If just saying the word museum cues automatic eye rolling from your child, then your teen is probably picturing a bunch of dusty artifacts, documents signed by someone they’ve never heard of and rooms of art and more art. But a summer trip to a local museum can be an amazing experience for you and your child if you pick the right one and do a bit of homework before you go. Show your high school kid some museum fun this summer!
Pick a museum that fits your child’s interests. If you live in or near a major city you most likely have access to museums that celebrate art, science, history, architecture, the military, transportation, music or a famous resident (Graceland counts!). Not sure what’s in your neighborhood? Wikipedia has a great list of just about every museum in the US.
No matter what museum is on your list this summer, remember to go online and check for teen programs such as tours led by teens/college students or download the museum app to get interactive tours perfect for tweens and teens who don’t want to leave their phone at home. Once you arrive, give your child some freedom to explore.
To get you started, we compiled a list of five amazing museums from D.C. to Seattle that even your hard-to-please tween or teen will love. If your travels take you anywhere near, check them out!
International Spy Museum, Washington DC: Sure, DC is bursting with museums for teens and many of them are very cool. But take time on your itinerary to visit the Spy Museum, where visitors take on an interactive mission of their own and experience wars and other historical events through the eyes of a spy. This summer there’s a special exhibition on 50 Years of Bond villains – Bond, James Bond.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH: Are you ready to rock? Visit this museum to experience history through music in four theaters, multiple interactive stations and seven floors of exhibits. Has your teen been begging to go to a music festival and you’re not totally on board? Let them experience it in this summer’s featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL.: Blast off! Your teen will love a ride in the rocket simulator here, but there are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy. The Center has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world. Guests learn about the dramatic Space Race through the development of the space shuttle program and International Space Station, and they can learn more about private space ventures and the latest technological innovations for the future.
Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA: Dodge flying particles at the “Sneeze Wall,” in an interactive health exhibit; travel back in time to the Mesozoic Era, where you’ll meet seven moving, roaring, robotic dinosaurs in a lifelike environment; find out how 3D movies are made; and view dynamic, animated images of the atmosphere, oceans and land on an illuminated sphere six feet in diameter. These are just a few of the amazing exhibits you’ll find here.
Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, MA.: Don’t miss the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, home to more than 300 inductees and 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Hundreds of interactive exhibits share the court with skills challenges, live clinics, and shooting contests.
What’s the coolest museum you and your teen have visited? We’d love to hear! Share your museum fun with us!