A trip to a museum is one of parenting’s great gambles. Choose unwisely and your child will find themselves in the throes of unquenchable boredom. No kid wants to spend their Saturday in the presence of verbose audio guides, wordy displays and the hollow silence that unfolds as middle-aged museum-goers stroll around with their hands held behind their backs.
But find somewhere with bold displays and interactive content and suddenly they can’t get enough. What’s more, when children are learning and having fun, they tend to think they’re just doing the latter.
I know only too well. As a dinosaur-obsessed child, seeing the 32m-long cast of a diplodocus skeleton standing guard in the main hall of London’s Natural History Museum was enough to make me feel like I wasn’t learning at all. But then I also remember a grueling trip to an exhibition featuring different types of garden gate, from which I absorbed absolutely no information about horticultural fittings.
So if you want to get your kids excited about learning this weekend, here’s our choice of some child-friendly museums with that little something extra.
Chinese Aviation Museum
It may lie quite far from the city, but the Aviation Museum needs all the space it can get to host Asia’s largest display of aircraft. The English signs aren’t too extensive but the mainly military collection flies you through the history of 20th Century China, with specimens from the 1940s through to modern airliner production. Would-be pilots can also take a seat in a fighter jet and kids are bound to enjoy the flight simulator and a play area with an “anti-aircraft artillery” theme.
A slightly closer option is the Military Museum in Haidian. While it may have far fewer planes, it certainly makes up for them with tanks, boats and other military gear.
Click here to see more museums to visit.
This post first appeared on September 13, 2013.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons