As you experience the boundless wonders of the High Sierra with your children, extend your stay to immerse yourselves in the enriching Kids Museums nestled here. Have them embark on a journey through the region’s captivating history in an engaging, hands-on manner. Dive deep into the ecological marvels of Lake Tahoe. Or venture even further to explore and understand the intricacies of our world through interactive experiences. Here’s a list of some of our most popular kids museums.



Childen enjoying the Hundred Acre Wood Exhibit inside Kidzone Museum
Children enjoying the Hundred Acre Wood Exhibit – Image appears courtesy: KidZone Museum

The only dedicated kids museum in the Truckee-Tahoe region: the KidZone Museum. Within it you’ll find a diverse range of exhibits, an imaginary play art studio and other play areas all under one roof. One of the can’t miss exhibits is the new “Hundred Acre Wood” exhibit. Filled with areas where parents can help kids identify feelings found in Winnie the Pooh literature. Children can  collect veggies from  Rabbit’s garden. Have a tea party in the woods, catch fish and cook them in Kanga’s kitchen and lots more. Seeking more family-friendly activities in Truckee? Explore Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s family trip ideas article.

ImagineU Children’s Museum


Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia

As you marvel at the awe-inspiring Giant Sequoia groves in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks with your children, consider extending your family getaway instead of rushing home. Visalia is a perfect basecamp for family fun such as the ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum. Within you’ll find exhibits thoughtfully designed to allow children to engage in role-playing and hands-on experiences. In the end, both children and parents will learn about themselves and the world surrounding them. Notably, Visalia is one of the first certified Autism Destinations, reflecting its commitment to inclusivity. This is just one example of the many destinations in the High Sierra region going out of their way to welcome individuals with special needs.

UC Davis Tahoe Science Center

North Lake Tahoe

Volunteer docent Tim Kosier shows local elementary school children the in the virtual laboratory exhibit at the Tahoe Science Center – Photo by: Heather M Segale – Image appears courtesy: Go Tahoe North

With so much to do and limited time off, Lake Tahoe visitors sometimes rush from one activity to the next. However to truly appreciate this area, our friends at North Lake Tahoe recommend slowing it down and savor each of the gems of Lake Tahoe, much like enjoying a fine meal. To really give you and your kids an appreciation of how unique Lake Tahoe is beyond its stunning surface, dive deep at Lake Tahoe’s only science center – the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center. Here, you can explore interactive exhibits, discover the lake’s ecosystem and the reasons behind its changes. Or visit the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in Tahoe City where there are four new interactive exhibits to learn about microplastics in the Tahoe environment, the watershed, and what makes Tahoe unique.

Railtown 1897


Image appears courtesy: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park – Visit Tuolumne

The piercing sound of a whistle shatters the silence, followed by a powerful blast of steam from the locomotive’s stack as it lurches forward. The attached cars emit a resounding metallic crack, obedient to the train’s command. It’s no wonder both children and those young at heart are irresistibly drawn to trains. They’re a blast of sensory overload.

Although it isn’t a kids museum per say, the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a living example of Railroading’s golden age and showcase of the original Sierra railway. Starting in April through September on Saturdays and certain Wednesdays, you can set off on a historic train ride starting in the California State Park and heading through California’s scenic Gold Country. After the ride, explore the locomotive roundhouse, constructed in 1910. It’s where you’ll discover a fascinating machine shop and related exhibits awaiting inside.

Fossil Discovery Center

Exploring the Fossil Discovery Center. Madera County off Hwy 99 en-route to Yosemite.
Photo by: Kimberly Lawson – Image appears courtesy: Visit Yosemite-Madera County

The drive to and from Yosemite can be a long one. Break up the travel by stopping at the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. You’ll find that it’s home to one of the largest collections of fossils in California! Spark wonder in your kids as they see bones showing teeth marks from dire wolves. Stare in awe at a replica 14-foot tall Western camel which was one of eight camel species gone extinct 11,000 years ago and made their home in California. Bring out their inner archeologist with the mock fossil dig where they can unearth fossils from 22 different species. It’s no wonder this is one of Madera county’s favorite kid friendly activities to take in.

As you can see, while you may come to take in the “stars” of the High Sierra, you can also use this as an opportunity to have your kids learn a little too. Talk about a well-rounded adventure!

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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