Even the best behaved child may not be able to patiently wait in the long lines of the Louvre. Luckily, Paris and its surrounding region also have some 200 other museums, many of which cater happily to young travelers and their families.

At this selection of five museums, children and adults can ride antique carousels, attend musical performances and watch magic shows. With the benefit of being a bit off-the-beaten tourist path, more French will be heard and visitors might feel a sense of satisfaction knowing they have arrived at a place that native Parisians also enjoy.

National Museum of Natural History

Encircling the Jardin des Plantes. the galleries of Paris’s natural history museum include halls of geology and botany and greenhouses of plants from different climates. But the must-sees are the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy and Grand Gallery of Evolution.

In the paleontology building, a menagerie of articulated skeletons and fossils still sport their original, charmingly hand-lettered labels from the end of the 19th century. Neither children nor their parents can touch, but they can ride the animals on the “dodo manège,” a carousel of extinct and endangered species, located just outside.

The Grand Gallery of Evolution occupies a beautiful iron and glass building dating to the 1880s. Originally the zoology building, it reopened to the public in 1994 after decades of neglect. The museum displays more than 9,000 preserved animals and insects, from a total collection of many tens of millions more. The exhibits tell the intertwined stories of the evolution of species and of human impacts on the planet, including a hall of extinct and endangered species where creatures seem to glow under low, preservation-sensitive lighting.

57 rue Cuvier, 5e, mnhn.fr

Museum of Music

Museum of Arts and Tradecrafts


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