The nation’s first state of Delaware may be one of the country’s smaller states, but it packs a punch when it comes to things to see and do. Resting on a peninsula bordered by the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, and backed by dune-backed beaches, Delaware offers an array of outdoor and recreational activities and adventures. The capital Dover boasts beautifully preserved 18th-century Colonial landmarks, while the riverside city of Wilmington has a charming waterside district of parks, boutiques, and restaurants. Make a splash at the Thunder Lagoon Water Park, explore the forest and swamps of the Edward H McCabe Nature Preserve and learn all about the history of the state at the Fort Delaware State Park. Here are some of the top things to do with kids in Delaware.
1.3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center
© 3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center
3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center is an animal rescue sanctuary that is home to a variety of exotic, wild, domestic, and agricultural animals living in a natural woodland setting. The rescue zoo is the only one of its kind in the state and rescues and rehabilitates all kinds of animals from ducks and sheep to alpacas, donkeys, and pigs. The sanctuary has three different sections housing various animals, including an Asia Aviary with mandarin ducks, peacocks, and black sumatras; the North American Habitat which is home to pheasants, migratory waterfowl, turtles, and cackling geese; and the Africa Habitat which boasts African pygmy hedgehogs, white-faced whistling tree ducks, side-neck turtles, and guinea fowl. 3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center is available to host special events and functions.
1060 Vandyke Greenspring Rd, Townsend, DE 19734, Phone: 302-715-1326
2.Abbotts Mill Nature Center
© Jaimie Tuchman/stock.adobe.com
Abbott’s Mill Nature Center is a public trail system, and picnic area that is part of the 376-acre Milford Millponds Nature Preserve that features lovely hiking trails through the lush deciduous and Atlantic White Cedar woodlands. The surrounding preserve boasts more than six miles of hiking and mountain trails through forest, fields, and streams, a 20-acre pond with a historic working gristmill, a Garden for Wildlife idea garden, picnic areas, and a boardwalk that runs beside a coastal stream into an open meadow. Abbott’s Mill Nature Center has exhibits with live animals and a children’s corner with puzzles and toys.
15411 Abbotts Pond Rd, Milford, DE 19963, Phone: 302-422-0847
3.Air Mobility Command Museum
© Air Mobility Command Museum
Located near the Dover Air Force Base, the Air Mobility Command Museum (AMCM) is home to the largest collection of fully restored U.S. military cargo and tanker aircraft and is dedicated to preserving military aircraft, the history of the airbase, and the men and women who flew and maintained them. The museum boasts a fascinating collection of rare vintage aircraft, ranging from cargo haulers, fighters, and bombers from World War II to helicopters, jets, and a presidential aircraft, as well as a Clarke Airborne CA-1 Tractor and flight simulators. Visitors can enjoy free guided tours and try their flying skills in the flight simulator.
1301 Heritage Rd, Dover AFB, DE 19902, Phone: 302-677-5938
4.Biggs Museum of American Art
© Biggs Museum of American Art
Established in 1993, the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art Museum houses one of the finest collections of American fine and decorative arts in the country. Located above the state visitor center in the state capital of Dover, the Biggs hosts a permanent collection of decorative art, antiques, and vintage pieces, as well as changing exhibitions of historical and contemporary art throughout the year. The museum’s collections are housed in intimate galleries, and visitors can enjoy guided or self-guided audio tours of the museum, as well as educational programs, workshops, and symposiums for adults and children.
406 Federal St, Dover, DE 19901, Phone: 302-674-2111
Located on the banks of the Brandywine River in Brandywine Park, the Brandywine Zoo is a small 4.7-acre animal sanctuary that opened in 1905 and is home to animals from Africa, temperate and tropical Asia, the Americas, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. The mission of the zoo is to enhance the understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation and offers a range of daily programs, educational classes and workshops, zoo camps, and frequent special events. The zoo also has a Snack Shack and a Zootique gift shop selling books, toys, and souvenirs.
1001 N Park Dr, Wilmington, DE 19802, Phone: 302-571-7747
6.Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park is a 5,193-acre park on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County that offers enjoyable outdoor and recreational activities for the whole family. The park features several attractions including the Seaside Nature Center with aquarium tanks full of marine creatures, a live Osprey cam, and a wide selection of activities and programs for all ages; the Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area; and a campground set among pine-covered dunes with tent site and overnight cabins. The park also features a 24-hour fishing pier, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails, disc golf, and kayak rentals.
