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10 Family-Friendly Museums to Visit in Metro Manila

by Chinggay Labrador

The city is rife with museums that open both kids’ and adults’ minds to all kinds of learning.

When balikbayans or tourists come to Manila with their families in tow, one of their major concerns is where to go—it can be a challenge to find something that appeals to little kids, senior citizens, and adults alike. Fortunately, Manila-based folk are blessed with many museum options that make for educational, visually arresting, and wholesome places to learn outside the classroom. Experience history, art, science, and literature firsthand through these memorable spots all over the metro.

1. Museo Pambata

INSTAGRAM: xxsienerika

The country’s first interactive children’s museum, Museo Pambata offers its visitors an immersive experience that encourages self-paced learning. Nothing is hands-off, so kids can get their hands dirty by walking into life-size models of the body, a mini Bahay na Bato, a little market, or even an earthquake simulation. Kids can touch, feel, and play with everything on display, taking them outside the digital space they’ve gotten so used to. Museo Pambata prides itself on stimulating kids through its exhibits and its mobile library, which encapsulate the cultural identity of the Filipino and make it accessible to kids. Situated in the historic Elks Club (built in 1911) in Roxas Boulevard, it is also an example of adaptive reuse.

Museo Pambata
Roxas Boulevard cor. South Drive, Manila
(02) 523 1797
www.museopambata.org

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 8 AM to 5 PM (September to February), 9 AM to 5 PM (March to August)
Sundays – 1 PM to 5 PM
The museum is closed on Mondays and selected official holidays.

Admission Fees:
₱250 for children 2 years old and above, and adults
Museum workers and teachers with valid IDs – FREE
Manila residents with valid IDs – FREE on Tuesdays and with 50% discount on other days (not applicable for group tours)

2. The Mind Museum

INSTAGRAM: themindmuseum

The Mind Museum’s goal is to let its visitors experience science come alive. Located at the heart of Bonifacio Global City, this easy-to-reach destination makes for a great alternative to the typical Manila mall hop most tourists and locals succumb to. Backed by the Bonifacio Art Foundation, the Mind Museum has over 250 interactive exhibits that explore science in the molecular level, biology, the Earth (it has the country’s first permanent T-Rex exhibit), space, and technology. Progressive and up to date, the Mind Museum is also housed in a state of the art LEED building designed by architect Ed Calma.

The Mind Museum
JY Campos Park, 3rd Ave.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(02) 909 6463
www.themindmuseum.org

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 9 AM to 6 PM
The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission Fees:
Three-Hour Visit Time Slots:
₱625 for adults
₱475 for child or private school student (up to college)
₱190 for Philippine public school student (up to college)
₱190 for teachers with academic / school ID indicating “teacher” or certificate of employment from school and government issued ID

All-Day Pass Visit:
₱750

The Mind Museum and Space Adventure Exhibition (three-hour museum visit plus 90-minute out-of-this-world adventure):
₱775 for adults
₱650 for child or private school student (up to college)
₱340 for Philippine public school student (up to college) or teacher

Space Adventure Exhibition Only:
₱250 for adult or child (90-minute visit)
₱400 for adult or child (All-day pass)

3. National Museum of Natural History

INSTAGRAM: alphakappa2

The Natural History Museum’s recent opening is one of the reasons people have been flocking to Rizal Park in Ermita once again. After undergoing a three-year renovation of the famous neoclassic Department of Tourism building designed by architect Antonio Toledo, folks can now traipse through old halls and witness Philippine fauna and flora, marine life, botanical illustrations and paintings, and explore the biosphere from a Philippine context as well. One of the most interesting exhibits is the replica of Lolong, the largest crocodile in captivity. The museum’s impressive Tree of Life is a central elevator that ascends up to an architectural canopy, casting beautiful shadows on a clean, white space.

National Museum of Natural History
Teodoro F. Valencia Circle
Ermita, Manila

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 10 AM to 5 PM
The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission is free.

4. Ateneo Art Gallery

INSTAGRAM: lavidalokal

The Ateneo Art Gallery has always been known for its collection of modern and contemporary art. A constant champion of new and emerging talent, their shows feature the many ways in which Filipino artists are redefining and shaping art in all its many forms. Just last year, the university opened its new creative hub and art complex, Areté—a Greek word that encapsulates excellence and virtue. The state-of-the-art building designed by WV Coscolluela and Associates houses classrooms, studios, activity hubs or “Sandboxes,” a fully-furnished kitchen for Le Cordon Bleu classes, and theaters.

Ateneo Art Gallery
Ateneo de Manila University, Arts Wing
Katipunan Ave., Quezon City
(02) 426 6488
https://www.facebook.com/ateneoartgallery

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 9 AM to 7 PM
Sundays – 9 AM to 5 PM
The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission is free.

5. Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center

INSTAGRAM: _ronelamarie

UP Diliman’s Vargas Museum started in the early 1980s, when a building was erected to house a donation of art, stamps, coins, books, and other memorabilia from Jorge B. Vargas, the country’s first Executive Secretary. Frequently visited by students and academics, the museum plays host to events such as book launches, poetry readings, and concerts and recitals. It also holds solo and group exhibitions for contemporary art. The more permanent collections of the museum include Vargas’ memorabilia, photography, and contemporary art.

