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Top 10 Things for Families to do in Delaware

Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Delaware

Hi.  I’m in Delaware.” -Wayne’s World

Delaware may be among our smallest of states, but you can still find big fun for your family.  It has the honor of being known as the First State and hosts beautiful beaches, natural settings, museums, and history.

Most people aren’t too familiar with Delaware.  The above reference to Wayne’s World was quoted to me numerous times while discussing this article with three of my west coast editors.  The line from the movie insinuates that the only entertaining thing to do in Delaware is to stand in front of a bridge and hesitantly state that you are, in fact, in Delaware.  Although often quoted, I hope to prove to you that this line is quite wrong.

10. Delaware Museum of Natural History

Delaware Natural History Museum kid-friendly

I’ve yet to meet a kid who isn’t intrigued by dinosaurs.  The Delaware Museum of Natural History hosts the only permanent dinosaur exhibit in the state.  The museum also features one of the country’s top collections of shells in their Shell Gallery!  Kids will love having a chance to touch some of these shells and explore them up close.  The Nature Nook was made with kids in mind.  This interactive exhibit allows them to explore animal habitats such as caves and woodlands and observe live animals.  In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum hosts several temporary visiting exhibits throughout the year to expand your learning as well as camp experiences, birthday parties, and fun classes.   When you are done exploring inside, be sure to head outside to discover the Butterfly Garden and take a walk along the nature trail.  The yellow trail is even stroller friendly!

 

9. Historic New Castle

Historic New Castle, Delaware flikr user Don Cogswell

For a slower pace and a trip back in time, a visit to Old New Castle is in order.  Step back into the Colonial era where you will be surrounded by the beautiful Colonial, Dutch, and Federal architecture.   Walk along the tree-lined streets on the centuries old sidewalks to discover historic restaurants and quaint shops.  A visit to the Dutch House, Amstel House, and Old Library Museum will allow visitors to discover the architecture, artifacts, and gardens of the time period.  When the kids get antsy, stop by Battery Park where they can play on the swings and slides or take a walk along the waterfront.

Where is your favorite place to visit in Delaware?

 

8. Delaware Art Museum

Delaware Art Museum Tour and Workshops

The Delaware Art Museum, like most museums, offers both permanent art collections and temporary exhibits.  What makes this museum stand out is how they try to reach families.   Family offerings include stroller tours, family programming, youth and adult studio classes, and homeschool programs.  In addition, Delaware Art Museum has tried to make art accessible and affordable for families by offering a family admission rate.  For 2 adults and up to 4 kids, the admission fee is just $25.  Better yet, visit on Sunday and the admission price is free!

 

7. Dover International Speedway

Dover International Speedway Flickr user The US Army

Calling all NASCAR and motor sport lovers! Pay a visit to the Dover International Speedway to see some of the biggest names in the sport battle it out on what is known as the Monster Mile.  Come early and visit the FanZone which features vendors, live music, interactive games, driver appearances, autograph sessions, and much more.  The kids will love the Monster FunZone where they will find fun attractions such as bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, rides, a DJ, and face painting.  For a behind the scenes look at the racetrack, take an “Explore the Monster” tour available on most Thursdays at 2pm.

Book your room for the races!

 

6. Winterthur

Winterthur top 10 things to do in delaware with kids

Winterthur is a museum, library, and garden all in one stop.  The 175 room home, once owned by the du Pont family, houses an immense collection of American decorative arts.  Much of it appears as it did when the du Pont family resided here.  The galleries, which are filled with curated objects, are devoted to specific themes and change often.  The home sits on a 1,000 acre preserve of meadows and woodland and features a stunning garden.

Winterthur has suggested itineraries based on your available time to visit, including one for families.  Enjoy a family oriented tour, hands on history carts, family programs, tram tours, and explore the Touch-It room.  The Touch-It Room is located on the first floor and set up for children to be able to learn through play! In the Enchanted Woods (located inside the children’s garden), kids can explore the world of fairies and discover exciting places such as the Troll’s Bridge, Acorn Tearoom, Tulip Treehouse, and many other magical places!

 

5.  Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge

Peterson Wildlife Refuge flickr user AER Wilmington DE

The urban wildlife refuge is located where the city meets the river and marshlands.  The Delaware Nature Society operates the DuPont Environmental Education Center which is the centerpiece of the reserve.  Enjoy the four-story environmental center which features indoor and outdoor exhibits and programs for everyone in the family.  Be sure to take a step outside on the observation deck to take in the panoramic views.   The kids will love walking along the boardwalk through the marshland and observing the variety of wildlife.

