The largest city in Delaware, Wilmington is home to great museums, beautiful gardens and family-friendly attractions.
Explore the historic Nemours Mansion and its landscaped gardens, admire the art at the Delaware Art Museum, and stop by the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware with kids include the Delaware Children’s Museum, the Delaware Museum of Natural History and the DuPont Environmental Education Center.
1. Delaware Museum of Natural History
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The Delaware Museum of Natural History is the only museum of its kind in the state, and lets visitors learn about the natural world through discovery and exploration.
The museum hosts a variety of on site exhibits, including permanent exhibits on dinosaurs, mammals, birds, and Charles Darwin, among others.
These exhibits are geared towards children and families, and they offer both interactive and interpretive activities to facilitate a fun learning environment.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History is one of the top Wilmington attractions. The museum also provides various temporary and traveling exhibits throughout the year, including holiday displays, seasonal outdoor exhibits, and a variety of special events, all of which are posted on the museum’s website.
4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-658-9111
2. Nemours Mansion and Gardens
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Once the home of Wilmington’s renowned du Pont family, the Nemours Mansion was modeled after a classic French Chateau and named for a town from which the du Pont’s descended. Today, the Nemours Foundation owns the home, and they restored its interior, exterior, and expansive grounds in order to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the elaborate style and luxury the family once enjoyed.
The home is open to the public, and guests are able to tour the establishment and admire the preserved furnishings and rare artwork, along with the romantic gardens, one of which is similar to a famous Versailles garden. The Nemours Mansion and Gardens is one of the best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware. Browse unique DE beaches
1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19803, Phone: 302-651-6912
3. Delaware Art Museum
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One of the largest art collections in the state, the Delaware Art Museum is home to more then 12,000 pieces of work. The Museum is known for its collection of American art and illustrations, especially those dated between the 19th and 21st centuries. The museum also boasts an outdoor Sculpture Park, which expands almost 10 acres across the property.
Throughout the year, the museum presents a variety of special exhibitions, ranging from well known traveling displays to local folk art by Wilmington based artists. Over 100 workshops, classes, and sessions are offered throughout the year, and they are available to children, families, and adults alike.
2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-571-9590
4. Delaware attractions: Hagley Museum and Library
© Hagley Museum and Library
The Hagley Museum and Library is a 225-acre compound that contains historical sites, heritage buildings, and various authentic artifacts all belonging to the established and influential du Pont family. The grounds, which sit alongside the Brandywine Creek, contain the first family of the du Ponts, as well as a 19th century machine shop and several powder yards.
A Renaissance-revival garden complete with statuary and terraces sits below the house. The Museum and Library are housed within the complex, and they provide education and insight on original artifacts pertaining to the early years of the du Pont family and their significant contribution to both Wilmington and the United States.
200 Hagley Creek Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-658-2400
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5. Grand Opera House
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A well-known building in downtown Wilmington, the Grand Opera House, also known simply as The Grand, is a commanding and elaborate structure. Built in 1871, the property was initially home to a Lodge of Masons. Later, it played host a variety of performances including operas, Victoria melodramas, vaudeville, burlesque, and symphonies during before becoming a movie theater run by Warner Brothers.
Today, the building is host to a variety of community events, and it provides a scenic backdrop for some of Wilmington’s most talented to display their craft. For a calendar of upcoming events and ticket purchasing options, visit the Grand Opera House website.
818 N Market St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-652-5577
6. Things to Do in Delaware: Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, DE
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The Brandywine Zoo in downtown Wilmington is situated on a 12-acre land parcel. Home to over 150 species, the Zoo is divided into three sections: the main zoo, the exotic animal house, and a petting zoo. Notable animal residents include red pandas, two toed sloths, and the largest known rodent, the capybara.
The museum also provides educational programs that provide informative and interactive features on a traveling rotation of species. A variety of events, including educational programs and seasonal features, take place on site throughout the year. The Brandywine Zoo’s website provides a calendar of upcoming exhibits and events.