15099 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958, Phone: 302-645-8983
7.Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
© Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village is a museum dedicated to the history of agriculture and farming in Delaware in the late 1800s. Situated in a 38,000 square foot building, the museum houses an array of vintage agricultural equipment and machinery, tractors, and over 4,000 artifacts in a range of exciting exhibits. The museum also includes a variety of historic structures, including an 1890s village with a barn and windmill, a general store, a school, a barbershop, a church, a farmhouse, and a blacksmith and wheelwright shop. The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village is open Tuesday through Saturday, year-round.
866 N Dupont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901, Phone: 302-734-1618
8.Delaware Children's Museum
© Delaware Children's Museum
The Delaware Children’s Museum is a museum designed for children of all ages that features a range of hands-on exhibits that focus on math, science, and technology. Based on the riverfront in Wilmington, the 37,000square-foot museum boasts interactive exhibits, including a giant slide, a model of the water cycle, a variety of physical challenges, like basketball hoops, building blocks, and other structural materials, and live fish in the ECOnnect exhibit. Fun activities in the museum include a giant Connect Four game, changing car tires and spinning gears in the Training Wheels exhibit, and throwing balls to calculate their speed.
550 Justison St, Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: 302-654-2340
9.Delaware Museum of Natural History
© Delaware Museum of Natural History
The Delaware Museum of Natural History explores the nature and science through an extensive collection of birds, eggs, dinosaur fossils, and seashells. Founded by John Eleuthera du Pont in 1957 near Greenville, the Delaware Museum of Natural History features a variety of interactive exhibits, including the Hall of Birds, which houses118,000 bird specimens; the interactive Nature Nook with live animals, and the Dinosaur Gallery. Other attractions at the museum include outdoor areas like a butterfly garden, a meadow, a pollinator garden, and wooded nature trails, and the museum offers indoor picnic-style seating for packed lunches and ample parking.
4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807, Phone: 302-658-9111
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10.DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum
© DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum
The DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum takes visitors beneath the ocean with a collection of over 10,000 artifacts relating to shipwreck treasures. Established to preserve the region’s maritime heritage, the quirky museum is entered through a seashell shop and features some eclectic objects such as a desiccated Feejee mermaid and merman, walrus penis bone known as an oosik, a taxidermy shark, and several gold bars. A handmade diorama of a shipwreck recovery scene adds a bizarre touch with rubber fish, tiny diving men, and a blue cellophane ocean. The DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum offers a range of educational programs, lectures, and workshops throughout the year.
708 Coastal Hwy, Fenwick Island, DE 19944, Phone: 302-539-9366
11.Edward H McCabe Nature Preserve
© Edward H McCabe Nature Preserve
The Edward H. McCabe Preserve is home to a wide range of habitats, fauna, and flora that reflect the diversity of Delaware's ecosystems ranging from rolling meadows filled with monarch butterflies and Eastern bluebirds, dense forests of red and white oaks, green ash and black gum, and lush wetlands, tidal marshes, and the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp boasting migratory songbirds. The preserve offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird and wildlife watching, and kayaking and canoeing down the Broadkill River. The Edward H. McCabe Preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk except for seasonal closures between September and January of each year.
8588 Rd 257, Milton, DE 19968, Phone: 302-644-4707
12.Everyday Artists Pottery Painting
© Everyday Artists Pottery Painting
Everyday Artists Pottery Painting offers a fun and creative arts and craft experience for all ages. Visitors choose one of 200 pieces from an extensive collection of ceramics, ranging from plates, cups, bowls, and more, decorate it using brushes, sponges, stencils, stamps, tape, and end off with glazing it before leaving it to be fired. Everyday Artists Pottery Painting also offers canvas painting, art classes, workshops, and distinctive summer art camp incorporating a variety of mediums including ceramic painting, clay building, fused glass, canvas painting, and textiles.
1306 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE 19707, Phone: 302-239-9300
13.Fenwick Island State Park
Situated between the popular resort towns of Bethany Beach and Ocean City, Fenwick Island State Park is a 344-acre state park that is open for year-round recreation and offers a relaxing escape from the summer crowds. The three-mile barrier island along Delaware's Atlantic coast is a playground of sand, surf and sun with extensive white sandy beaches, safe, lifeguarded swimming areas, a modern bathhouse with showers and changing rooms, a snack food concession, and a gift shop. Beach chairs, water rafts, and umbrellas can be rented during the summer.
