It used to be that when one thought of museums, stuffy rooms filled with old art and quiet people came to mind. More and more lately, children and fun have been taking their place in the museum world. Not only are their museums dedicated to interactive learning and art appreciation, but also there are museums that are strictly dedicated to playing.
Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress St.
Boston, MA 02210
The Boston Children’s Museum was founded by teachers in 1913, making it nearly 100-years-old. The museum is dedicated to presenting fun play exhibits while teaching children about Boston and the world outside of Boston. It is located on Children’s Wharf, which is also a great place for kids to play.
The Boston Children’s Museum is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm. It is open until 9pm on Fridays. Admission is $12 for all ages and $6 from 4pm to 5pm, Saturday through Thursday.
National Museum of Play
1 Manhattan Square
Rochester, NY 14607
The National Museum of Play is all about playing and the benefits of playing. It is home to the “World’s largest collection of toys, dolls, fames and other items that celebrate play.” There is an extra-large chess set, a butterfly garden, a life-size pop-up book, an American Comic Book Heroes exhibit, carousel, train, 1,700-gallon aquarium reef and more.
Outer Banks Children @ Play Museum
3809 N. Croatan Highway, Unit G
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
Children at Play is all about letting kids use their imaginations while learning and playing. It features a baby park for crawlers to climb around and interact with each other. There is an aquarium where children can pretend to SCUBA dive, as well as a fishing boat and lighthouse exhibit. The aviation exhibit teaches children the history of flight and includes a play plane that doubles as a seesaw.
Admission to the Children @ Play Museum is $5. It is open Tuesday through Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm. Birthday parties Monday-Saturday are $90.
Pretend City Children’s Museum
Irvine, CA 92618
Pretend City is an interactive play city where children can roam around pretending to adult things like work and shop. They can pretend to be firefighters, doctors and more in the 28,000 square foot museum. At work areas, children are given paychecks, which they can cash at the Pretend ATM and spend at shops.
Many cities have children’s museums that encourage play and learning. If you cannot get to any of the above museums, you may be able to find something similar near you. If you can, your child will enjoy it. Most children are not used to museum experiences that are suited to them.
Exhibits, retrieved 9/30/10, pretendcity.org/our-city/exhibits
Exhibits in our museum, retrieved 9/30/10, childrenatplay.com/exhibits.htm
About Us, retrieved 9/30/10, bostonkids.org/about/history.html
Things to See & Do, retrieved 9/30/10, museumofplay.org/see-do