Our Philadelphia kids museum guide collects all of the best family museums around the city and suburbs, along with parent reviews.
Discover the children's museums Philadelphia families love, plus all-ages picks with interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences that make them especially kid-friendly.
Visit our list of Philadelphia museum free days to see when you can visit some of these favorites for nothing!
Hands-on House, Children's Museum of Lancaster
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: This museum, located in the heart of Lancaster, offers educational hands-on exhibits such as a post office, machine shop, farm, grocery store, land of make believe, outdoor play garden and more. The Hands-on House Clubhouse is an area for science and art exploration with various activities in the STEM category such as Jurassic Jungle and Kids City Science Fair.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a train lover's dream. They feature over 100 locomotives and cars from different eras as well as the state's historical collection. Hands-on activities and exhibits let kids explore, learn and get in on the action.
National Toy Train Museum
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The National Toy Train Museum offers an old-time train station look with themed train displays and special exhibits featuring trains from the mid-1800s through the present day. Many exhibits are interactive and hands-on for children to experience.
Hay Creek Valley Historical Association
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Hay Creek Valley Historical Association provides an historical and living experience of Berks County’s agricultural and technological past. They offer demonstrations of early American crafts and trades throughout the year at special events such as Christmas at Joanna and Hay Creek Fall Festivals.
They also feature Joanna Furnace, a historic part of Berks County’s thriving early iron industry. The Furnace was in use from 1791 to 1898 as a single stack, charcoal iron furnace powered by water and later by steam.
Delaware Museum of Natural History
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The Delaware Museum of Natural History permanent exhibits feature dinosaurs, mammals, fossils, birds, sea life animals, shells and more. Head over to their special Nature Nook for interactive hands-on learning and exploring with special events, story time, crafts, live animal presentations and more.
Delaware Children's Museum
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: This museum offers children interactive hands-on exhibits with topics of sports, STEM, arts and vehicles. Kids can experiment with a real aquarium, weather making station, raceway track, pretend bank and restaurant and much more. The sports exhibit challenges you physically and mentally with fitness tests and quiz games.
Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Tim Ponisciak: Have a little one who is really interested in racing cars? Or perhaps you have a child in cub scouts that just was a part of their first pinewood derby? Check out the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The museum has an amazing collection of racing cars, including American made cars like Fords and Chevrolets and also foreign made cars like Ferraris, Jaguars and Bugattis.
American Swedish Historical Museum
Shila: The American Swedish Historical Museum highlights the cultural identity of Swedes and Scandinavians in America. For kids, many enjoy the Pippi Longstocking exhibit – a small, but colorful and imaginary play house.
Please Touch Museum
Shila: The Please Touch Museum is two floors filled with everything related to discovering with exhibits such as: City Capers, Roadside Adventures & Imagination Playground. There's also a 100+ year old carousel to take a spin, plus 3 toddler zones.
Parents, you'll appreciate the collection exhibits & archives-- toys from your childhood!
Take advantage of continuous play-based discovery programs through the many arts, science, music & literacy related programs that run almost daily.
Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Shila: Signature galleries display many objects that come directly from the museum's own archaeological excavations & anthropological expeditions. In addition to ancient mummies & stone coffins, a monumental 13-ton granite sphinx is the centerpiece of one of the finest collections of Egyptian architecture in the USA.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Shila: Climb the 72 front entrance "Rocky" steps and take a photo with Rocky Balboa's statue. Next, explore a wide range of creative and interactive family & children's programs. From large scale family events to studio art creations, drop-in workshops & classes, families can discover the world of art together at this world-class museum. Babies in tow are always welcome in the galleries, and they make it a bit easier with "stroller tours."
The Franklin Institute
Shila: Fun, science-based exhibits with interactive devices & attractions include: Train Factory, The Giant Heart, Sir Isaac's Loft and Escape Rooms. There's also a planetarium & theater with engaging shows & incredible special effects that educate young & old alike about astronomy.
Very popular is the Foucault’s 4 story Pendulum. The pendulum can be viewed from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors of the science museum.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Vanessa M.: The Academy of Natural Sciences is a wonderful nature museum for families to explore; environmental education is offered in a fun, interactive way! Kids of all ages (and their parents!) will love the dinosaur and live butterfly exhibits, as well as live animal presentations, fossil prep lab viewing, and hands on Big Dig where you get to dig like a paleontologist.