DE-1, Fenwick Island, DE 19944, Phone: 302-227-2800
14.Fox Point State Park
Fox Point State Park is a 108-acre state park along the Delaware River in New Castle County that offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities ranging from horseshoe pits and a volleyball court to a children’s play area and several hiking trails. The park has plenty of picnic areas, two pavilions that can be rented for larger gatherings, interpretive displays along the banks of the river describing the vessels plying their trade on the water. The riverside park offers several beautiful vistas and views of the working river, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and the skyline of Philadelphia.
Lighthouse Rd, Wilmington, DE 19809, Phone: 302-761-6963
Go Ape offers a range of adventure courses and fun outdoor activities for all ages in some of the most beautiful places in the United States. With a variety of courses set in public parks across the country, Go Ape Treetop Adventure Courses are made up of obstacles, zip lines, and Tarzan swings that allow participants to navigate through the treetops and explore the beautiful natural surroundings from the air. Participants are given a safety briefing before being equipped with all the necessary equipment for the course, which lasts between two and three hours. Qualified instructors are on hand along the route to provide safety and support, and the obstacle course is available for all ages.
1042 Howell School Rd, Bear, DE 19701, Phone: 800-971-8271
16.Iron Hill Science Center
© Iron Hill Science Center
The Iron Hill Science Center is a science-centric institute that explores the world of science and nature through outstanding exhibits featuring objects of geology, entomology, paleontology (fossils), zoology, and botany (plants). Operated by the Delaware Academy of Science, the Iron Hill Museum is housed in a historic school building and boasts an eclectic mix of artifacts and exhibits that highlight the history of the area, Native American history, and the mineralogy and geology of the region. The museum also has an oral history collection that documents the history of the Iron Hill School in 37 interviews on 59 audio cassettes. The Iron Hill Science Center hosts an extensive program of activities for children of all ages.
1115 Robert L. Melson Ln, Newark, DE 19702, Phone: 302-368-5703
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17.Jungle Jim’s Adventure World
Jungle Jim's Adventure World is the largest waterpark in the state, offering an array of water-based activities, swimming pools, a lazy river, and many water slides. The park is designed for all ages and all levels of swimmers and has lifeguards on duty around the park. Attractions in the park include a spray ground, activity pools, a kiddie’s splash pool, giant water slides, a wave pool, bumper boats, batting cages, and mini golf with a series of waterfalls running through the course. The River Café serves a selection of all-American fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, and sandwiches, along with sodas and fruit juices.
36944 Country Club Rd, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-227-8444
18.Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard
© Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard
Built by the Dutch in the 17th century, Kalmar Nyckel (Key of Kalmar) was a Swedish ship that carried the first permanent European settlers to North America in the mid-1600s to establish a colony of New Sweden. Today, people can visit the shipyard where the vessel was built and see a replica of the ship that was hand-built with Old-World craftsmanship, its huge mast, and elaborate rigging. The magnificent replica ship is moored next to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park and the Shipyard Shops and is close to the Copeland Maritime Center, which features excellent exhibits documenting the history of the vessel and its all-important journey to the Americas.
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation 1124 East Seventh Street Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: 302-429-7447
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19.Killens Pond State Water Park
© Jaroslav Moravcik/stock.adobe.com
Located in Killens Pond State Park, Killens Pond State Water Park is a family-friendly recreation area with 27-foot-high twisting waterslides, beach volleyball, a children’s swimming pool, and other fun activities. The water park is open seasonally during the summer and has a sizeable zero-depth entry swimming pool with lap lanes, a water playground with spraying jets and two small frog slides, and a swimming pool designed for young children. Other attractions in the water park include exhilarating twisting and turning water slides, a sand volleyball court, a swim shop selling swim essentials, a concession stand, and grassy areas for sunbathing and picnicking.
5025 Killens Pond Rd, Felton, DE 19943, Phone: 302-284-4526
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20.Midway Speedway Park
Midway Speedway Park offers a variety of fun for the whole family ranging from go-kart racing and mini-golf to a water park and an entertainment center. Based in Rehoboth Beach, the family-friendly center features four go-kart tracks with ten different styles of go-karts for all ages and levels, including a track with karts specifically designed for young children. Other attractions include Fire Mountain Mini-Golf with 18 challenging and exciting holes, the Bumper Boat Lagoon, the challenging Climbing Wall, and heart-stopping Gravity Storm. Located right behind Midway Speedway is the White Water Mountain Water Park, which features an Olympic-size recreational swimming pool, super-fast water slides, a lazy river, and an activity pool. Midway Speedway Park is open daily from May through September and weekends year-round.
