If your family enjoys visiting museums when traveling, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve collected recommendations from some of our favorite travel writers about the best children’s museums, discovery centers, science museums, and more. It can be difficult to find the best museums for kids, but we hope this directs you to some of the top family attractions around the world. (And if you want the best museum for kids in the US, you’ll find that HERE).
Best Museums Around the World for Families
*Note: The bold, colored name of the museum has a link to an article with more information about visiting. Hopefully, this will help you plan your museum visit.
Best museums for kids in Canada
The Royal Tyrrell Museum – Drumheller, Alberta
The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada is a must visit for anyone making a stop in Calgary. It will be a day trip from Calgary since it’s a 1.5 hour drive from Calgary, but there’s more than just the museum to explore around Drumheller. What makes the Royal Tyrrell Museum so special is the display of dinosaurs, it’s one of the world’s largest! Kids of every age will be fascinated by the dinosaur skeletons on display. There are plenty of interactive exhibits throughout the museum to help kids learn about the prehistoric times. Our kids are still young enough that they are mostly interested in running from dinosaur exhibit to dinosaur exhibit, not leaving us much time to read, but each time we visit we stay a little longer and learn just a little bit more. To make a full day outing, we also recommend doing a short hike around the museum or in other areas around Drumheller to fully experience the Canadian badlands. Celine at Family Can Travel
Canadian Museum of History – Gatineau, Quebec
Most school children in Ontario and Quebec are familiar with the Ottawa Gatineau region in the nation’s capital as it is often a field trip destination for Canadian school kids.
This area is filled with a rich history, including our Canadian Parliament buildings, Rideau Canal, and multiple museums. Of all the options in this area, my personal favourite is the Canadian Museum of History, just across the bridge over the Ottawa River in Gatineau.
There are three permanent exhibits in the Canadian Museum of History, including the Grand Hall, First People’s Hall and the Canadian History Hall. Canadian History Hall is the newest of the three permanent exhibits and it is exceptionally well curated and executed. From the lengthy entryway that consists of sleek reflective surfaces that draw you into the story to the purposeful inclusion of stories from typical Canadians that tug on your heartstrings, the Canadian History Hall is a moving experience for all ages.
Grand Hall is an introduction to the history, cultures and beliefs of the First Peoples of Canada’s Pacific Coast. The Grand Hall is an extremely impressive public space with a remarkable view of Canada’s Parliament buildings. First People’s Hall is dramatic and educational, celebrating the history and diversity of our aboriginal people.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive, educational, or moving exhibit in Canada anywhere pertaining to our national history and the history of our First Peoples as well. The museum contains many hands on displays and kids can also explore other cultures inside the Canadian Children’s Museum, contained within the Canadian Museum of History. Paula of Thrifty Momma Tips
Canadian Museum of Nature – Ottawa, Ontario
We loved our visit to the Canadian Museum of Nature during our visit to Ottawa! We were impressed right away when we walked in and saw the dinosaur area. My kids walked through with a ton of interest. They also enjoyed all of the hands-on, fun activities for kids throughout the museum that focus on Mammals, Birds, Water, Animalium, and Vale Earth (with a world-class collection of minerals, rocks and gems). The museum is in a renovated “heritage castle” so the building is beautiful. Although it is not technically a children’s museum, it definitely caters to kids and they would not be bored there at all. It is a museum kids will enjoy and learn a lot through hands-on experiences along the way! Heather at Raising Memories (And don’t miss these other children’s museums in Ottawa!)
The Rooms – St. Johns, Newfoundland
Where can you go to learn about the history, culture, and art of Newfoundland – on the site of an historic fort and a fire department from long ago? The Rooms! The Rooms is a multi-purpose cultural museum that shares the essence of this remarkable Canadian province. We loved the glass walls, the soaring space, the boat in the center, the friendly people, the sense of adventure and curiosity that vibrated in the air. Jessie at Wandering Educators
Vancouver Maritime Museum – Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada, is home to a variety of excellent family-friendly museums. As a major city located on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver has a rich maritime history. And there’s no better place to explore the city’s connection to the sea than at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Located across from downtown Vancouver in scenic Vanier Park in Kits Point, the Maritime Museum offers a deep dive into the maritime heritage of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Visitors can tour the RCMP St. Roch, an historic Arctic exploration vessel that was the first ship to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east. There are interactive historical exhibits about the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and the history of Greenpeace, and even a Yellow Submarine. Don’t miss the Kids Discovery Centre, with hands on fun and a great children’s imagination section that includes pirate dress-up. Ahoy mateys! Claudia at The Travelling Mom
Canadian Museum for Human Rights – Winnipeg, Manitoba
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is one of the must visit museums for families in Canada. Outside, the museum dominates the Winnipeg skyline with its unique architecture, but the real marvel lies within.
