Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Santa Fe

Address 750 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM 87502 Map, Hours Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, Cost $6.00 Adult; kids under 16 free Website

Dedicated to housing high-quality examples of Spanish colonial art, this small museum is just the type of place where my kids do well. Instead of rooms full of dreary paintings, you'll see santos, silver, furniture, tools, tinwork and textiles. I found it easy to strike up a conversation with my 3 year old about topics like "why are the keys so big" or "why did the lights fixtures have candles in them." Like any good three-year-old, he was fascinated with the tools, but also interested in the mock rooms set up with period objects.

About mid-way through the museum circuit, tucked away in a quiet corner, we found a dedicated kids area. Dress up costumes, each tagged with information about when and how it would have been used were the first thing we gravitated to. A well chosen collection of books (including some in Spanish) helps kids get even more out of the museum. Look for a small paperback that shows kids learning and practicing each of the different artforms on display (e.g. tinwork, straw art and weaving) and read it, pointing to each type of artwork as you turn the pages). I especially liked the artwork in this room because each item was provided by a talented child artist.