Find a hotel in Wilmington. 

 

4. Hagley Museum and Library

Hagley Museum  trekaroo user Carissa Wells

The Hagley Museum and Library is located along the banks of the Brandywine River in Wilmington, DE.  Hagley was founded by du Pont in the early 1800’s as a gunpowder factory and remains today as a beautiful example of early American industry.  Visitors will find restored mills, a worker’s community, and the du Pont family home and gardens to explore.  Throughout the year special exhibitions and events are held, including family friendly activities, so be sure to keep an eye on the calendar.  While transportation is provided to the three major interpretive areas, you will want to wear some comfy shoes as the grounds are expansive.  An organic café is available on site for snacks or lunch and the Hagley store offers a variety of books, gifts, and reproduction items for purchase.

 

3. Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park  top 10 things to do with kids in delaware

Delaware has some beautiful places to explore nature and Cape Henlopen is the perfect place for families.  Visitors will never have a hard time finding something to fill their day with so many activities available to do within the park such as swimming at guarded beaches, biking, hiking along trails, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, and picnicking. Turn your visit into an adventure by camping with your choice of camp sites, cabins, cottages, or yurts.  History buffs will enjoy the Fort Miles area which showcases Delaware’s coastal defense during World War II.  Take a tour of the fort, participate in an interpretive program and enjoy learning about the shore.  The kids will love stopping by the Seaside Nature Center where they can explore the touch tanks and learn about the park through exhibits.  While you are there, borrow a free bike for a ride around the park! Families will also enjoy the fun festivals and events held throughout the year.

What is your favorite Delaware State Park?  Leave your review for other Trekaroo families.

 

2. Delaware Children’s Museum

Delaware Children's Museum

The kids will love the Delaware Children’s Museum because it is made just for them! Children’s museums know that kids learn best by doing so they harness the power of learning through play.  The kids are having so much fun they don’t ever realize they are learning!  Enjoy the many hands-on exhibits that explore the workings of nature, transportation, and structures.  Kids can learn the operations of a bank and write a giant-sized check, create a masterpiece in the studio, and learn what their bodies can do.  The sure hit will be the Stratoshphere, a giant climbing structure accessible from the lobby.  In addition to all the fun exhibits, the museum offers fun workshops, special events, and date nights where the kids play while the parents sneak away for some adult time.  There is a café and gift shop on site making this a complete destination.

 

1. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach top 10 things to do with kids in delaware

For family fun at the beach, Rehoboth Beach and Boardwalk is the place to go.  Enjoy sunbathing or building a sandcastle on the free, guarded beach or take a dip in the Atlantic.  When you tire of lounging, stroll along the mile-long boardwalk or treat the kids to some rides and games at Funland.  For a day off the beach the kids may enjoy Jungle Jim’s water park, a ride around the go-kart track, or a round of miniature golf.  In the evenings the family can enjoy a leisurely stroll in the quaint downtown to browse the shops or grab a bite to eat and be sure to stop and listen to a concert at the bandstand.

Find a place to stay in Rehoboth Beach.

Top 10 50 states seriesWhat state do you want to visit next?

From coast to coast, we’re determining the Top 10 Things to do with Kids in each state of our great nation.   Head here to see what tops the list in your favorite state.

 

 

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4 Responses to Top 10 Things for Families to do in Delaware

  1. Carrie March 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Now I want to visit Delaware!

  2. LiLing March 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Who knew that there were that many great spots of visit in the small state of DE! Thanks for uncovering them for us, Beth. Man, my list of places to visit in the NE just keeps growing, but I’ll definitely have to add the Dover International Speedway to the list for the sake of the boys in this family.

  3. DelGal March 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    There are even more great places to visit in the state of DE including Main Street in Newark and the Brandywine zoo. People are always making fun of this small state, but I think it’s awesome in itself and it’s only a short drive to other tourist places like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlantic City and New York City! Try doing that if you live in a larger state!

  4. Tara Jones March 10, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Don’t forget the Read House in Historic New Castle on the Strand! Built in 1803, 14,000 square feet, it’s gorgeous and open to the public April to December.

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