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  • Writer's pictureLeslie

How to Visit (And Actually Enjoy) Museums with Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Updated: May 8

Bargello Museum with kids Florence children
Our daughter, taking in the sculptures at the Bargello Museum in Florence

Have you ever asked yourself this question: My children don’t exactly love visiting museums at home. Why would it be different while traveling?

It's a question I hear a lot (and we've asked ourselves this, too). But the thing is, everything changes when you’re traveling. The mere fact that you’re together as a family, doing something unique, will likely keep your kids engaged and maybe even wanting more.

The picture below was taken at the Rodin Museum in Paris. My sister suggested we visit and it was the perfect place because it has a huge sculpture garden that the kids enjoyed walking around while we took in the art. They even had fun mimicking the famous pose of "The Thinker." Also, the museum interior is small, so we did the whole exhibit in about 20 minutes. As a bonus, we went on the first Sunday of the month, so entry was free, which meant no pressure in case we had to duck out early because of meltdowns (make sure to check the museum website if you want to take advantage of such a deal).

Here's how to take your kids to a museum — and actually enjoy it:

1. If you have a baby or toddler (who you think will be just too wiggly), plan your museum visit around nap time. We did this in Florence, Italy when we went to the Uffizi Gallery. We bought timed entry tickets in advance right during our daughter's nap time. It worked like a charm, and we were able to check out the Botticellis and da Vincis while she slept in the travel stroller.

2. Before your trip, it’s a good idea to practice going to a local museum (pro tip: be sure to stop at the museum cafe for a special treat). And keep a "glass is half-full" attitude. Enjoy what you get to see rather than dwell on everything that you miss. And see what happens — even if it’s a disaster at home, the experience could be much different on your big trip…

3. Choose a museum that isn't too big. A mega museum can feel overwhelming with your kids and may also leave you frustrated if you aren't able to see everything you were hoping to check out. We also like looking for museums with gardens, which allow for us to let our little ones walk around a bit and get the wiggles out.

4. Treat yourself... and them! If the museum has a cafe, stop for coffee (or tea) and a special treat for your little ones. It will leave them with those good museum vibes, so it will make it easier to convince them to go to another.

5. Look up "kids" museums, too. Some towns or cities you visit may have museums that are specifically geared toward children. It's worth doing a quick search (or checking your guidebook), because these typically make museums a lot more approachable for kids.

Rodin Museum Paris with kids
Our son, taking in the views of the Rodin Museum in Paris

Oh, and at the top of the page is a picture of our daughter at the Bargello Museum in Florence, Italy. She was awake for that one!

Have you visited museums with your baby, toddler or kids? How did it go?


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