1001 N Park Dr, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-571-7747
7. Wilmington and Western Railroad
© Wilmington and Western Railroad
In the 1870’s, the original Wilmington & Western route stretched through downtown Wilmington, and for decades the path way contributed to the economy and work force of the area.
In the 1960’s, the once active train transitioned into a tourist attraction, and for more then fifty years it has functioned as a relaxing and scenic way to tour the surrounding area. Today, visitors can ride the train and travel down the heritage tracks to learn more about the site’s impact on Wilmington’s economical development and historical contributions, all while taking in the scenic rural views.
Throughout the year, the train hosts seasonal events and exhibits, and is available for personal rides, parties, and gatherings.
2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-998-1930
8. Things to Do in Delaware: Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
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Downtown Wilmington is home to the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge, a unique urban green space designed to act as an environmental preservation and visitor recreation center.
The preserve itself is located directly on Wilmington’s Riverfront, and it is one of the few urban wildlife zones in the country. The land now features a tranquil sanctuary that provides both fish and other wildlife habitats along the waterfront and throughout the surrounding wetland marsh.
Raised wooden walkways, trails, and viewing platforms allow guests to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying the scenery and wildlife of the refuge.
1400 Delmarva Lane, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-656-1490
9. Delaware Children's Museum
© Delaware Children's Museum
Open to children of all ages, the Delaware Children’s Museum has a mission of inspiring exploration, discovery, and self-efficacy in the lives of children through the use of interactive learning and hands-on experiences.
With permanent exhibits and activity centers based on topics such as science, technology, arts, engineering, and math, the museum is geared towards facilitating fun learning opportunities with a range of engaging and interpretive-based activities.
Throughout the year, the Delaware Children's Museum also hosts a variety of temporary and traveling exhibits and seasonal events, all of which are outlined on their website.
550 Justison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-654-2340
10. Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
© Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts is the only contemporary art museum within the state. Established in 1979, the museum is host to a range of local and regional artists, and it is focused on establishing a community center that thrives on the celebration of creativity.
The museum is considered non-collecting, meaning its priority is exhibiting a variety of new artists and their artwork instead of acquiring permanent pieces. As a result, the museum is a vibrant and inspirational setting within Wilmington. The Center also hosts a variety of workshops, classes, and camps throughout the year for both artists and non-artists who wish to learn more or find outlets of expression.
200 S Madison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-656-6466
11. Brandywine Creek State Park
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Just north of Wilmington sits the scenic Brandywine Creek State Park. This nearly 1,000-acre plot contains a series of nature preserves, including the first two nature preserves to exist in the state of Delaware.
The park features nearly 15 miles of trails, both paved and gravel. The Rocky Run Trail and the Greenways Trail are two of the most well known paths; they are loops that are several miles long. The park is also home to Brandywine Creek, which is known for its bountiful population of bass and trout and serves as a popular fishing spot.
The Brandywine Creek Nature Center provides an educational site for natural history and environmental features, and offers programs, literature, and interactive exhibits.
47 Adams Dam Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-577-3534
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12. Delaware attractions: Bellevue State Park
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The Bellevue State Park is located in the suburbs of Wilmington on the grounds of Bellevue Hall, a former mansion once belonging to the famous du Pont family. The park now offers a recreational green space for visitors to enjoy the scenic surroundings and partake in outdoor activities year round.
Attractions on site include a running track, a stocked catch and release fishing pond, hiking trails, cycling paths, and paved walking trails that weave throughout the space. Picnic tables, both indoors and out, are available, along with tennis facilities and equestrian areas. The park also hosts a variety of seasonal events, which are listed and detailed on the park’s website.
800 Carr Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-761-6963
13. Things to Do in Delaware: DuPont Environmental Education Center
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This urban green space is open year round to the public, and it provides free access to nature and natural educational in downtown Wilmington.
