Updated for 2019.
The kids are going to need somewhere to burn off some of their extra energy this winter. Iowa has several fantastic museums, many of them pure kid nirvana: places with interactive exhibits, cool experiments, live animals, and spectacular play spaces where they can do just that. In short, these museums are perfect places to spend the whole day (or many days) with kids of all ages. Here are 10 children’s museums in or near Iowa.
Discovery Depot Children’s Museum
128 S Chambers Street • Galesburg, IL 61401 • (309) 344-8876 • http://www.discoverydepot.org/
The Discovery Depot museum provides an engaging atmosphere in which children and families explore, learn, and have fun together. Since 1999, they have sought to fulfill their mission, “Inspiring Wonder and Excitement for Learning” through diverse programs, exhibits, and community partnerships. They promote literacy, science, engineering, technology, mathematics, fine arts, and cultural education by engaging families through hands-on learning.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 12 Noon to 5:00 pm.
Cost: $8 ages 1 and over.
2900 Learning Campus Drive • Bettendorf, IA 52722 • (563) 344-4106 • http://familymuseum.org/
The Family Museum prides itself on offering unique and educational experiences for children and families. Exhibits and programs are designed for a primary audience of children eight and younger with an adult caregiver. The Family Museum includes 44,000 square feet of programming space with a 10,400 square foot interactive exhibit hall, three multi-purpose rooms for dance instruction and performances, two preschool classrooms, two art studios, one science studio, a party room, Corner Store, and a private outdoor playground.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm; Friday-Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday: 12:00 Noon to 5:00 pm.
Cost: $9 ages 1 – 59; Ages 60+ $4; $5 Active Military personnel, their spouse, and children residing in the household and FREE for visitors under age one and all Family Museum members.
Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center
332 8th Avenue S • Clinton, IA 52732 • (563) 243-3600 • http://adlerdiscoverycenter.org/
The Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center was first started in 1993 as a tribute to the world famous clown and Clinton native, Felix Adler. Their mission is to provide a safe and positive environment for families to discover the world by exploring arts, culture, and science through interactive and educational exhibits. The museum is housed in a 17,000 square foot building with more than 20 permanent and travelling interactive exhibits.
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm.
Cost: $4.00 per person ages 2-64; $3.00 per person 65+; FREE Members and Kids 1 and younger.
The Iowa Children’s Museum
Coral Ridge Mall •1451 Coral Ridge Avenue • Coralville, IA 52241 • (319) 625-6255 • http://theicm.org/
The mission of The Iowa Childen’s Museum is to inspire every child to imagine, create, discover and learn through the power of play. Their exhibits offer hands-on educational components that promote the active exploration, problem solving, and discovery that lead to learning. Most importantly, the act of play is respected and valued by museum staff and volunteers as a critical aspect of childhood that leads to healthy, happy adults. All of their exhibits build skills that correlate to one or more of their five educational initiatives of Arts & Culture, Financial Literacy, Healthy Kids, School Readiness, and STEM.
Hours: Monday: CLOSED, Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; Friday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Cost: $9 Ages 1-59: $8 Seniors (60+); FREE Infants (under 1) and Members
Launch PAD Children’s Museum
705 Douglas Street • Sioux City, IA 51101 • (712) 224-2542 • http://www.launchpadmuseum.com/
The museum is currently in its final stages of construction and is set to open to local kids and their families February 11th, 2016. Launch PAD will be a family-orientated, hands-on children’s museum with emphasis on providing educational value while fostering a child’s creativity and imagination. The museum will target children ages 6 months to 10 years, and will be housed in a 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.
Hours: Monday – CLOSED; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday10:00 am to 4:30 pm; Thursday 10:30 am to 7:00 pm; and Sunday 1:00 to 4:30 pm.
Admission: $8 Age 1 to 65; $6 66+ Senior citizens and active military members (must provide ID); FREE Under Age 1, Members and Teachers (must provide school ID).
Omaha Children’s Museum
500 S 20th Street • Omaha, NE 68102 • (402) 342-6164 • http://www.ocm.org/
Since its inception in 1976, Omaha Children’s Museum has been a special place where children can challenge themselves, discover how the world works and learn through play. It is Omaha’s primary participatory museum and provides a variety of hands-on exhibits, workshops, programs, presentations and special events that put children in touch with their ever-changing world.
Hours: Winter Hours: Monday: CLOSED; Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; and Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Summer Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Cost: $13 Kids 2-15; $13 Adults 16-59; $12 Seniors 60+; FREE Kids under 24 months and Members
Phelps Youth Pavillion
225 Commercial Street • Waterloo, IA 50701• (319) 291-4490 • http://www.phelpsyouthpavilion.org/
Phelps Youth Pavilion, an interactive children’s museum where Art launches a world of wonder, discovery & learning. The museum features over 40 hands-on exhibits related to art and culture. In addition to their exhibits, they also offer over a hundred classes & workshops for kids, adults and families.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00pm; Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 pm; Mondays Closed to the Public.
Cost: $5 per person Non-members (ages 1 and up); FREE Members and kids under age 1.
Putnam Museum and Science Center
1717 W 12th Street • Davenport, IA 52804 • (563) 324-1933 • http://www.putnam.org/
Experience fun for everyone at this hands-on Museum and Science Center. The museum was established in 1867 and was one of the first museums west of the Mississippi. The Science Center opened in 2014. There are many interactive and kid friendly activities and exhibits throughout the centers. They also feature an IMAX Theatre with shows running throughout the day.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.; Sunday 12:00 Noon to 5:00 pm.
Cost: $9.00 Adult ($1 off seniors over 60 and college students or military with ID); $8.00 Youth (3-18 yrs.); Members: FREE.
Science Center of Iowa
401 W Martin Luther King Jr Parkway • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 274-6868 • http://www.sciowa.org/
The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. Their goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals come to explore science and technology. As a fully accredited museum, SCI has reached the highest level of national recognition. The Science Center’s hands-on exhibits, special-format theaters and other unique facilities attract Iowans and distant visitors.
Hours: Winter Hours: Mondays: CLOSED; Tuesday thru Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; and Sundays: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Memorial Day–Labor Day: Monday–Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm.
Cost: Children under 2 are FREE; $9 Child (2-12); 13 Adult (13-64) ; and $9 Senior (65+).
What are your favorite children’s museums in Iowa?