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LIST: Family-friendly museums you can take the kids to this weekend

By Kara Santos Published May 20, 2022 9:05 am

Looking for somewhere new to go to this weekend? Last May 18 was International Museum Day and many local museums are celebrating the week by inviting the public to come visit.

With kids and seniors stuck at home the past two years, Filipinos are only now starting to venture out and enjoy trips where they can take the whole family out.

While most have gravitated towards outdoor spots and al fresco cafes since travel restrictions eased, with the rainy season setting in, now may be the best time to take the whole fam on a museum date, especially since vaccinations for kids have rolled out. 

Here are a few of the newest and most family-friendly museums in and around Manila that you may not have been to yet for your weekend trips.

National Museum of Natural History

In case you haven't been there yet or just want to revisit, the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, and National Museum of Natural History, all in Rizal Park, Manila reopened in March 2022. Since then, senior citizens and children have once again been able to enjoy the newest gallery exhibits. 

National Museum of Natural History in Manila.

The Museum of Fine Arts houses the visual arts collection, while the Museum of Anthropology houses Ethnological and Archaeological exhibitions. Of the three, kids will appreciate the Museum of Natural History the most. Exhibits are focused on Philippine fauna and flora, marine life, and guests can marvel at botanical illustrations and paintings, and explore the biosphere in various galleries spread throughout six floors.

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One of the most popular attractions here is the Tree of Life, an elevator that ascends up to an architectural dome canopy. Kids can walk through displays recreating forested areas, answer quizzes in educational audio-visual presentations and see the actual taxidermied specimen and skeleton of Lolong, the largest crocodile in captivity.

National Museum Complex, Padre Burgos Avenue, Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. The National Museum has extended visiting hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays, except on certain public holidays. Online reservations are no longer required except for visiting groups of more than 20 persons. Visit https://reservation.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/ to book your visit. Entrance is free.

Lakbay Museo

For those who miss traveling around the Philippines, Lakbay Museo is a festive modern art museum opened in 2019 where you can get a glimpse of the country’s highlights in under two hours. 

Lakbay Museo in Pasay.

The first-ever interactive millennial museum in the country, officially reopened earlier this year to welcome back its biyaheros. This museum, located in the Mall of Asia Complex, offers 14 unique and interactive experiences from 11 different destinations around Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Lakbay Museo is full of photogenic booths recreating top tourist spots and IG-ready selfie spots and props for visitors to pose and take photos with.

Kids can enjoy unique Pinoy delicacies and native drinks, dance along with cultural performers, try playing traditional musical instruments, learn to balance a palayok on their head, and lots more.

Lakbay Museo. Level 1, S Maison, Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. It’s open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. A special promo rate of P250 applies for all vaccinated kids ages 5-11 years old until July 31, 2022. Regular rate starts at P799 each. Book tickets here

The Mind Museum

For families traveling with younger kids, the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig offers the first world-class Science museum in the Philippines. 

The Mind Museum in Taguig.

The Mind Museum contains over 250 interactive exhibits in five galleries with the themes Atom, Earth, Life, Universe, and Technology. Visitors can explore the museum at their own pace in fixed three-hour intervals and time-slots to ensure maximum enjoyment.

While the museum has been around for a decade, one new area here is Playtales, a new exhibition especially designed for children 2 to 6 years old. The exhibition lets kids embark on a fun-filled journey tracing steps to discover the wonders of early childhood through the power of play, storytelling, and imagination through the various interactive exhibits.

Visitors can also enrich their science museum visit with The Mind Museum app available for free on the App Store and on Google Play. Click here to download.

The Mind Museum, JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The Mind Museum is now open from Fridays to Sundays from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m (closed on Mondays to Thursdays). Ticket prices start at P190 for public school students (up to college) and teachers, P475 for children and private school students, and P625 for adults for three-hour slots. Buy your tickets here.

Art in Island

Art in Island is the biggest 3D Interactive Art Museum in Asia, allowing visitors not just to look, but to also interact with the museum pieces and become “part of the art.”

Art in Island in Cubao.

Visitors often come here to snap photos with the murals and optical illusions that offer quirky backdrops for photos. Their newest art zone, called Hiwaga ng Pilipinas, features a magical take on the Philippines using glowing and moving paintings and black light art.

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Another new addition to Art in Island is Jeongwon, a casual Korean garden restaurant right on the premises, so you can treat the whole fam to Korean food in a chill and IG-worthy setting after admiring the art.

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Art In Island is located at 175 15th Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila. Art in Island is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Last selling of tickets is at 6:00 p.m.). Jeongwon is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Last order is at 10:00 p.m.). Ticket prices cost P500 for adults, P400 for students, senior citizens and PWDs. Additional P200 each for Hiwaga ticket. Visit their FB Page here.

Book Museum

Did you know that a Book Museum exists in Marikina? For book-lovers and travelers, the quirky museum established in 2013 contains a collection of limited edition books and published materials from around the world as well as artifacts from regions of the Philippines. 

Book Museum in Marikina.

The Ethnology Centers and Annex building houses various artifacts from the Philippines including a collection of exotic hats/headgears, slingshot handles, and collection of exotic necklaces. 

While the museum was closed throughout the pandemic, it reopened earlier in 2022 and is accepting guests below 18 years old provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated guardian. 

The Book Museum is located at 127, SE Dao, Marikina, 1810 Metro Manila. It’s open from Tuesday to Friday (walk-in guests welcome) from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays, guests must have a reservation at least two days prior to their visit. Entrance fee is P250 per head. For inquiries, visit their FB page here

Museo El Deposito (Waterworks Museum and Reservoir)

Museo El Deposito is a modern history museum opened in 2019 that gives visitors an overview of how El Deposito, the old Spanish-era waterworks system and reservoir used to work.

Museo El Deposito in San Juan City.

What makes this museum really interesting is that you can actually walk back in time through a portion of the underground tunnels just sitting underneath the sprawling Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City. 

@kris.from.brooklyn El Deposito museum, San Juan. #travel #wisdom #LearnOnTikTok #photography101 #shotoniphone #iphone #TravelTikTok #philippines ♬ Gymnopedie No.1 [Piano famous song](204824) - Kamimura Mahiro

After years of excavation and clearing, and months of pandemic-induced delays, the El Deposito Underground Reservoir finally opened to the public just last November 2021.

In case you’re wondering, the official music video for Lunod by Ben&Ben directed by Jerrold Tarog was filmed here. Older kids and teens will enjoy the experience of walking through the tunnel and taking photos here. Best of all, this museum is completely free to visit!

El Deposito is located at 29 Pinaglabanan, San Juan, Metro Manila. It’s open from Tuesdays to Sundays. 9:00 a.m. to  4:00 p.m. Entrance is free. For inquiries, message their FB page here.