Museums make for great family outings. They are usually inexpensive or even free, they are of course very educational, but most of all very entertaining for everyone in the family. Museums are a great place for kids to learn about specific topics and more often than not lets them get hands on experiences they wouldn’t find in every day life. If you are looking for a fun inexpensive day with your family in Riverside, try one of these excellent family friendly museums.
March Air field Museum
Adjacent to a operational military air port, the March Airfield Museum has a huge collection of vintage airplanes. Focusing on military aviation history and the history of the air field itself, the museum also has several civilian aircrafts. The impressive collection of airplanes is the main draw of this museum, but there are also many informational displays detailing aviation history. There is even a movie theater where visitors can learn the history of the military air base and the museum itself.
The proximity to an active airport means that visitors can see military aircrafts take of and land every day. The site also hosts the yearly air show in Riverside which is a great event for aviation enthusiasts.
The March Air Field Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 to 4 and is located at the end of Van Buren Boulevard. It is also easily reached from the 215 freeway.
Riverside Metropolitan Museum
Located in the heart of downtown Riverside this museum is a great destination for families. The permanent exhibits focus on local wildlife and the history of the Riverside area. The museum originally started as a collection of native American artifacts and the museum still focuses heavily on native American history. The museum has some great hands on experiences for kids. Upstairs you will find the revolving exhibits and a kid favorite in the biology room. Here kids can watch local and exotic reptiles and bugs.
The Metropolitan Museum is free and open every day except Mondays and major holidays until 5pm.California Citrus State Historical Park
Riverside is the birthplace of the California citrus industry and the Citrus Park is all about telling the story of how oranges found their way to Southern California and the impact they had on the region. The museum itself is fairly small, but the highlight of this location are the citrus groves that surround the visitors center. The park retains the cultural landscape that was so widespread in the area in the early 1900’s. Walking through the groves is a great experience, along the trails there are historic machinery on display. The museum has a great selection of old citrus box labels as well as machinery and informative displays explaining citrus farming.
The museum is located at the intersection of Van Buren Boulevard and Dufferin Avenue. The park is open every day until 5 pm, 7 pm on weekends while the visitor center is open on weekends and Wednesdays from 10 – 4
San Bernardino County Museum
While not technically in Riverside, the San Bernardino County Museum is located just outside Riverside in the city of Redlands. The museum is easily accessible from the 60 freeway and is a great destination for families with children. The museum features a comprehensive display of birds and animals as well as exhibits of minerals and fossils. The grounds also features great cactus gardens and an outdoor display of old mining equipment. The main reason why this museum is a great fit for children are their numerous kids programs. The museum offers great hands on experiences for kids virtually every week. Activities include basket weaving, animal exploration and native American crafts among other things.
Jensen Alvarado Historic Ranch
This Ranch is a living museum that shows farm life as it was lived in 1880. The farmhouse displays furniture and utensils used by the Jensen Alvarado family. As well as educating visitors on old farming techniques the museum also has tortilla making and butter churning and many other hands on activities. Children can pet and feed the farm animals.
The farm is open Saturdays 10 – 4 throughout the year except for June and August when the site closes down to host kids summer camps.