The busyness of modern life is limits children’s playtime. These museums emphasize play as an essential feature of childhood.

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

At the world’s largest children’s museum, kids can dig for dinosaur bones, touch real dino bones, and meet Bucky, the teenage T. rex. For preschoolers, Playscape offers sensory play at sand and water stations, musical instruments to play, and an art studio. Older children may enjoy American Pop, a permanent exhibit dedicated to American music, fashion, television, movies, comics, and literature. Visitors can have their photo taken to be made into a comic book cover. At the National Geographic Treasures of the Earth, little explorers can check out an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb, Captain Kidd’s shipwreck, and China’s Terra Cotta Warriors. Kids can dress-up in space gear at Beyond Spaceship Earth. Also, there are carousel rides, a five-story glass sculpture, and a train exhibit.

The Strong National Museum of Play

Sesame Street comes to life at this Rochester, New York Museum. Kids can sit on the stoop of 123 Sesame Street, rest in Big Bird’s nest, and meet their Sesame Street friends. Children can also step inside the world of The Berenstain Bears children’s books. The kids can play make believe in Mama’s Quilt Shop, Bear Family Restaurant, Farmer Ben’s Farm, and other places from the books. Also, children can take their pictures with lifesize sculptures of the Berenstain Bears family. Little ones can groove to pop, swing, disco, or Sesame Street songs in DanceLab. Other museum activities include playing classic games like pinball, dominoes, and air hockey, visiting an indoor butterfly garden, riding on an indoor passenger train, entering a giant kaleidoscope, and climbing a rock wall.

Minnesota Children’s Museum at St. Paul

Going down a spiral slide is the reward kids get for reaching the top of The Scramble, a four-story climber. Wet and wacky fun await kids at the car wash. During spring, summer, and fall, kids can explore sound with mallets, gongs, and bells on an outdoor terrace. The Backyard is another three-season exhibit for outdoor play. Other exhibits include an air-powered ball launcher, laser maze, pretend town, giant 3-D Twister, and maker space.