This museum is dedicated to human rights, from the beginning of time to present day. Children have an opportunity to listen to personal stories, learn about Canada’s history, and even experience what it is like for people around the world who suffer human rights violations.
Plan on spending at least half a day exploring because everything in this museum has a purpose and was carefully and respectfully created. This museum is probably best for ages 9 and above, but it’s a must see for all ages. We can’t wait to go back. Kirsten of Kids Are A Trip
Best Museums in Europe for Families
Leonardo da Vinci Museum – Florence, Italy
There are two Leonardo da Vinci museums in Florence, but our favorite is the one at Via dei Servi, 66. Children will be amazed by the life size re-creations of some of Leonardo’s designs. From the room of mirrors to his flying machines, there are over 40 machines built to scale from his drawings. This is the ultimate hands on museum. Expect to spend a couple of hours trying all of the inventions. I’ve never seen my kids so engaged and reading the informational cards! It’s a great museum for starting conversations about how the the world works. Kirsten from Kids Are A Trip
Corrie Ten Boom House – Haarlem, Netherlands
The Corrie Ten Boom Museum is located in the city center of Haarlem, Netherlands. Home to three generations of the Ten Boom family until 1945, the main floor was a watch shop while the family lived above on the second floor.
During WWII, the Ten Booms offered a space in their home as a hiding place for Jews and those being hunted down by the Nazis, helping to save the lives of hundreds of Jews and refugees. In February 1944, the home was raided by the Nazis. Corie and her family were arrested by the SS while six Jews and refugees remained safe and hidden.
Today, the Corrie Ten Boom House can only be visited with a guided tour. Learn the fascinating and inspiring story of the Ten Boom family leading up to and during WWII. Tour the home in its original condition and see the actual hiding place that saved hundreds. Reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance of the desired date. I enjoyed this museum much more than the Anne Frank house. Tanya of Rad Family Travel
Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Science Museum) – Lisbon, Portugal
The Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Science Museum) in Lisbon, Portugal, is honestly the BEST kids science museum we have ever been to. This museum is all about learning through play, extremely fun and imaginative play. My boys (ages 3 and 5) particularly loved playing with the wheels and cranes in the building area (specifically for under 5s), driving the car with square wheels, creating flowers out of their heads through dance, and programming a robot around a maze. We spent a good few hours here and there are staff on hand to help your little ones and show them what to do. Jenny of Travelynn Family
The Verkehrshaus (Transport Museum) – Luzern, Switzerland
Switzerland’s most popular museum, The Verkehrshaus, or Transport Museum, is located just a half an hour stroll along the lake from the Luzern city centre. The Museum focuses on anything that moves: trains, planes, cars, spacecraft and boats are all on display, it’s impossible to see everything in one day. Most displays are interactive, fly a plane with your arms, steer a blimp, write your name in morse code or get lost in the mirror maze. My kids could stare for hours at the Tourism Flipper, the unique marble run representing different parts of tourism in Switzerland. Get to know Switzerland up close by walking over an 1:20000 aerial photo of Switzerland at the Swissarena exhibit. The Verkehrshaus is also home to an IMAX cinema, planetarium and the Lindt chocolate adventure. Kristin at Swiss Family Travels
Deutsches Museum – Munich, Germany
One of the most memorable experiences on our trip to Germany with kids was spending half a day at the Deutsches Museum. This is the world’s largest science and technology museum with over 50,000 square meters of exhibit space. The Deutsches Museum has everything from airplanes to ships to a complete replica of the Stone Age Altamira Cave. Plan on spending 3-4 hours here minimum, as your kids will want to touch and see everything in this fabulous discovery museum. Kirsten of Kids Are A Trip
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History – Oslo, Norway
Visitors to the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History arrive by boat from Oslo’s harbor, and after a short walk arrive at one of the best living history museums we’ve ever found. This is Norway’s largest collection of cultural artifacts. Most of the visit takes place outdoors and kids will love the different residences (both old and new) that were brought here for families to explore. There’s even a completely intact stave church from Gol that dates to 1200. As you walk (or run) through the grounds you will encounter people dressed in period costumes completing normal Norwegian tasks such as wood chopping, knitting, and taking care of farm animals. We thought this was a brilliant way to introduce our children to Norway’s history and traditions. Families This is one of the best museums for toddlers and young children as there is plenty of room to run around. – Kirsten of Kids Are A Trip
The Borghese Gallery – Rome, Italy
The Borghese Gallery and Museum is one of the best museums in Rome and was one of our family’s favorite stops during our 10-week adventure around Europe last summer. Our four little kids each found something to appreciate and learn. It’s the perfect size museum – it has some true masterpieces, but isn’t so huge that it becomes overwhelming. When we arrived, we picked up a terrific book in the gift shop containing reproductions of art found in the museum, along with a short description, a couple questions, and a replica coloring/sticker page on the opposite side. We used it as a scavenger hunt, and several works we saw (Raphael’s Young Woman with Unicorn, Canova’s Venus Victrix) informed our art history studies over the course of our summer. The Borghese is an excellent foundational art museum for kids and adults, and bonus – the spectacular gardens are perfect for burning off energy when you’re done! Preethi at Local Passport Family
Viking Museum – Roskilde, Denmark
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark is a 35-minute train ride from Copenhagen that takes visitors through Viking maritime history. It includes reconstructed remains of five sunken Viking ships and many other types of vessels. Visitors are encouraged to climb aboard ship replicas.
