For parents, the word museum often conjures up images of priceless paintings, ancient relics … and a kid-induced disaster just waiting to happen. On the contrary, today’s museums pride themselves on being family-friendly.
We have an amazing selection of museums right here in Cincy, but if you are itching to take a spring road trip, we’ve rounded up eight museums that are worth the drive. Let’s go to a museum!
For the budding scientist
COSI: This interactive science center is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. Come face-to-face with a 6-foot-long mechanical T. rex model in the Dinosaur gallery. Kids 6 and under can engage in pretend play, climb on play structures and explore water stations in Little KidSpace. And don’t miss COSI’s planetarium — the largest in Ohio.
Location: 333 W Broad St., Columbus, OH | cosi.org
This May, COSI will host one of the largest science fairs ever in Ohio! The COSI Science Festival is happening May 1-4, and will be four days of super-STEM-powered events, concluding with a carnival celebration on the Scioto Peninsula.
“The COSI Science Festival will showcase how exciting, interesting, fun and accessible science is to all of us, and how relevant it is to our daily lives,” says Dr. Frederic Bertley, president and CEO of COSI. “In addition, it will shine a light on the fantastic science, technology and industry innovation in our great central Ohio region.”
Science festivals are fantastic ways to engage communities and make STEM topics more exciting and accessible for kids. And this year is just the beginning: The COSI Science Festival will be an annual event that will cement Ohio as a top place for innovation and technology, and inspire the next generation of budding scientists, researchers and engineers. For more information, visit http://cosiscifest.org.
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: Explore, play and be inspired at this Dayton museum devoted to interactive science learning. As an added bonus, Boonshoft is part of the Association of Children’s Museums Reciprocal Network, which means that members of the Duke Energy Children’s Museum here in Cincinnati can score half-price tickets!
Location: 2600 DeWeese Pkwy., Dayton, OH | boonshoftmuseum.org
For the Art Lover
Newfields: The Indianapolis Museum of Art has evolved into a full-fledged campus known as Newfields that blends art and nature. The art museum, which houses an impressive permanent collection, is surrounded by gardens, water features and more than one hundred acres of woodland that is perfect for the young art lover to run free. This spring, don’t miss the beautiful blooms in the Spring Blooms exhibit and the return of the outdoor beer garden.
Location: 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN | discovernewfields.org
Art Institute of Chicago: From Monet’s Water Lilies and van Gogh’s Self-Portrait to Wood’s iconic American Gothic, the masters are on full display at this world-class museum that houses a collection spanning every corner of the globe. The museum also offers drop-in artmaking workshops on select days, and children under 14 are admitted free of charge every day.
Location: 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL | artic.edu
For the active explorer
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: This children’s museum is tough to top. Inside, explore 500,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that focus on physical and natural sciences, history, world cultures and the arts. Outdoors, head to Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, 7.5 acres devoted to outdoor health and fitness. And don’t miss current exhibits “Paw Patrol: Adventure Play Exhibit” and “Star Trek: Exploring New Words.”
Location: 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN | childrensmuseum.org
The City Museum: Once a shoe factory, this 600,000 square-foot space in the heart of St. Louis is now an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion and architectural marvel made from unique, found objects. (Hint: The museum shop sells knee pads, if that is any indication of the level of exploration you are facing!)
Location: 750 N. 16th St., St. Louis, MO | citymuseum.org
For the history buff
Conner Prairie: Costumed characters, historically accurate settings and a slew of farm animals help bring the past to life at this sprawling outdoor living history museum. Kids can explore an Indian Camp, wander through the bustling 1836 Prairietown, climb to the top of a four-story treehouse and take flight on an 1859 Balloon Voyage. Indoors, get creative at Create.Connect and the Makesmith Workshop. With 11 incredible experience areas, there is truly something for everyone.
Location: 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN | connerprairie.org
Indiana State Museum: This massive museum goes well beyond the history of the Hoosier state. Start your journey at Birth of the Earth, dive into the Ancient Seas that once covered the Midwest, explore life in the Ice Age and learn about Indiana’s founding people. There are tons of opportunity for hands-on fun, including the current exhibit, Cardboard Engineering, on display through May 27. An IMAX theater and an on-site puppet studio round out the fun.
Location: 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN | indianamuseum.org