24 FEB 2015 - BY JOSEPH TYSON
There are so many child-friendly and family-centric museums in the world, sometimes in a place where you least expect one to be. To give you a few ideas, we’ve picked five of the best - it’s time to get planning that next trip.
You would certainly be surprised if you turned up at the The V&A Museum of Childhood to find out that it wasn’t child friendly. Luckily, this isn’t the case, and the museum is dedicated to inspiring the minds of kids and adults alike.
At the moment, Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House is one display that’s sure to fascinate your little ones as it delves into the history of some of the UK’s best-loved doll houses. In total, there are 12 houses on show that span a history of 300 years; kids will enjoy learning about these toys from the past, and maybe you can reminisce yourself!
The V&A also runs a number of daily arts and craft classes on a drop-in basis, if you want to explore the other less child-focussed displays in the museum. There’s storytelling, tours and all manner of other creative pursuits set up to keep your little ones occupied.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (or the Met, as it’s more commonly known), is one of the most impressive museums in the world, and it’s perfectly setup for families with children to explore.
The museum provides a child-friendly family map, which is a great way to get your kids involved as it lets them take the lead regarding what you see in the Met. The museum also has a number of family guides so you can plan out an itinerary based on the things your kids will find the most impressive.
These fun little guides are designed to make a day out at the museum much more interactive and exhilarating - you can’t go wrong!
Sometimes, kids get a bit frustrated being cooped up in a museum for hours on end, but luckily that’s not an issue at the Jardin des Plantes.
Your kids will love exploring the mazes of verdant topiary at this botanical garden, with all kinds of exotic plant life on show. There’s even a play area where they can blow off some steam while you relax in the Jardin’s trendy cafe.
And there’s even more fun for children in the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, which is also situated inside the park’s grounds. As well as the many interactive displays here, there’s a wonderful installation that consists of stuffed animals in their natural habitats - this one is popular with children and adults alike!
While the Anne Frank and Van Gogh museums may be a little much for young children, the NEMO Science Center will be right up their street.
Rent a pair of bicycles - there are plenty of places to choose from - and discover the city on two wheels. Amsterdam is incredibly bike friendly and you’ll see so many Amsterdammers getting around in this way, so why not join in and do as the locals do?
Even the building's green, ship-like exterior is bound to fascinate them as they approach the museum over the futuristic footbridge; but it’s what’s inside that will really excite them.
The NEMO’s working laboratory is undoubtedly the highlight, and it gives kids the chance to don a white coat and perform real experiments for themselves. After that, you can all explore the machine park, marvel at the wonders of science and technology, and create your own clean water - it’s an interactive fun-fest with a healthy dose of education included!
Although you might be surprised to see Halifax rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paris and New York on this list, when it comes to child-friendly museums this little Yorkshire town has one of the finest around.
Eureka is everything a child wants in a museum, and there is one simple rule that makes it so popular: play to learn.
The emphasis here is squarely placed on exploration. Your kids will love discovering how the world works through the many intriguing, colourful galleries that are set up here, with particular favourites being the mini supermarket and post office - who knew grocery shopping could be so fun?