Educational Road Trips For Kids

Get out of town and explore the region with your kids, and do some learning along the way.
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Photograph courtesy The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

While the Cincinnati Museum Center has been entertaining and educating children and adults for decades, sometimes it’s nice to do some exploring and see something new. The region features an array of impressive children’s museums and science centers. Here are five we think are worthy of a short drive.

1. You can reach the world’s largest children’s museum in less than two hours. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the children’s museum, clocking in at 473,000 square feet and attracting more than one million visitors annually. While the museum was founded in 1925, the current building opened in 1976, and has since undergone six major expansions. Topics of current exhibits include dinosaurs, ancient tombs, shipwrecks, trains, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, 317-334-4000,

2. What better way to trick your kids into learning than exploring exhibits like Bubble Zone, Wonder Woods, Hold Your Horses, or the Brain Bike? The Explorium of Lexington‘s mission is hands-on learning, which makes the 75-minute drive worth your while. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 440 W. Short St., Lexington, (859) 258-3253,

3. Kentucky’s largest hands-on science museum is the Kentucky Science Center, located in Louisville. The museum invites young visitors to explore The World Around Us, The World Within Us, and The World We Create. See an educational movie (in 3D!) in the four-story digital theater, which was renovated last year and has hosted more than 3 million visitors since it first opened. There’s a reason this is the most popular field trip destination in Kentucky. Open seven days a week, 727 W. Main St., Louisville, (502) 561-6100,

4. Originally opening in 1893 as the Dayton Museum of Natural History, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery covers all ends of the science spectrum. Learn about the solar system, mummies, geology, environmental preservation, ocean life, and more. Boonshoft is one of only four museums in America that are fully accredited as a zoo, as well. The indoor zoo at the Museum of Discovery showcases nearly one hundred animals native to Ohio. Pro tip: Wear your costumes and visit on Halloween for Spooky Science Saturday, the perfect prelude to trick-or-treating. Open seven days a week, 2600 Deweese Pkwy, Dayton, (937) 275-7431,

5. Once named the #1 Science Center by Parents Magazine, COSI in Columbus is a premiere destination for children hungry for knowledge. In addition to a planetarium, explore more than 300 interactive, themed exhibits in the state-of-the-art facility. The building also houses the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, home to the largest digital screen in Ohio. Enjoy movies both educational (Secret Ocean 3D) and fun (October 24th’s showing of Hocus Pocus). Since opening in 1964, COSI has served more than 30 million unique visitors, establishing itself as one of the top children’s museums in the country. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, (614) 228-2674,

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