18645 Coastal Hwy, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-644-2042
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21.New Castle Historical Society
© New Castle Historical Society
The New Castle Historical Society is a non-profit organization that manages and offers seasonal tours of three museums in the historic town of New Castle, namely The Amstel House, The Dutch House, and The Old Library Museum. Docent-led guided tours of the museums explore the history of New Castle and the people that have called it home since the 17th century, ranging from Dutch laborers and British colonial governors to prominent American architects. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Historic New Castle, explore each museum and the fascinating collections of historical artifacts and objects, and soak up the Old-World charm of this beautiful riverside city.
30 Market St, New Castle, DE 19720, Phone: 302-322-2794
22.Treasures of the Sea Exhibit
© Treasures of the Sea Exhibit
Located Stephen J. Betze Library on the campus of Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, Treasures of the Sea Exhibit is a fascinating collection of Spanish treasures from a 17th-century shipwreck, the Nuestra Señora de Atocha. The ship sank in a hurricane off the Florida coast on September 6, 1622, and famous treasure hunter Mel Fisher spent many years recovering the shipwreck’s treasure, which is calculated to be worth more than $4 million. Visitors to the museum can enjoy an array of experiences from watching a short movie about the ship and its demise, and the search and recovery of the treasure, as well as getting up close to and touching real artifacts from the shipwreck. A small gift shop sells a variety of souvenirs and items relating to the Nuestra Señora de Atocha.
21179 College Dr, Georgetown, DE 19947, Phone: 302-259-6150
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23.Wilmington and Western Railroad
© Wilmington and Western Railroad
The Wilmington and Western Railroad is a historic freight and heritage railroad that offers steam and diesel-powered train tours through the spectacular Red Clay Valley near Wilmington. Operating on a 10.2-mile railroad between Wilmington and Hockessin, the Wilmington and Western Railroad operates vintage steam and diesel locomotives, along with passenger cars and an antique Parlor Car complete with varnished wood interiors, brass lighting fixtures and comfortable seating. The historic railroad takes guests on a journey back to the time of railroad travel and offers a variety of train rides throughout the year along the historic track from fun family outings and Sunday afternoon picnics to romantic dinners for two and holiday celebrations.
2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, DE 19808, Phone: 302-998-1930
24.Your Creation Station
© Your Creation Station
Located on Main Street in the Middletown Crossing, Your Creation Station is a walk-in art studio that offers arts and crafts experiences for all ages, such as pottery and canvas painting, tie-dying workshops, fused glass classes, and special functions. Visitors choose from an extensive collection of ceramics, ranging from plates, cups, bowls, and more, decorate it using a selection of arts and crafts tools, glaze and fire it. Your Creation Station also offers canvas painting, art classes, workshops, and hosts special events like birthday parties and other celebrations.
318 E Main St, Middletown, DE 19709, Phone: 302-464-1044
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24 Fun Things to Do in Delaware with Kids of All Ages
- 3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center, Photo: 3 Palms Petting Zoo and Education Center
- Abbotts Mill Nature Center, Photo: Jaimie Tuchman/stock.adobe.com
- Air Mobility Command Museum, Photo: Air Mobility Command Museum
- Biggs Museum of American Art, Photo: Biggs Museum of American Art
- Brandywine Zoo, Photo: Venera/stock.adobe.com
- Cape Henlopen State Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village, Photo: Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
- Delaware Children's Museum, Photo: Delaware Children's Museum
- Delaware Museum of Natural History, Photo: Delaware Museum of Natural History
- DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, Photo: DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum
- Edward H McCabe Nature Preserve, Photo: Edward H McCabe Nature Preserve
- Everyday Artists Pottery Painting, Photo: Everyday Artists Pottery Painting
- Fenwick Island State Park, Photo: Jason/stock.adobe.com
- Fox Point State Park, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- Go Ape, Photo: Delphotostock/stock.adobe.com
- Iron Hill Science Center, Photo: Iron Hill Science Center
- Jungle Jim’s Adventure World, Photo: valiza14/stock.adobe.com
- Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard, Photo: Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard
- Killens Pond State Water Park, Photo: Jaroslav Moravcik/stock.adobe.com
- Midway Speedway Park, Photo: markara/stock.adobe.com
- New Castle Historical Society, Photo: New Castle Historical Society
- Treasures of the Sea Exhibit, Photo: Treasures of the Sea Exhibit
- Wilmington and Western Railroad, Photo: Wilmington and Western Railroad
- Your Creation Station, Photo: Your Creation Station
- Cover Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com