More museums to visit with the family

The Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave., Boston
617-267-9300
The internationally renowned collection here is a natural place for school-age children to learn about the masters, investigate the contemporary exhibits, and generally build an appreciation for beauty. But tinier eyes will also find lots to see. Even babies and toddlers respond to the riot of colors on the walls of the Impressionist halls and stare in awe at the museum's enormous Buddhas and mummies. On weekends, there's a family program designed for parents and kids to discover the permanent exhibits together, and every day there are scavenger-hunt-style activity sheets that send kids running to look for paintings and sculpture depicting dogs, chocolate, and various other motifs. During school vacation weeks, craft- and art-making programs are available. Adults are $17, seniors are $15, and children under 17 are free during non-school hours. On Thursday and Friday nights after 5, all admission fees are $2 less, and Wednesdays after 4 p.m. are free. Mfa.org

Children's Science and Discovery Museums
177 Main St., Acton
978-264-4200
These are twin museums - one for toddlers (although there isn't much space for strollers), and one for school-age kids. The former, the Discovery Museum, has a stable of fun exhibits that are highly touchable for curious little hands (the train room and safari adventure center invariably lure kids deep into the playing zone). Meanwhile, at the Science Discovery Museum, exhibits on prehistory, weather systems, and radio waves are thoroughly hands-on, and thoroughly fun. At either museum, adults and kids are $9, seniors are $8, and babies under 1 are free. Same-day admission to both museums is $13 for kids and adults, $11 for seniors, and free for babies under 1 year old. DiscoveryMuseums.org

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard Square, Cambridge
26 Oxford St.
617-495-3045
The HMNH is a Boston gem - a Harvard-run building tucked into a quiet corner of the campus. It's known - if it's known at all - among adults mostly for its extraordinary glass flowers exhibit. But there are entire worlds for kids to discover here, too: ancient (and humongous) dinosaur skeletons, epic collections of bugs, gorgeous rock and mineral exhibits, and hallway after hallway of stuffed wildlife - this is about as close as the young 'uns can get to the fur of a lion without getting roared at. Adults are $9, seniors are $7, and children ages 3 to 18 are $6. On Sunday before noon, everyone enters free of charge. But beware: The normally sedate museum can occasionally fill with big crowds of kids in those times - at which point the visitors can get wilder than the exhibit specimens. Hmnh.harvard.edu

Harvard Art Museums
Harvard Square, Cambridge
485 Broadway
617-495-9400
For kids ages 6 to 11, there are few better ways (or more cost-efficient, as many are free) to jump into the art world. On weekends, this venerable group of museums offers a handful of rotating family programs. One at the Sackler Museum combines storytelling, education, and art history with objects - sometimes real art, sometimes props - music, and games to cleverly engage kids and teach them about other cultures. Another is a simple ''drop in and draw'' lesson for all ages, with real-life models for inspiration. Yet another has kids imagining how they would design ancient sculpture, and arms them with plenty of paints, sculptures, and tools to bring their visions to life. ArtMuseums.Harvard.edu