What better way to spend a day bonding as a family than with a visit to a museum? Museums provide opportunities for kids and adults alike to interact and learn. Better yet, the area in and around Chandler boasts a wealth of amazing museums to explore. Whether your family is interested in history, art, culture, or anything in between, you’ll find a great museum without traveling far at all. Let Crème de la Crème of Chandler help take the guesswork out of planning your next outing with this list of four amazing museums you just have to check out.
Arizona Railway Museum
“Arizona Railway Museum – Two Trains” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by CWaterhouse
Think you’ll never find a museum your kids will love? Think again. The Arizona Railway Museum provides a fun and educational place to visit that train lovers of all ages are sure to enjoy. This amazing museum is located right here in Chandler, making it incredibly easy to plan a family museum day.
The Arizona Railway Museum acquires, preserves, and displays rail cars from the heyday of train travel, making for an exciting array of objects from the history of trains. You’ll find vintage rail cars used for local and long-distance rail, including an Alaska RR dining car, a Santa Fe caboose, and a Southern Railway Business Car. You can also look forward to taking in the information available about historic railways in our state. You’ll find placards close to each piece describing its historical significance.
Put on your comfy shoes: The open-air museum offers self-guided walks around the yard so you can view the equipment at your own pace. The yard is surfaced with crushed rock, so comfort is a must! The museum is operated by volunteers and open September through May on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $5 for adults, $2 for children between the ages of 2 and 12, and is free for kids under 2 years old. You can also go for the family admission, which costs $15. Active military can enter for free.
You’ll want to check out Chandler’s very own museum the next time you’re trying to plan a fun and educational day close to home. The Chandler Museum offers community-focused programs and forums to engage local families. You’ll also find world-class traveling exhibits here, so you’ll want to keep coming back whenever there’s a new exhibit in town.
The museum’s exhibit hall typically boasts six to eight different exhibitions every year. The schedule encompasses both exhibits produced in-house to explore topics related to Chandler’s history as well as exhibits traveling around the country that showcase various topics such as art, culture, and history. The facility spans 10,000 square feet and has almost 13,000 feet of outdoor spaces, including a 10,000-square-foot courtyard.
In addition to featuring those rotation regional and national exhibits, the Chandler Museum serves as a research and archive center. The museum offers free family programming, including hands-on activities geared toward kids, on various Saturdays. The museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The best part? Admission is always free, so you can come back to check out new exhibits whenever you’re in the mood.
The Eddie Basha Collection of Western American and American Indian Art
If you or someone in your family is into art, you’re in luck. The Eddie Basha Collection of Western American and American Indian Art is located right in south Chandler! This expansive collection highlights contemporary Western American art and American Indian art, drawing art lovers from around the world right here to our hometown.
The collection got its start when Eddie Basha started collecting art in 1971; Basha’s hobby quickly became a passion. Now, this collection is one of the largest private collections of contemporary Western American and American Indian art that you can find anywhere in the world.
You can expect an awe-inspiring display of everything from oil paintings to watercolors, wood and natural stone sculptures to pottery, and more when you visit. In fact, that’s just the beginning. You’ll also get to see pastel and charcoal drawings, acrylics, katsinas, basketry, jewelry, wood-turned bowls, pen and inks, and bronze. All in all, the museum boasts more than 3,500 pieces of art.
You’ll find this collection in the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery. The gallery is usually open from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. When the gallery is temporarily closed, you don’t have to cross this amazing space off your list, either. You can explore from the comfort of home via the virtual gallery.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
Make the quick trip to Mesa to spend a day at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. This amazing museum features exhibits about a wide range of natural history topics, including the cultures of ancient America, native cultures of Western North America, and of course, a whole lot of dinosaurs. In other words, you’ll find something to inspire every member of the family when you visit this nearby attraction.
Make sure you save some time for a trip to Dinosaur Mountain, an exhibit within the Arizona Museum of Natural History where dinosaurs come to life. Kiddos are sure to enjoy seeing the dinosaurs roar and move as a flash flood cascades down the mountain. You’ll find representations of animals from the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Cenozoic, and finally modern-day Arizona here.
This museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admissions costs $6.50 for adults, $3.50 for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old, and $2 for EBT cardholders (for up to six family members). Kids ages 2 and under can enter for free.
There you have it, Crème de la Crème of Chandler’s roundup of four truly inspiring museums you’ll want to explore. These museums are all super easy to get to from Chandler, so we hope you’re excited to check them out. Do you have a favorite local museum we didn’t include? Let us know so we can add your favorite museum!