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July 15, 2015

Six kid-friendly museums to beat summer boredom

You don't have to travel far for fun

Activities Children
Academy of Natural Sciences Academy of Natural Sciences /Facebook

Academy of Natural Sciences.

The thought of taking young children to a museum may conjure up horrific visuals of small handprints on expensive artwork and hide-and-seek games behind historic statutes. 

But not all museums are created the same, and many actually encourage young explorers to touch, climb and add their own creative touches to its exhibits.

Here is a list of six local, kid-friendly museums to keep children's minds challenged and bodies active this summer, and save grown-ups from gray hairs.

Please Touch Museum 

Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park

Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum is home to a working carousel. Raining? No problem, it's indoors. (Visit Philadelphia™)

When listing kid-friendly museums, there's no more appropriate place to start than the Please Touch Museum. Its name alone says it all: The Please Touch Museum was made with kids in mind, filled with interactive exhibits that will spark an interest in every child and encourage play. 

For a full list of exhibits, click here.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia

Art Museum
Museum admission for kids 12 and under is always free. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice.)

Walking through a quiet museum, gazing at expensive artwork may sound a little boring. But the art museum has a way of igniting interest in and an appreciation of art in visitors of all ages. The museum hosts several interactive programs and art workshops just for kids. (All adults must be accompanied by a child!) 

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Academy of Natural Sciences
Located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Academy of Natural Sciences is the oldest natural history museum in the country. (The Academy of Natural Sciences/ Facebook)

The Academy of Natural Sciences is home to an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils and the region’s largest indoor exhibit of live tropical butterflies. While you're there, check out its new summer exhibit Animal Grossology, inspired by Sylvia Branzei’s best-selling children’s book series Grossology.


Garden State Discovery Museum

 2040 Springdale Rd #100, Cherry Hill, NJ
Garden State Discovery Museum
The Garden State Discovery museum has more than 20 interactive exhibits geared for infants to 10-year-olds, including the one above. (Garden State Discovery Museum)

The Garden State Discovery Museum in South Jersey is similar to The Please Touch Museum, with several hands-on, life-size exhibits that encourage imagination, from a theater that puts kids on center stage to a "dinosaurium" and storybook castle.

Camden's Children's Garden

3 Riverside Dr, Camden, NJ 

Camden Children's Garden
The Camden Children's Garden is 4.5-acre horticultural learning playground in the city of Camden. (Camden Children's Garden/Facebook)

Enjoy the summer weather while exploring Camden Children's Garden, located on the Camden Waterfront. Be sure to check out its Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons-sponsored Butterfly House and baby Hadrosaur sculpture - New Jersey's state dinosaur.

The Franklin Institute

222 N 20th St, Philadelphia

The Franklin Institute on Logan Square in Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute offers extended summer hours through September 6. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice.)

The Franklin Institute may be known for its giant walk-through heart, but the science-centric site offers much more, from the world’s largest display of LEGO art display to static tubes that will surely spark curiosity. View a full list of exhibits here.