8. Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, DE
- Hosts daily family tours at which kids put together a photo album of the family who once lived on the estate, which now houses an extensive art collection
- Offers activity-packed family guides
- Features interactive displays in several galleries, including some that house textiles and historic paintings of children
There's a 60-acre naturalistic garden on the sprawling Winterthur estate (now a house museum). And within that garden is a magical three-acre area for children dotted with animal sculptures called the Enchanted Woods, open year-round. "Henry du Pont attributed his eye for beauty, which led to our art collection, to his appreciation of the flowers in his family's garden," says Tracey Beck, director of educational programs. "We set out to create a garden that would welcome children and honor that legacy without feeling like a playground."
Visitors enter through a serpentine path and encounter The Story Stones, which are arranged like a mini-Stonehenge. On select days, a storyteller talks about what kids originally did in the garden. From there, a troll bridge leads to a Fairy Cottage ("It's funky because fairies, being flighty creatures, don't always finish what they start," says Beck, "so the walls aren't flush and the roof isn't finished") and a mushroom ring. Monthly during the school year (and weekly in the summer), local teenagers portray fairies -- more Shakespearean than Disney -- and one of them sprinkles fairy dust on the children she meets.