The Best of the Best
You've probably taken your family to a children's museum -- and been back again and again. After all, the nation's 200-plus museums designed specifically for kids keep breaking attendance records, with 33 million visitors in 2000. "As the amount of leisure time in the U.S. shrinks, parents are looking for educational but fun places to bring their family," says Janet Rice Elman, director of the Washington, DC-based Association of Children's Museums (ACM). "Children's museums are poised to help you meet that need. Inside their doors, play inspires lifelong learning."
Because of your interest in children's museums, Child embarked on the nation's first-ever survey to uncover the best of the best, working with advisers to find -- define, even -- what sets the top institutions apart. We sent a 44-question survey addressing issues such as quality of exhibits and programming, availability and experience of staff, and comfort factors like food service and diaper-changing stations to over 200 ACM members. What we discovered was amazing -- museums where kids can work with dinosaur fossils, host a television show, or design a roller coaster. You'll find the top 10 museums here -- plus the 40 runners-up and details about the survey.