The World’s Best Science Museums

City holidays are all about seeing the sights, immersing yourself in the culture, enjoying the architecture and eating great food. Many of the top destinations also boast science museums where you can take a break from the cultural experiences and get hands-on with the world around (or even inside) you. A treat for kids who get to dash about and play (read: experiment) to their heart’s content, they are a great place to go for anyone curious about science. Memories of tedious science lessons will be a thing of the past once you step inside these walls, so here are some of the world’s best to tempt you.

NEMO, Amsterdam


by Neil Rickards

At NEMO you are “forbidden not to touch” and once you step inside it’s impossible not to want to join in. Even before you arrive there is a sense of magic, as the museum sits out on the docks looking like a huge ship. Inside, you can find interactive displays galore from chemistry experiments to a ‘manufacturing’ plant where kids of all ages can work together to keep the processes going. As a bonus, on the top ‘deck’ you get amazing views over the city.

Heureka, Vantaa

by darkismus

The first science centre in Scandinavia, there are over 100 experiments to get stuck into, all housed in a futuristic building. A planetarium and visiting exhibitions from around the world, as well as regular lectures in English or Finnish really add to the experience, making this science museum particularly great for older kids.

Exploratorium, San Francisco


by chrysaora

Aiming to mix science with art and human perception, there is plenty to see and do to get you thinking, and even more on the website if you want a little taster. The science experiments and demonstrations, such as those of mouse stem cells and encasing your head in a bubble, are interspersed with a changing selection of art installations and displays. This museum is a feast for the senses all round!

Miraikan, Tokyo

Earth today

by mujitra

Also known as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, this museum doesn’t just have robots, although the famous Honda robot does reside here. Many of the exhibits focus on Japan with live measurements of underground activity such as tremors and earthquakes, weather patterns and ocean temperatures. Sustainable development, the mysteries of the universe and genetics are also covered so there’s something for everyone!

China Science and Technology Museum, Beijing

China Science and Technology Museum

by Ivan Walsh

This museum offers something a little different, with plenty of innovative exhibits you won’t find anywhere else. Although the English explanations may sometimes be a little thin on the ground, throwing yourself in will be all the more rewarding. You can see and take part in bronze smelting and see how modern communications work, amongst many more.  It boasts one of the largest Astro-Vision Theatres in the world, where you feel like you’re involved in events in space rather than just watching them.

Milan National Museum of Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci

Checking out a particle accelerator at the Da Vinci Science Museum in Milan

by mdcassano

This museum is based around da Vinci’s innovative designs and his best ideas are showcased in their full glory. The scope of his work is simply astonishing, making this museum perfect for young budding scientists. There are plenty of interactive exhibits too with more modern topic such as energy, nano materials and plastics on the menu.

Deutsches Museum, Munich


by probabilistic

Boasting lots of hands-on experiments as well as a large collection of scientific artefacts this is the largest science museum in the world. As you would expect from the Germans, the museum is beautifully explained making it easy to get involved whether you’re young or old. Subjects covered range from the chemistry inside our bodies and the crazy world of measuring instruments to Neolithic cave painting and all manner of musical instruments.

top image taken by divinemisscopa at the Exploratorium in San Francisco