Thought museums were all quiet corridors and objects hidden in glass cabinets? Think again. With the summer season nearly upon us, we’re celebrating the institutions which bring history and culture to life in engaging and immersive ways. Come with us on a tour of the world’s best family-friendly museum. Time to let your imagination run riot.


Skansen, Stockholm

Step back in time at Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in the world. Skansen seamlessly brings to life the Sweden of the past, in miniature. Expect over 150 authentic houses, staff in period costume, and real pieces of historic architecture from across the country. Set on the island of Djurgården, it also offers scenic views across Stockholm, providing a fun and family-friendly day out during your visit to the city.

Children will love visiting the Nordic Zoo, which features reindeer, brown bears and wolves, as well as watching in-character staff play music and making crafts while answering questions. Before you leave, make sure to a pay a visit to the traditional bakery, where you enjoy a fresh pastry and a coffee. Festive events are celebrated all year-round – at Christmas time, join in with singing and dancing around the tree. You’ll also find a children’s zoo here, as well as an Our Africa exhibit with monkeys, reptiles and birds.

2. Explora Children's Museum, Rome

The Explora Children’s Museum takes a playful approach to introducing science and history to little ones. With plenty of interactive exhibits and various sections dedicated to different age groups, the museum adopts the motto "learning by doing". 

With the main focus areas as the environment, emerging technologies and the economy, adults may even find themselves learning something, too. There's also an on-site café, zip swing and bookstore to explore. The museum is also within a short walking distance from the Villa Borghese, a large park and garden where kids can run off any remaining energy (and you can sit back and relax). 


Tokyo Toy Museum

Featuring over 10,000 toys from Japan and around the world, the Tokyo Toy Museum is a wonderland for young children. Located in a former elementary school, there are three floors of toys as well as an outdoor area, which allow children and adults alike to get hands-on while learning about other cultures.

There’s even a real toy workshop, where the whole family can try their hand at making toys. Classes are suitable for a range of ages and use recycled materials. There’s a gift shop, too, where you can purchase any toys little ones might have taken a liking to. It’s probably the most fun-loving museum you’ll ever visit. 

4. Museu de la Xocolata, Barcelona

Indulge their sweet tooth (or yours) with a fascinating visit to Barcelona’s Museu de la Xocolata, which is located in what was once the Sant Agustí monastery. This is one for the real chocoholics: on you visit, you’ll learn all about the origins of chocolate, its medicinal properties and how it took Europe by storm. Follow the production process all the way from cocoa tree to bar – and, of course, indulge in plenty of delicious samples along the way.

You can even get hands-on with making your own chocolate – workshops for families include crafting fun chocolate lollipops and learning the basic techniques of chocolate-making. You can also admire intricate chocolate sculptures and browse the gift shop to take some of your favourite varieties home with you. 


American Museum of Natural History, New York

There are few museums in the world quite as iconic as New York’s Museum of Natural History. From the enormous dinosaur bone displays to the hall to the 94ft long blue whale and anatomically accurate Mammal Halls, it’s not short on natural and scientific enchantments for children and adults of all ages. New exhibitions take place all the time, so there’s always something new to discover.

There are plenty of activities designed especially with families in mind, including after-hours astronomy experiences. The museum also holds nature walks in nearby Central Park, so you can observe the migration patterns of a variety of bird species.

Feeling inspired to discover more about the world we live in with your family? Browse our Asian, Mediterranean, Northern European and USA cruises to find out more.

Image credit