Taking the family to the UP Diliman grounds is a treat for its historic buildings, greens, and grounds. Adding Vargas Museum to your itinerary for the day ups the learning experience by adding some art exposure to the mix.

Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center
University of the Philippines
Roxas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
(02) 928 1927
www.vargasmuseum.wordpress.com

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 9 AM to 5 PM
The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Admission Fees:
₱20 for UP students, alumni, faculty and employees
₱30 for general public
Admission is FREE on Wednesdays for UP students, alumni, faculty, and employees.

6. National Musem of Fine Arts

INSTAGRAM: franztene

If you want to see some of the country’s most seminal works of art, then a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts (formerly known as the National Gallery) is a must. Housing the famous Spoliarium by Juan Luna, the museum also showcases works from the colonial Spanish period by Félix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Fernando Amorsolo. More contemporary paintings by Carlos “Botong” Francisco and Vicente Manansala are also on display. If you want to explore the country and its history through the eyes of its visual artists, the Fine Arts Museum is top priority. Housed in the old Congress building, it transports you to Manila’s boom pre-World War II.

National Musem of Fine Arts
Padre Burgos Drive, Manila
(0929) 457 3286
www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 10 AM to 5 PM
The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission is free.

7. Ayala Museum

INSTAGRAM: prettyboybaboy

Designed by architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin Partners, the Ayala Museum is a great example of modern Philippine architecture right smack in the middle of bustling Ayala Center. A staple for kids’ school field trips, the museum houses The Diorama Experience, which chronicles Philippine history from prehistoric times all the way up to the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Aside from this, the museum also holds maritime vessels, an exhibition of over a thousand pre-colonial gold objects, and Philippine art from the 19th to 20th century. Ayala Museum also holds frequent exhibitions, talks, concerts, and symposia that the public can easily access.

Ayala Museum
Makati Ave. cor. de la Rosa St.,
Greenbelt Park, Makati City
(02) 717 5800 loc. 5821
www.ayalamuseum.org

Museum Hours:
Ground to 4th Floor Galleries:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 9 AM to 6 PM

Filipinas Heritage Library:
Tuesdays to Saturdays – 9 AM to 6 PM

ArtistSpace:
Mondays to Sundays – 10 AM to 7 PM

Admission Fees:
Full-access Admission:
₱425 for regular adult (non-resident)
₱300 for regular student, senior, PWD
₱225 for discounted resident (adult)
₱125 for local student, senior, PWD
Admission is free for tour guides or teachers.

Changing Exhibits Admission:
₱200 for all changing exhibits
₱140 for all changing exhibits - discounted senior, PWD
₱150 for one changing exhibit
₱100 for one changing exhibit - discounted senior, PWD

8. Pinto Art Museum

INSTAGRAM: extrajoess

Though not technically within city limits, this mission-style structure housing an impressive Filipino art collection makes the trek to Antipolo absolutely worthwhile. The open space is breezy and well lit, making it a delight to walk through the sculptures and indigenous art, and allot enough time to appreciate mixed media and paintings one slow step at a time. A favorite among folks seeking the perfect Instagram shot, Pinto’s manicured gardens and landscaped areas are also a sight to behold.

Pinto Art Museum
1 Sierra Madre St., Antipolo, Rizal
(02) 697 1015
www.facebook.com/Pinto.Art.Museum.officialpage

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 9 AM to 6 PM

Admission Fees:
₱200 for adults
₱180 for senior citizens, PWD
₱100 for students with valid school IDs
Admision is free for children 3 years old and below.

9. Casa Manila Museum

INSTAGRAM: camilledajay

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in the Walled City during the days of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, this museum is a must-see. Casa Manila takes the traditional bahay na bato and breathes life into it with authentic furniture set up exactly how it would have been used in the 19th century. Casa Manila gives a great glimpse into the way the upper crust of society lived during the Spanish colonial period. If you’ve ever had to read Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo for class, a trip to Casa Manila will make Rizal’s world come alive. The fact that the museum is situated right at the heart of Intramuros itself only adds to its charm and appeal.

Casa Manila Museum
Plaza San Luis Complex, General Luna St.
Intramuros, Manila
(02) 527 4084

Museum Hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays – 9 AM to 6 PM

Admission Fees:
₱75 for adults
₱50 for students, teachers, senior citizens, PWD

10. San Agustin Museum

INSTAGRAM: ivn.lj.dmnty)

Religion plays a big role in our country’s history, and it’s interesting to know that you can see firsthand exactly how influential the church was by walking through San Agustin’s halls. The church, built in 1571 and reconstructed in 1587, is one of the oldest in the country. Its museum holds many religious art pieces—statues of saints, large paintings, a peek into the friars’ quarters, and more. A look at San Agustin’s rich collection puts the experience of walking into the church, with its trompe-lœil embellishments in historical context as well.

San Agustin Museum
General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila
(02) 527 2746

Business Hours:
8 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 6 PM

Admision Fees:
₱100 for adults
₱80 for senior citizens
₱50 for college students
₱45 for high school students
₱40 for children 4 to 12 years old

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About Chinggay
Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer and published author. She also runs Practical Magic, a tarot business, which specializes in readings that aim to bring the magic of intuition together with practical, everyday guidance. When she’s not writing or slinging cards, Chinggay practices and teaches yoga and meditation, finds inspiration through travel, and bakes super fudge brownies. Find her on Instagram at @practical_magical and @superrrfudge.

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