There are a lot of cool museums out there, but how do you choose which ones to visit? In any given tourist city, you’re bound to find several museums vying for your attention. Skip the tourist traps and check out these awesome exhibits! You’ll be amazed at how much there is to see and learn.
1 Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
You saw this one in Night at the Museum 2, but you totally didn’t see all of it. Come learn about the history of flight from Kitty Hawk to rocket ships! This is one that the whole family will enjoy, since there is plenty to see and do at all age levels. After all, what kid—or ninety-year-old, for that matter—doesn’t want to see a huge plane just a few feet overhead?
2 Museum of Natural History in New York City
This iconic NYC museum will probably never lose the wonder that it inspires in the hearts of thousands of school kids and tourists each year. There are so many halls and exhibits that you couldn’t possibly see all of them in just a day or even after several trips. You could literally spend hours in a single room! Some museum favorites include the Easter Island Head, the huge t-rex skeleton, and the African animals display.
3 Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
This museum isn’t exactly world famous, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The Heard Museum tells the story of the Southwestern United States from a perspective that isn’t often given voice: that of Native Americans. In fact, every trip in Arizona has a section of the museum for them to communicate their community lifestyle, issues, and hopes. You’ll be amazed to see the art, culture, and history that still exists in Native communities today in spite of the generations of abuse that many tribes have endured.
4 The Louvre
This one is probably already on your bucket list. It is one of the world’s most famous art museums, after all. See the original works of the greats displayed, and mingle with art students and artists from around the world as you move from hall to hall. One of the coolest things about the Louvre is its collection of ancient art.
5 Museo Nacional del Prado
This treasure is the Spanish version of the Louvre, in a sense. It is also a famous art museum, and it’s been around for a couple of centuries already. Most of its art is much older than that, however. You’ll have the opportunity to see a lot of famous sculptures and paintings in person, especially Spanish and religious art.
6 Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
This is certainly the hardest— although perhaps the most important— museum for you to visit. Located on the grounds of one of Europe’s most brutal World War II concentration camps, this Holocaust museum doesn’t soften the macabre reality of the horror perpetuated by the Nazis. Although it will be a painful visit, it will open your eyes to the reality of genocide and catalyze you to do your part to never let such an atrocity happen again.
7 Vatican Museums, the Vatican, Italy
The Vatican Museums is a collection of museums that are of special interest to the Catholic community. Actually, they’ll be fascinating to pretty much anyone! The items on display include artifacts from cultures in the Bible (Greco Roman items, for example), religious art, and items from around the world given to famous missionaries by the communities they served.
8 Retretti, Punkaharju, Finland (Cave Museum)
Sadly, you may not have the opportunity to visit this museum for a while. Retretti was once an incredible museum in Finland that was housed in man-made caves underground, but it is currently closed, to the sadness of many tourists in Finland. Hopefully, the caves will open again soon and you can see this unique museum!
9 Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Talk about weird. Mutter Museum displays all things strange and bizarre about the human body. You’ll see everything gross from misshapen skulls to eyeballs in jars. Yikes!
10 Museum of London, London, England
If you really want to know London, you can’t miss this museum. The Museum of London tells the city’s story from the stone age to modern times. Learn about the people who came before, as well as the cool people who live in London today.
Museums don’t have to be a dusty collection of boring, lifeless artifacts. From immense dinosaurs to masterpieces you’ve only seen in books to some of the most bizarre oddities imaginable, these museums offer entertainment as well as education to everyone from kids to centenarians!