun and entertaining ways.

If you need a break or have younger kids, on the first floor is a hands-on play area for kids under 7-years old with water and climbing activities. We also watched our first IMAX movie here on a screen that was five stories high. We stayed for several hours and stopped for lunch at the Subway which is adjacent to the museum.

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7. Discovery Place – Charlotte, NC

If you are looking for fun, educational activity with your family in Charlotte, NC be sure to check out Discovery Place. It’s a science museum with educational exhibits, interactive experiences, and science shows the whole family will learn from and enjoy.

Our favorite area, Cool Stuff, offers unique ways for you and your kids to learn about physics and science while having a blast. Most of the activities here are interactive and focus on three areas: Lift, Look/Move and Push. Both of my kids were amazed and thrilled to lie on a bed of nails and survive. My daughter was fascinated to learn she could control a vacuum-powered chair lift.  And they were learning the whole time whether they realized it or not. Other great exhibits are Project Build and Think it Up.

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Best science museums for kids in the US - Science show at Discovery Place in Charlotte

Participating in a science show at Discovery Place.

8. Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Fernbank Science Center – Atlanta, GA

Fernbank Natural History Museum is our favorite museum in Atlanta and a great family natural science center. It is located in midtown near Emory University in a beautiful historic building.

My kids’ favorite exhibits include DinosaursA Walk Through Time in Georgia and the special kids interactive playrooms. A separate building nearby houses the Science Center and includes a planetarium, observatory, outdoor gardens and library.

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9. Museum of Science & History – Jacksonville, FL

For a break from the Florida heat or a fun family activity anytime of year, check out Jacksonville’s Museum of Science & History (MOSH). MOSH is an educational and entertaining destination for kids of all ages.

From seeing the history of Florida to viewing a show in the country’s largest single-lens planetarium, there is something to inspire and educate everyone in the family. If you want to learn more about the animals of Northeast Florida don’t miss the live animal show or the exhibit Atlantic Tails which focuses on the whales, dolphins and manatees who live in the waters of Northeast Florida. Or checkout MOSH’s brand new interactive exhibit called Health In Motion: Discover what MOVES you.

Read More>> MOSH: One of the Best Things to do in Jacksonville, FL

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Best science museums for kids in the US - MOSH Jacksonville

Find one of the best science museums for kids in Jacksonville, FL. At MOSH, kids can learn about what moves them in this interactive exhibit.

We love visiting new places and discovering new things when we travel as a family, and I hope this list of the some of the best science museums for kids will give you inspiration as you travel with your family!

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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…

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