Da Vinci Science Center
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Geared toward families with children under 12, the Da Vinci Science Museum is chock full of science exhibits from a hurricane simulator to marine tank to robot dinosaur. This science wonderland is hands-on, interactive and educational and your kids will not even realize they are learning.
Tim Ponisciak: This is a truly "Philadelphian" museum. The Mummers Museum documents the story of this Philly mainstay. You can see some of the many different costumers worn by string bands like the Fralinger, Avalon and Quaker City groups. Kids love seeing the different sequined outfits! Come see many different artifacts and get to know this unique institution a little bit better.
Shila: A chapter in nearly every school-aged child's history book, here you can view the actual assembly room where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Independence Hall admission is by tour only. Reserved tickets can be purchased for a minimal fee and eliminates the long wait for Independence Hall tours and gives you more time to see the other historic sites in the area.
The Liberty Bell
Tim Ponisciak: The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American independence. Come learn about the two individuals who made the bell, Pass & Stow, figure out why there is a crack in the bell and how it came to have its historic meaning.
National Constitution Center
Shila: The National Constitution Center offers visitors of all ages an in depth museum to explore the history & relevance of the Constitution & embrace their role in the story of "We the People." The museum proudly displays 1 of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights, among other national artifacts.
The Center features a range of daily programs, live performances & exhibits like "Signers’ Hall." This exhibit is popular and known for where you sign the Constitution alongside 42 life-size, bronze statues of the Founding Fathers.
Benjamin Franklin Museum
Tim Ponisciak: Check out this great museum dedicated to one of our nation's founding fathers. The Benjamin Franklin Museum educates visitors on some lesser known facts about Franklin and is easily doable in half a day. The museum has a number of interactive exhibits, so kids of all ages will love it! Kids will enjoy looking for small pet squirrel figurines (skuggs) located throughout the exhibits.
Museum of The American Revolution
Tim Ponisciak: The Museum of the American Revolution is one of the city's newer museums. It has several thousand artifacts related to the founding of the United States. There are a few films to watch, a replica of Boston's Liberty Tree and a replica privateer ship.
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: Learn about the life and literary works of Edgar Allan Poe at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. Located in Old City, take a tour of his historic home, listen to his work narrated by famous actors, discover how his work influenced writers including Stephen King, and more. Kids can become a Junior Ranger and earn a badge by downloading and completing an activity book from their website.
Betsy Ross House
Shila: The Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag, offers kids audio tours and games to solve 13 “history mysteries.” Adult audio tours are also available.
Independence Seaport Museum
Shila: The Independence Seaport Museum is an anchor attraction on Penn's Landing, attracting visitors to experience both Philadelphia's heritage & current waterfront. The Museum educates families through interactive programs, exhibits, events & year-round visiting ships like the Cruiser Olympia, the oldest steel warship afloat in the world.
National Museum of Industrial History
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: The National Museum of Industrial History showcases industrial achievements and highlights the work of innovators from the past through present as well as the leaders of the future. Over 200 artifacts are on display, including many from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. There is also a permanent iron, steel and textile collection. Kids will experience many interactive and hands-on learning stations.
Philadelphia Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion
Shila: This insect museum shares its amazing collection of species from all over the world with science lovers of all ages! Enjoy two stories of exciting & educational exhibits filled with an amazing assortment of arthropods, including tarantulas, scorpions, & praying mantids. Get up close & personal with butterflies in the year-round Butterfly Pavilion.
The Bucks County Children's Museum
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: This interactive, educational and hands-on museum boasts many exhibits such as town square with general store, post office and ice cream stand, hospital, factory and raceway, big dig, recycled adventure, hot air balloon experience and wind to water exhibit. The Museum reflects the history and culture of Bucks County in this unique and fun environment.
Tim Ponisciak: Northlandz is one of America's largest exhibits of model railroads. Kids will love exploring the many different realistic depictions of America as you literally walk through the layout. There are some huge bridges and mountains to check out! They have over 8 miles of track that run 100 trains across landscape that depicts the great outdoors with bridges, canyons, towns, villages, buildings and much more. The venue also hosts a doll museum featuring over 200 dolls.
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