We asked 10Best and USA TODAY readers to vote for their favorite Museum for Families, and the results are in! The Indianapolis Children's Museum -- the world's largest children's museum with over 29 acres to its name -- took home top honors.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis houses 472,900-square feet of exhibit space with more than 120,000 artifacts. More than 1 million visitors pass through its doors each year.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is home to the 130-seatSpaceQuest® Planetarium with aDigistar® sky projection system to bring the night sky to life.
Runner-up Children's Museum of Houston welcomes families and invites them to experience a day of fun spread over fourteen exciting galleries. Kids can explore hydro-power, or learn about ecology at the museum's EcoStation, or visit a city "for kids, run by kids" called Kidtropolis.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, our second runner up, features "Timetracks," a journey through the state's history, dating back to the prehistoric. Dinosaur alert! Other permanent exhibits cater to fossil-lovers, so kids who love dinosaurs are in heaven.
Our fourth place finisher, "The World's Only Global Musical Instrument Museum" displays instruments from around the world. Certainly not just for music lovers, this Phoenix museum offers a fascinating peek into the mechanics of mysterious instruments.
Two hundred and fifty exhibits fill up the Discovery Center in Rockford, Illinois, coming in at fifth place. Kids will want to see all of them. From outer space to mathematics, and air and space to levers and pulleys, this center has the basics down pat.
¡Explora! Museum in Albuquerque finished sixth thanks to its hands-on approach. Populated with tons of small table-top exhibits for children, visitors can get up close and personal with art, math, science, music and a variety of other educational subjects.
With over 150,000 square feet of pure fun and education, the seventh-place National Museum of Play in New York is irresistible to families looking for a great way to spend a day together. There's a butterfly garden and a life-size pop-up book along with a kid-friendly library.
Children who love model cars will love the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, which came in at number eight. Even kids who prefer the souped-up versions that zoom by in video games will get a kick out of this place.
Kids can turn into astronauts with the snap of the finger at number nine Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio museum by riding in a mock space shuttle. "COSI" offers a wide array of permanent exhibits and hosts a few traveling ones, too.
Rounding out the top 10, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is located in our nation's capitol and welcomes over eight million people a year, making it the most visited museum in the US.
10Best family travel experts picked 20 nominees for Best Museum for Families. These 10 earned a nomination but didn't make the cut for the top 10. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is probably the best-known natural history museum in the states.
The California Science Center in Los Angeles is a hands-on education destination for families and school groups, presenting interactive exhibits that run the gamut from air and space to ecosystems.
The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta has a rich permanent collection, with over 350 puppets on display from all over the world. Ever-changing shows present classic tales, along with more modern performances through the Center's own company, and traveling artists.
The Denver Children's Museum is an interactive wonderland for tots of all ages. Staff is on hand to make sure you make the most of your visit with age-specific playtime pointers.
San Francisco's Exploratorium is "a twenty-first century learning laboratory" that invites kids of all ages (and grown-ups, too) to experience over 600 exhibits.
Discovery Place in Charlotte brings science's secrets to life. Children can explore everything from physics to biology through interactive exhibits that encourage hands-on exploration.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art isn't just for full-grown art buffs and history geeks: budding ones are invited, too. Visitors can walk the museum's halls to take a tour through mankind's inventiveness through the ages.
The Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul offers a rooftop art park that encourages kids to communicate and get creative, and an exhibit that walks them through Minnesota's natural habitat.
Visitors short and tall will be sure to learn something at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Exhibits range from genetics to ships to bicycles to coal mines: a little bit of everything across the sectors.
Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum offers two floors of exhibits that kids are actively encouraged to touch. Little ones can safely play in a construction zone, while learning, or go down the rabbit hole to a Wonderland-inspired play station.