The education center is posed on a ten-acre park space, which includes a quarter mile-walking loop that meanders through a freshwater marsh, a flower garden path, and a modern educational center with literature, activities, and interpretive information.
The Nature Center is park of a 200-acre tidal marsh and a wildlife refuge on the Christina River, and it is home to a variety of species of animals, birds, and insects. The center offers numerous educational programs throughout the year designed for both student groups and families.
1400 Delmarva Ln, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-656-1490
14. Things to Do in Wilmington: Delaware Children's Theatre
© Delaware Children's Theatre
This community-based theatre provides Wilmington with a variety of shows and productions throughout the year. Local children and young adults star in the majority of the performances, but adult wing shows also occur during the year.
The performances and rehearsals are held at the theatre company’s building, the New Century Club building, a historic space constructed in 1893 that has hosted a variety of notable tenants over the past century.
A calendar of upcoming shows and information regarding workshops, private classes, and auditions are all posted on the Delaware Children’s Theatre website, along with ticket purchasing information.
1014 Delaware Ave, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-655-1014
15. Delaware attractions: Rockwood Museum
© Rockwood Museum
Based just outside of downtown Wilmington, the Rockwood Museum is a historic estate turned museum. Originally built in the early 1850s, the home was constructed as an elaborate country house for an English banker. Passed down through several generations of descendants, the home now belongs to a non-profit organization that restored the building, developed an internal museum, and opened the interior and grounds to the public for tours and educational programs.
The home is available for self-guided tours throughout the gardens and rooms of the house, in addition to guided ghost tours, a farmers market, and a variety of seasonal events.
610 Shipley Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-761-4340
16. Sullivan's Steakhouse, Wilmington, Delaware
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Sullivan’s Steakhouse, a fine dining favorite in downtown Wilmington, is known for its high quality cuts of meat and upbeat environment. Serving dinner throughout the week, Sullivan’s offers a variety of classic American dishes as well as an expansive cocktail menu.
The eatery provides delightful and modern fine dining in an appealing locale; the mahogany tables are lined with crisp black tablecloths, while the walls are adorned with black and white prints and floor to ceiling bookshelves. Live music during the week contributes to Sullivan’s high-energy vibe.
5525 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-479-7970
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17. Things to Do in Wilmington, Delaware: Big Fish Riverfront
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Serving lunch and dinner, Big Fish Riverfront is known for its large, platter served seafood, family friendly atmosphere, and idyllic riverfront location. This Wilmington staple is known for its generous helpings of fresh, locally caught seafood, and it also offers a variety of other meals ranging from lunch and dinner favorites to more eclectic offerings.
The restaurant is casual and has an impressive nautical, fish themed décor, creating a laidback ambiance. Outside, guests can dine on a sprawling covered patio with an expansive view of the surrounding greenery and the sparkling river.
720 Justison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-652-3474
18. La Fia, Wilmington, DE
© La Fia
This globally infused bistro, market and bakery is known for its variety of flavors and flexible eating environment. Open from late morning through the evening, La Fia serves both lunch and dinner in the bistro and has a menu that features classic American favorites fused with international tastes, all comprised of fresh, local ingredients.
In the market, guests are able to sit counter side to enjoy coffee, baked goods, and other market fare, or pick up one of the shop’s various meals made to go. The eclectic and vintage space utilizes warm colors, contrasting wood tones, and historic décor to create a warm and comforting atmosphere that is casual and welcoming.
421 N Market St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-543-5574
More travel ideas: Romantic Trips in Delaware.
19. Old Swedes Historic Site
© Old Swedes Historic Site
Way back in 1638 a group of Swedish and Finnish settlers arrived in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. The settlers established a fort and built the Holy Trinity Church which today forms the heart of the historic Old Swedes Site. The church was obviously very well constructed and has survived the centuries to become one of the oldest structures in
Delaware. The adjacent burial ground served the fort and is also where many prominent local and regional individuals were buried. The site is also home to the historic Hendrickson House which dates back to 1722 and was moved to the site from Ridley Township. The site is well worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of Wilmington and Delaware.
