Santa Fe's Meow Wolf Art Installation from the Perspective of a Grandparent

I have memories from my childhood of being dragged through museums across Europe. I was not happy about this. And, there really wasn’t anything fun about them. Though I did get to see the Mona Lisa. Perhaps I should be more appreciative. And, perhaps today’s science museums should not be called museums. Today’s science, nature and art museums are interactive. They can even be so much FUN that the kids won’t want to leave. Here are a few of our favorite art, nature and science museums in the Southwest U.S.

Meow Wolf

Art, Nature & Science Museums – Santa Fe, New Mexico

So, Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM doesn’t bill itself as a museum. But it tops our list of art, nature & science museums available in the Southwest. Rather it is a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory place of discovery and imagination that was born of art. It is both amusement park and art experience. In a day and age when kids too often hear “be careful” and “don’t touch that,” Meow Wolf encourages the opposite. Visitors are expected to open and then explore through doors, cabinets and anything that could conceivably be an entry.

Each dimension leads to another space, and another, each that is a new exciting world that sparks imaginations… A cave filled with owl eyes, an old camper, an alien China town, a tree house with intricate laser art hanging in the sky, a bus facing the sky that we pretended to drive while laying on our backs, a dark, smokey room with lasers that allows you to create music and much more.

I can’t remember experiencing anything quite so interactive, adventurous or stimulating to the imagination. Most importantly, Meow Wolf was FUN. Plus, once you have explored all the dimensions of Meow Wolf, you may want to come back to solve the mystery.

Meow Wolf in Santa Fe is #1 on our top art, nature & science museums of the SW!
Meow Wolf is a multi-generation activity through art and technology which involves the entire family in discovering sights, sounds, and curiosity of hidden niches.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Art, Nature & Science Museums – Denver, Colorado

Both of our children are now at fantastic ages (6 & 10) to really enjoy the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

You won’t want to miss an IMAX film here. The films are entertaining and educational. They change out periodically, so check what’s playing before you go. We learned how astronauts live in space, how the planet is changing and more.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science capturing attention.
Watching and listening intently at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

One of our other favorite exhibits was the Space Odyssey. With many interactive components and an attentive staff managing some of these we spent most of our time here.We learned so much about our galaxy here.

We also really liked Expedition Health. We were able to do hands-on experiments, and learn more about our own bodies and health. There’s even a real lab where kids (and adults) can conduct fun lab experiments.

I am itching to make it back to check out the new Mindbender Mansion. I suspect our eldest daughter will love solving all the challenging puzzles. The Virtual Reality Arcade also sound like fun for ages 10 and up. It is billed as letting you explore wherever your curiosity leads. I love that! Plus, I am a big fan of virtual reality after getting to experience Star Wars Virtual Reality at Disney World.

There is an area for younger kids, but the many interactive exhibits and IMAX movies are probably best suited for aged 5 and up. Exhibits and movies do change so you will want to check before you visit.

Eureka! Math & Science Center in Grand Junction, Colorado
Wondering how long the smiley face ball can stay in the air at the Eureka! Math & Science Center in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Eureka Math & Science Center

Art, Nature & Science Museums – Grand Junction, Colorado

Eureka! Math and Science Center in Grand Junction is a super cool science museum. It recently opened a new facility and the exhibits are outstanding. A glass bee hive enthralled the dads, while the kids bounced from one engaging exhibit to another. I was most sad that I couldn’t spend enough time on one puzzle exhibit that I really wanted to figure out. Apparently I’ll just have to go back with just two kids instead of forty to be able to solve that one.

Campers experiencing nature first hand at Walking Mountains Science Center.
Campers experiencing nature first hand at Walking Mountains Science Center. Photo courtesy Walking Mountains Science Center.

Walking Mountains Science Center

Art, Nature & Science Museums – Avon, Colorado

The Walking Mountains Science Center makes our list because of their wonderful programs.In addition to their campus in Avon, Colorado they run educational nature and science programs out of Vail’s hiking center and Epic Discovery atop Vail Mountain. Their summer camps are wonderful too. Our daughter’s favorite this summer was Living Off the Land. She learned to make all kinds of things: lip balm, laundry detergent, candles, tea and more!

Are there any we missed? Tell us some of your favorite art, nature and science museum in the Southwest U.S. in the comment below!

Today's art, nature and science museums are fully immersive, and most importantly FUN! Here are ones you don't want to miss in the Southwest US. #FamilyFun #ScienceFun #Nature #Education

Museums, fun for kids!? Best Art, Nature & Science Museums

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

4 thoughts on “Museums, fun for kids!? Best Art, Nature & Science Museums

  • September 10, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Oh, so sorry. Your mom and dad did try to entertain you girls by taking you to museums. Now, I do remember taking you to the children’s museum in London. But, at that time, there was not the technology that makes everything so much fun. Museums and children’s activities have changed since you were a child. I hope you make it to some of the great children’s activities in and around Dallas so you can write about them.

    • September 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Technology make all the difference! We did get to go to the Perot Museum a few years back. Might be time to go again.

  • September 10, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I didn’t realize that there were so many nice museums in the Vail, Colorado area.

    • September 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Just a couple of hours drive!


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