Kids (and adults) can dress up in various outfits as Vikings. The Voyage of Discovery allows kids to complete tasks around the museum and earn prizes afterwards. Use the free guided tours to learn more about the Vikings, the ships’ history and workmanship.
Our favorite part was the various interactive maritime crafts and activities outside including watching the boat builders in action at the active boatyard. They offered workshops like wood carving, sail making, basket weaving and rope making. For a fee, families can sail for an hour in a Viking ship or traditional Nordic boat along the adjacent fjord during the summer. Mary at The World is a Book
The Seaplane Harbour – Tallinn, Estonia
The Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam) is one of our all-time favourite museums. This museum is housed in some impressive hangars that were built for seaplanes more than 100 years ago. These were partly refurbished to house the museum starting back in 2010.
The beauty of this museum is that it has something for everyone, and you can easily spend a whole day here with all ages. Inside it contains a Vickers submarine, EML Lembit, built in Barrow in Furness back in 1936 for the Estonian navy. There is also an old steam-powered ice breaker built in 1914, which is located outside in the museum harbour.
These are just some of the many interactive museum exhibits: you can fly a seaplane simulator, dress up in captain’s uniform, shoot down aircraft and race boats with remote control, to name but a few. There are also lots of maritime exhibits to see, like different types of floating craft, life rafts, mines, buoys, and seaplanes, for example. The museum also holds different exhibitions and there is also a children’s playground outside. Thassia at Family Off Duty
The Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) – Turin, Italy
The Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) is an absolute must see when visiting Turin, Italy. This museum is one of the oldest Egyptian Museums in the world and is second only to Cairo’s museum in size. Interestingly, Turin is the city where Egyptology began. Museo Egizio is located centrally in Turin. If you’re taking the train into Turin, it’s approximately a 1KM walk to the entrance. The Museum is 5 floors, but is accessible with Strollers and wheelchairs. There is a small café and baby changing tables if you’re traveling with small children. We highly recommend the audio tour that will walk you floor by floor explaining each exhibit. If you are pressed for time, I suggested mapping out what you want to see before you arrive. Must not miss spots: Tomb of Kha and Merit, Turin Royal Canon, Statues of the Gods Isis and Sekhmet, and the statue of Ramses II. And if there is only one exhibit you see, be SURE to head to the ground floor to walk through the Gallery of Kings. It is unreal. The Egyptian Museum of Turn cannot be missed if you’re in Northeast Italy. Tania at Big Brave Nomad
Schönbrunn Palace – Vienna, Austria
I think that Vienna is one of the best cities in Europe for families, and when there, don’t miss the amazing Children’s Museum at the Schönbrunn Palace! It is one of the best museums in Vienna, and one of the most engaging and fun museums we’ve ever visited. The hands-on exhibits are designed to help kids learn and experience what life at the Palace was like in the 1700s. They can dress up as princes or princesses from the extensive wardrobes in every size (including outfits for mom and dad!), see the school room, play with old-fashioned toys, set the table for a fancy banquet, and complete a scavenger hunt. A morning here makes history come alive, and sparks kids’ imaginations and interest for all the rest of Vienna’s wonderful sights. Hayley at Because Germany
London Museums for Kids
The British Museum is a must-see destination for families visiting London. With over eight million artifacts to explore, I highly recommend hiring a private, family-friendly guide to show you around. Here you can see the real Rosetta Stone and learn about the origins of language. Kids also get a kick out of the Egyptian Mummies and can learn to identify the leaders depicted in Ancient artifacts by comparing the similarities between art from ancient Aztecs to Mesopotamia. There is something to stimulate any imagination and the Great Hall is an architecture wonder and a great place to take a break from gallery hopping. Tamara of We3Travel
If you visit London with kids and want to introduce them to the British Monarchy, take them to the Royal Mews, home to the royal collection of carriages and coaches. It’s not a traditional museum and is actually housed inside the Queen’s (working) stables, which makes the whole experience so much more authentic.
