Alice always greets guests with a roar. A pneumatically operated replica of an Allosaurus, Alice and her baby guard the entrance to Discover World, one of several engaging centers at the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. Located next to the McKinley National Memorial in Canton, Ohio, the museum helps families learn about science and history at a relaxed pace and a reasonable price.

Children will Enjoy McKinley Museum’s Interactive Nature and Science Exhibits

The museum’s first floor nature and science exploration center features many interactive exhibits about physics, electricity, astronomy, paleontology, meteorology and ecology.

Displays include skeletons of a mastodon (unearthed locally) and saber-tooth cat, an indoor water habitat complete with fish and turtles, a touch-and-feel area with animal pelts and skulls, a variety of smaller animals and insects, and hands-on activities with pulleys, gears, bubbles, robotics and more. There’s even a room especially for children age four and under.

McKinley Museum Kid favorites include

Standing up inside the skull of a T. rex;
Watching live bees busily at work inside a colony (a new hive will be installed in the near future);
Digging for arrowheads like an archeologist;
Leaving their shadows on the wall of the phosphorescent-coated Shadow Catcher;
Playing with the twisting winds of the tornado simulator; and
Delivering the weather report on a flat-screen TV.
Daily shows in the Hoover-Price Planetarium are included in the price of admission.

Street of Shops Transports Visitors Back to Canton at the End of the 19th Century

On the second floor a new exhibit, The Stark County Story, will be unveiled late next month. It will join other historic displays like the McKinley Gallery Collection – the largest compilation of artifacts from the life of 25th U.S. President William McKinley and his wife Ida – and the Street of Shops, a glimpse of life in Canton near the end of 19th century.

The recreated downtown district with its brick roads includes the city saloon and hotel; milliner, dress, cabinet and blacksmith shops; grocery and drug stores; and law, doctor and dentist offices – most decorated with period pieces and colors that reflect the optimistic spirit of the times. The toy store contains many antiques, such as the galloping pony push toy, swinging girl, tops, dolls, wagons and more.

Children will love the fire station with its steam pumper, Dalmatian statues and fireman’s pole that they can slide down (over and over again).

The Street of Shops also includes a substantial HO model train layout and several display cases. And, the Heinrich Woerschler pioneer home (a replica of the 1805 structure) features a working fireplace where the museum holds hearth cooking demonstrations during special events.

Plan Ahead and Bring a Picnic Lunch or Dine at a Local Canton Restaurant

William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum does not have a restaurant on site currently, only vending machines. However, the grounds offer many beautiful places for a picnic. Or, visitors can enjoy a number of local restaurants, including Taggart’s Ice Cream, which opened in 1926.

Visitors can plan their trip using the museum’s Web site. Other nearby attractions include downtown art galleries and unique eateries, National First Ladies’ Library and Historical Site, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton Classic Car Museum, Canton Museum of Art, Harry London Candies, Hoover Historical Center and MAPS Air Museum.