Families and museums don't always go hand in hand – except when museums focus on children, through their topics and educational content. And some of them are so good that the kids don't want to leave at all.

Deutsches Hygiene Museum Dresden: fun for all the family – and all the senses

German Hygiene Museum German Hygiene Museum ©David Brandt

"A journey into the body" is the motto of Dresden's Deutsches Hygiene Museum , which was founded in 1912 and now refers to itself as a 'universal museum of mankind'. However, the world-famous 'Glass Woman' body model from 1936 is still relevant today – and just one of countless ways you can discover what connects people at their core. Spread across seven rooms, the permanent exhibition 'The Human Adventure' deals with a range of topics in an engaging way, from AIDS to nutrition and from sexuality to death. This is also interesting for younger visitors (especially as part of special children's tours), but they'll probably find 'The World of the Senses' much more exciting – the children's museum on the basement floor, designed for five to twelve-year-olds. In an area of over 500 square metres, they are free to feel their way through mirror cabinets, play the floor piano, try out echoic memory and listen to the electrical signals of fish in the aquarium. Gigantic models of the eye, ear, nose, tongue and under the skin also provide insights into what goes on inside our bodies. The focus here as well, then, is on the human body and how it can be explored with all the senses.

Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg: clear the way for the world's largest model railway

Hamburg: Children in Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg: Children in Miniatur Wunderland ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

How small the world can be! Hamburg sits right opposite America, with the fjords and fells of Scandinavia only a few steps away. Just around the corner is the most spectacular section of the ride when it comes to scenery: the Swiss Alps, whose almost six-metre high Matterhorn even rises over two floors. The best bit: everywhere you look, something is moving, flashing, floating, sailing, beeping. Above all, it steams, puffs, hisses and squeaks. After all, more than 1,100 trains travel through its countries and landscapes on a scale of 1:87 – that is, 87 times smaller than the real thing. Wow! Moreover, the little town of Knuffingen is particularly lively, thanks to its airport, 10,000 lovingly-decorated inhabitants and 115 self-driving cars. But here too, as in the rest of the Miniature Wonderland , the railway is the showstopper. A total of 16 kilometres of track make this empire of plaster, which is housed in an impressive building in the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district, the world's largest model railway. And a highlight that is particularly popular with families. With around 1.4 million visitors a year, reserving your ticket is highly recommended, especially for visits during weekends and holidays. You may even wish to come back again, since new worlds are constantly expanding this 1,500-square-metre miniature universe...

Kommern Open Air Museum: out into the museum

Mechernich: Eifel building group of the LVR open-air museum Kommern Mechernich: Eifel building group of the LVR open-air museum Kommern ©LVR-Freilichtmuseum Kommern (Hans-Theo Gerhards)

Open-air museums are the perfect combination of learning, exercise and time outdoors, making them particularly popular with families with active children, especially in summer temperatures. The Kommern Open Air Museum also boasts an impressive size, which few other open-air museums in Europe can match. This 110-hectare site is home to 79 historic buildings from the Westerwald, the Eifel, the Bergisches Land and the Lower Rhine. Farms, wind and water mills, workshops, a school, a bakery, a dance hall and a chapel lie nestled in fields, cottage gardens and orchards – all making hiking fun. Visitors can not only marvel at the "Hardware" but also discover with all five senses how people used to live and work in the Rhineland and the North Eifel – an experience that children in particular are sure to love. In addition to the permanent exhibition 'Wir Rheinländer' (English: 'We Rhinelanders'), a colourful array of events and workshops such as bread baking and felting for children help ensure this. As well as this, under the motto 'History in Action', various actors parade across the grounds, sometimes as the mousetrap maker Regine, sometimes as the mayor Carl-Otto Poensgen, sometimes as the nun Clara Fey and more. Horses, cows, pigs, geese and chickens might stumble across your path – an animal delight.

Black Forest Open Air Museum Vogtsbauernhof: time travel with that wow factor

Gutach: Black Forest open-air-museum Vogtsbauernhof Gutach: Black Forest open-air-museum Vogtsbauernhof ©DZT (Leungmo)

For many children nowadays, a time before the internet, smartphones, cars and central heating is hard to imagine. And even older visitors are amazed at the completely different way of life their ancestors lived when they arrive at the Black Forest Open Air Museum in Gutach. At the Vogtsbauernhof, visitors enjoy an in-depth insight into rural life several centuries ago, through farmhouses, everyday objects and artefacts as well as items of clothing and old breeds of farm animals grazing between mills, granaries and bakeries – an exciting experience for young and old alike. This is particularly true of open workshops aimed specifically at families, as well as certain demonstrations of ancient trades. Check out the museum app to enjoy mill and saw demonstrations in addition to the regular performance schedule, not to mention the four digital tours offering all kinds of information. Younger children, however, may be more interested in the other attractions on offer: the adventure playground with climbing rocks and suspension bridge, the forest labyrinth for little explorers and the play tunnel in the 'Falkenhof', which opened in 2015.