You can visit the Queen’s ‘garage’ with several impressive state cars, but the main attractions are the Royal carriages. From the 18th century Gold State Coach used exclusively at coronation of British monarchs to the carriage used at Prince Harry’s wedding, and so many other fairytale-like carriages that bring history to life, there is nothing quite like it.
What we liked about the Royal Mews the most is that it’s not a boring museum and actually manages to keep kids interested and entertained. It’s also quite small, so even those with a short attention span will be able to enjoy it – perfect for families! Jurga at Full Suitcase
The London transport museum in Covent Garden is one of my favourite museums in the world for kids and families. As you enter you take an elevator ride back in time to the beginnings of public transport in London! The museum covers all type of transport the capital has seen from the early days and hackney carriages to the makings of the tube and bus systems as well as river transport known in the Capital today.
Kids will love all the buses and trains you can sit on and there is even a great hands on area for little explorers to get hands on learning experience. This museum is definitely best suited to kids from toddler age up.
Adults and older children will love learning more about design classics and wider effects that London transport has had in the world. My personal favorite collection at the museum are the Art Deco posters.
Be warned though this is one of the admission charged museums in London but it is well worth the money! Leona at Wandermust Family
Our kids think that the London Science Museum is the most exciting museum in the city. There is so much for children to do here, from seeing the Apollo 10 command module to investigating climate change and morphing your face to see what it will look like when you’re older.
The emphasis is on learning through play and under eight years old will love the Pattern Pod, a multi sensory area where you can find out more about the world around you.
Entrance to the museum is free but it’s well worth paying extra to go to Wonderlab. The Wonderlab gallery is basically a giant playground where you get to watch explosive demonstrations, whizz down a gigantic slide and take part in fun scientific games. It’s no wonder it’s considered to be the most spectacular interactive gallery in the world. Clare at Suitcases and Sandcastles
Tate Modern is a museum you must visit when you are in London. It is home to several of Pablo Picasso – the father of Modern Art’s paintings etching and sketches. The art gallery houses UK’s largest collection of modern and contemporary art including Kandinsky, Dali, Picasso, Braque and many more.
The former Bankside Power Station building and the Turbine Hall, which once housed the electricity generators of the old power station was converted into a gallery that houses several of these remarkable contemporary pieces. Some of which will get some giggle from the kids but will get their creative juices flowing nevertheless. Priya at Outside Suburbia
The National Maritime Museum is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich in London. It’s a brilliant destination for families who wish to learn more about the UK’s maritime history in a fun and experiential way.
We took part in one of the regular Character Encounters at the National Maritime Museum where young visitors are shown around the galleries by an actor playing the role of a figure from maritime history. This really brings the museum to life and the group end up singing and shouting and re-enacting historical events.
There are two hands-on areas for children, depending on their age, where they can dress up, operate a dock crane, try Morse code or raise semaphore flags. There’s also an excellent café overlooking a giant floor map of the world which children can walk or crawl across while parents refuel with a quick coffee. Annabel at Smudged Postcard
There is so much to captivate children at the Natural History Museum in London, whether they like dinosaurs and giant whales or volcanoes and earthquakes. Take a journey through a spectacular Earth sculpture and find out about the tremendous forces that shape our planet, visit the wildlife garden, and explore the amazing diversity of life on Earth. The hands on Science Centre is a great place for children to examine specimens from around the world, using microscopes and other instruments.