606 N. Church Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, 302 652 5629
20. Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
© Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is an educational organization which built and owns the amazing Kalmar Nyckel Tall Ship, which is a fully operational Tall Ship, based on the original Kalmar Nyckel ship which brought the first Swedish settlers to North America. Today the ship is used as a floating educational center where you can learn all about Delaware’s fascinating maritime history. The foundation operates regular day sails, river cruises and pirate adventures from May through October, as well as hosting many private cruises. She operates out of the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard at the Copeland Maritime Center and tickets are available on line. Crew training is available if you would like to volunteer.
1124 E. 7th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, 302 429 7447
21. Winterthur Enchanted Woods
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Your children will be absolutely blown away by the Winterthur Enchanted Woods. Here, in the dappled shade of a beautiful stand of oak trees, a magical fairy garden has been created. The garden covers around 3 acres and includes several play areas where children can immerse themselves in a fantasy world created just for them. Unlike many other “children’s gardens”, this enchanted wood is not only magical but also aesthetically pleasing for all ages. Children the explore the thatched Faerie Cottage, climb into the wonderful giant bird’s nest and have great fun in the water features which were specifically designed for play.
Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE 19735, 302 888 4600
22. Wilmington River Walk
The Wilmington River Walk stretches for 1.75 miles along the bank of the Cape Fear River is historic downtown Wilmington. The scenic river walk has converted a former eye-sore into a much-loved public recreational facility which is home to a beautiful Marina and an excellent variety of tourist attractions. The wide boardwalk offers beautiful views and is lined by many restaurants and coffee shops where you can enjoy a snack while soaking up the amazing views and the great atmosphere. A few of the attractions along the boardwalk include the massive USS North Carolina Battleship and the Wilmington Cotton Exchange.
23. Delaware History Museum
© Delaware History Museum
Everyone is invited to stop by the Delaware History Museum to admire the magnificent collection of more than 3 million historical objects, photos, books and other items which has been accumulated by the Delaware Historical Society over the last 150 years. The museum is located in what was previously a Woolworth’s store on Market Street. Permanent exhibits include the One State Many Stories, which explains how the First State was formed and the Journey to Freedom, which documents the arrival of the very first people of African ancestry into Delaware and their subsequent fight for freedom from slavery. The Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.
504 N. Market Street, Wilmington, NC 19801, 302 656 0637
24. Casino at Delaware Park
Conveniently located just a few minutes south of Wilmington, Casino at Delaware Park brings world-class gaming to the city. The Casino has more than 2000 modern slot machines spread across 2 levels – you can wager anything from 1 penny to $25 at a time. In addition, there are more than 40 table games including roulette, craps, black jack and 3-card poker. When you need a break you can move on to the Sports Bar and Lounge to bet on and watch your favorite sports on one of the 30 big screens. Other attractions include live horse racing, an on-site brew pub and live entertainment on Saturday nights.
777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804, 302 994 2521
25. Alapocas Run State Park
Set around the scenic Blue Rock Cliff (which was formerly a quarry), the Alapocas Run State Park provides an attractive recreational area with varied outdoor activities. The park is home to Delaware’s one and only natural rock-climbing wall as well as trails for walking, hiking, biking and wildlife-watching. The interpretive Northern Delaware Greenway Trail is ideal for exploring on 2 wheels, while walkers can admire the Blue Granite Cliffs which supplied much of the stone for early Wilmington buildings. There is a children’s playground designed to suit children of all physical abilities and the park offers rock-climbing programs for enthusiasts. Last but not least, you can visit the historic Blue Ball Barn to admire local folk art.
1914 W. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19803, 302 577 1164