Six Places to Take Your Budding Archeologists

Summer travel season is upon us. If you’re planning a family vacation, consider these locations to take your mini archeologists to explore. But first, visit the National Park Service’s archeology website for kids to help them learn what archeologists do and how they do it.

1) American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

Get your kids excited to head to the American Museum of Natural History by visiting their website created just for kids. Use evidence and clues to determine where artifacts were found at an Incan archeological site. Test their archeology knowledge with a quick quiz. Listen to interviews with archeologists. Explore the ancient city of Petra. Then make your way to the museum to discover artifacts in person.

2) University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology, Philadelphia, PA

The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology offers exhibits to give your children insight into the how artifacts make it from a dig site to a glass-encased museum. Check out their “Artifact Lab” on conserving Egyptian mummies. Kids have the opportunity to see how conservators protect, restore and preserve artifacts found by archeologists in the field, including Egyptian artifacts like mummies. Conservators are even available to answer questions from curious visitors. For the summer, they are offering tickets at a reduced price for $10.00 each for all adults and children.

3) Hampson Archeological Museum State Park, Wilson, AR

Located in northeast Arkansas, this museum exhibits a nationally renowned collection from the Nodena site, a 15-acre village that once thrived on a bend of the Mississippi River. Hampson Archeological Museum interprets the lifestyles of a farming-based civilization that lived there from A.D. 1400 to 1650. Artifacts and exhibits share the story of this early aboriginal population of farmers who cultivated crops and supplemented their food resources with hunting native game while developing its art, religion and political structure along with a thriving trading network. Guided tours are available and admission is free.


4) Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD

The Maryland Science Center features family-friendly science exploration, including their “Dinosaur Mysteries” exhibit. This permanent exhibit contains a working field lab and dig pits, allowing kids to handle the tools archeologists and paleontologists use to discover artifacts of ancient cultures or fossils.

5) Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, MA

This museum is connected with the Harvard Museum of Natural History, so one ticket covers both museums. The Digging Veritas exhibit shows how students lived at Harvard in the colonial times through archeological excavations done on campus, which found evidence of the Harvard Indian College. Explore the importance of rivers in Native American culture with an exhibit on birchbark canoes. Encounters with the Americas offers artifacts from the native cultures of Latin America through Maya and Aztec civilizations.


6) Mesa Verde National Park, Mesa Verde, CO

If you’re looking for a real archeological dig site, try Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Mesa Verde has over 4, 700 archeological sites with many more left to be discovered. An early civilization made this location their home for over 700 years and their history is still being explored. You’ll discover how ancestral Puebloans lived– and learn why they left this place. One of the most awe-inspiring sites is the dwellings that were built into the side of a cliff. These structures ranged in size from one-room storage units to villages of more than 150 rooms.