If you’ll be traveling someplace new this summer, chances are high you’ll be hitting up a museum or two. Fortunately, these nine spots allow furry friends inside the museum grounds. From stunning gardens to historic trolley cars, you’ll want to add these dog-friendly destinations to your itinerary:
Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona
Leashed dogs and their owners can check out more than 150 planes, including tankers, helicopters, U.S. Navy fighters and bombers, at the outdoor Pima Air & Space Museum.
“The Pima Air & Space Museum offers over 80 acres to be explored for leashed pets and their owners” says Meghan Marum, director of communications at the museum. “With dog disposal stations throughout the grounds it is easy to clean up after them.”
While all leashed dogs are allowed at the facility, only service animals are allowed on the riding tours, Marum says. The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m (last admission is at 3 p.m.) and is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To have more control over your dog while you’re walking in a public place like a museum, holistic pet physical therapist Sally Morgan recommends utilizing a dog harness for your dog in addition to his or her leash and collar.
Spanish Military Hospital Museum, St. Augustine, Florida
The Spanish Military Hospital Museum offers museum goers 45 minute guided tours to learn more about colonial Spanish days of medicine inside in the oldest city in the country. Museum employees dress in period costume and educate visitors about medical practices—like herbs used in treatments—from the time period.
“We are major pet lovers,” says museum owner/operator Barbara Wilson, who manages the museum with her son, Nicholas Wilson. “Because we believe our pets are our family, we love it when tourists are able to bring their pets on vacation. Every dog or cat that comes in, whether they tour or not, receives a treat.”
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed on Christmas.
Before visiting a museum, Morgan recommends giving your dog any meals, water and potty breaks that he or she needs. In addition, bring plenty of waste bags and paper towels with you in case of an accident.
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine
The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, is the largest and oldest museum of public transportation. Expect to see more than 250 vehicles including historic trolleys, buses, and railroad cars from across the country if you visit the 330-acre campus. The vehicles are largely displayed outside, making this an ideal place to enjoy with your dog.
“We’re always delighted to welcome canine visitors, and tend to make a fuss over them,” says Sally A. Bates, executive director of the museum. “Well-behaved dogs enjoy the same museum experience as the rest of their family members – they ride on trolleys, go in the exhibit barns, and even ‘shop’ in the museum store.”
The museum supplies doggie waste bags and garbage cans throughout the property and is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s also open during first two weekends in December on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Miramont Castle Museum, Manitou Springs, Colorado
Miramont Castle Museum is a historic, Victorian-era mansion that’s over 120 years old. Complete with 40 rooms filled with authentic period furniture, the over 14,000-square foot museum is decorated for the holidays and many windows feature views of the nearby mountains, the most famous of which is Pikes Peak.
Dogs are welcome in the museum, but must be on leash, says guest relations manager Jennifer Walters. The museum is open year-round. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Easter, Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve. During the winter, the museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Because many museum patrons prefer a quiet environment, consider keeping your pet’s tags taped together so that they don’t make too much noise, Morgan suggests.
National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
Located right downtown, the National Arboretum’s mission is to research and preserve plant life. Visitors with leashed dogs can enjoy strolling past a plethora of different flora and fauna including dogwoods, azaleas, boxwoods, an herb garden and perennials.
“The visitors that do bring their pets are attracted by the beautiful scenery, the fact that our campus is very large (446 acres of open space), and that it is seldom very crowded,” says Scott Aker, head of horticulture and education at the arboretum.
Pets are not allowed in the Visitor Center, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, or the Arbor House Gift Shop. Pets also need to be kept out of fountains, ponds, and streams in addition to the mulched garden bed areas. The museum also advises that you bring water and waste bags for your pet since the museum doesn’t provide it. The Arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Christmas Day.
Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut
The Mystic Seaport Museum was founded in 1929 and intended to preserve the maritime history of the United States. The outdoor museum resembles a New England coastal village. According to the museum’s website, Mystic Seaport features “a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities.” Visitors can check out more than 500 historic water crafts. One notable highlight? The oldest commercial ship in existence, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan.
“Dogs have such an important place in maritime history, so we are happy to allow them to enjoy our 19 acres along with their humans,” says Dan McFadden, director of communications.
Leashed pets are welcome, but may not enter buildings, ships or be left unattended. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the hours fluctuate annually.
International UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico
Even if you’re not a believer, the International UFO Museum and Research Center is a must-see attraction. The museum focuses on the story behind the July 1947 crash of an unidentified flying object in Roswell and also features alien art and a research library that dives deep into UFO history.
“Our museum is pet friendly because the majority of our attendance is from people who live out of our area. We understand travelers like to bring their pets along for the journey,” says Catherine Martinez, library associate.
The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. It closes at noon the day before these holidays.
Kit Carson Home & Museum, Taos, New Mexico
The Kit Carson Home & Museum is just a short walk from the heart of downtown Taos. Kit Carson was a renowned frontiersman and fur trapper, and the museum is dedicated to Carson’s colorful life. Visitors can see Carson’s circa-1925 home that features photos, artifacts dating back to the 19th century (like an adobe baking oven), and Carson’s U.S. Army sabre and scabbard. And yes, dogs are allowed inside with their owners.
“We love and appreciate animals and their contributions to humanity,” says Karen Douglas,
executive director of the museum. “We ask that only trained and friendly animals visit the Museum.”
The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March through October and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through February. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, Cape May, New Jersey
Housed inside historic Hangar No. 1, the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum was an active dive-bomber squadron training facility and now features more than 26 aircraft displays as well as military memorabilia, engines, photographs and interactive exhibits. Learn more about World War II history at this outdoor museum with your dog by your side.
“The openness and family friendly atmosphere make it an ideal location for all members of the family including the family pet,” says Emily Moulder, communications and events manager for the museum.
The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 1 to Columbus Day. From Columbus Day to November 30, the museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. From December 1 to March 31, the museum is open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix-based writer, editor, traveler and dog mom to Chihuahuas Autumn and Rocket.