The most popular gallery at the Natural History Museum is the Dinosaurs, where you can get up close to prehistoric specimens, including Iguanodon, one of the first species of dinosaur, and of course, the formidable Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Natural History Museum is open daily and admission is free. Nicky at Go Live Young
Best Museums in Paris with kids
Follow this kid-friendly highlights list to fall in love with the most famous museum in the world – Paris’ The Louvre! (1) Take selfies in front of I.M. Pei’s jaw-dropping glass pyramids. (2) Challenge your kids to mimic Mona Lisa’s smile. (3) Greet the graceful goddess, the mysterious Venus de Milo, and guess what she was doing with her arms before they broke off. (4) Let your imaginations soar as you visit famed Greek statute, “winged victory,” which was likely destroyed by an earthquake and originally discovered in pieces! (5) Head down to THE “coolest” thing about the Louvre, the underground boardwalk, part of a fortress from 1190. Search for medieval “graffiti” on the castle walls. (6) Do not miss Emperor Napoleon’s exquisite “apartments.” (7) Invite your kids to touch the art in the Tactile Gallery (FYI many of the sculptures are nudes!). Lisa of Hilton Mom Voyage
At the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, your children will recognize works from the museum’s extensive collection of French Impressionist paintings, just as they might the Mona Lisa. They will understand that these are famous paintings to appreciate without resorting to those common museum activities geared to children.
Most children develop a flavor for Impressionism first because of their bright colors, so it’s far easier getting children to focus and appreciate a stroll in these galleries than it might be for them to see rooms after room of Renaissance portraits of the Madonna and Child.
The Musée Dorsay also contains a massive scale model of the Palais Grenier, Paris’ opera house, and it will fascinate them like the most intricate Lego city.
And finally, the elegant restaurant at the museum has a wonderful children’s menu, perfect on the nights the museum is one late, so families can enjoy a meal under Rococo ceilings to remind them that they are indeed in Paris. Robin of Luxe Recess
Museums in Israel
Israeli Children’s Museum – Holon, Israel
The Israeli Children’s Museum is unusual because it’s dedicated to teaching children how to feel as well as play. Ages 9 and up must try one of their unique, by-reservation tours like the one we chose, “Dialogue in the Dark.” Unlike immersive experiences in deafness and aging, we became blind, armed only with a probing cane and four other senses. For 75 minutes, the soothing voice of our blind guide Meil coaxed us through an opaque world: across a bridge, into a boat, around a house and shopping in a grocery store. We met up at the end in a lightless pub with our questions. He said people should focus on abilities rather than disabilities, and hated being shouted at because he was blind. To share one of these eye-opening experiences, take a public bus from Tel Aviv to the Peres Park entertainment complex in Holon, about 30 minutes away. Kyle of Family Travel Forum
Best Singapore Museum
The ArtScience Museum – Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
This ArtScience Museum in Singapore museum hosts a range of exhibitions from the world of art and science, media and technology, and design and architecture. These exhibitions are always groundbreaking, futuristic and intriguing and there’s nearly always something interesting on for the kids here.
If no touring exhibitions pique your interest, the permanent Future World: where art meets science is always a big hit with kids. Thanks to its multitude of interactive installations, the museum proudly claims to be Singapore’s largest interactive digital playground. You will need a good couple of hours for this exhibition alone; my kids never want to leave! If you visit on a Friday, up to 4 children under the age of 12 go free with every adult ticket purchased. Marianne of Mum on the Move
Mexico City Museums
La Casa Azul – Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City’s most popular museum is also a great one for kids. Located in the southern neighbourhood of Coyoacán in Mexico City, La Casa Azul is the home of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This is the home where she was born, where she grew up, where she lived with her husband Diego Rivera and where she later died. Today the house is a museum and it’s filled with memorabilia and personal items belonging to Frida and Diego. Jewelry, kitchenware, photographs, letters and more – including lots of Frida’s paintings – are on display throughout the 10 rooms. It’s an incredible insight into the lives of Mexico’s most famous artists. For kids there are guides in every room with information and tasks for them to do (the guides are in Spanish only). The museum also holds workshops for children every Saturday from 12 – 2pm. Katja at Globetotting
Museums in Australia
Australian Museum – Sydney, Australia
The Australian Museum in Sydney is a real family favourite, mainly thanks to its resident dinosaurs. Kids also love all the stuffed Australian animals in the zoological collection and it is a great way to get to know all the local Aussie wildlife – especially becoming familiar with all the dangerous snakes and spiders. And how else would you get to go nose-to-nose with a saltwater crocodile?
Another favourite section of the museum is always the Search & Discover centre, where there is lots of hands-on fun. Our kids love searching for stick insect eggs here. There are always fun family events taking place at the museum, from workshops to movies to ‘Dinosnore’ sleepovers and the upstairs café with its views over the city is a great option for lunch.
Entrance to the museum is free for under-16s, making this an affordable option for a day out (accompanying adults still have to pay). Marianne from Little City Trips