Trick your kids into learning something new — they'll be having so much fun, they won't even notice their brains expanding.

1 Tūhura, Otago Museum, Dunedin

Opened last year, the Tūhura science centre is the Otago Museum's new crown jewel. With more than 45 hands-on activities, you'll find plenty here to keep the little ones occupied — from a tornado simulator to the Perpetual Guardian planetarium. The impressive DNA-inspired helical slide is sure to be a hit as well. Tūhura also offers a novel way to escape Dunedin's cold weather — a three-level tropical rainforest teeming with exotic butterflies, tarantulas, terrapins and other rainforest dwellers. And it's 28 degrees all year round — ideal to warm up the family on a chilly Otago day.
otagomuseum.nz/whats-on/do/tuhura

2 Exploratorium, San Francisco

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Named one of the best science museums in the world, San Francisco's Exploratorium is fun for the whole family. This scientific funhouse is designed to spark curiosity about the world, with more than 650 exhibits to explore. Kids can shrink and grow in the Distorted Room, dissect a cow's eye, shoot baskets wearing perception-altering glasses and so much more. For a taster, head to the website and explore the online collections.

3 Science Museum, London

With seven floors of exhibits to get stuck into, kids can have plenty of fun while learning about the world around them — and entry is free. Blast off into space with the Apollo 10 command module and flight simulator, and get up close to the 3m-high, 600kg Spacelab 2 X-ray telescope that was flown on British space missions. The current blockbuster exhibition explores humanity's obsession with our nearest star, the sun. The museum also includes an in-house IMAX cinema screening scientific films in 3D.

Children explore the magic of mirrors in the Science Maze Gallery of the Discovery Museum. Photo / Supplied
Children explore the magic of mirrors in the Science Maze Gallery of the Discovery Museum. Photo / Supplied