August 24, 2012 by Carin
This week Adventure Friday takes us to the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, MN. We decided on a whim Sunday morning to make a trip to the museum because Grace has been talking about the museum all summer. As we drive around town there are advertisements for the Curious George exhibit on the side of buses and the local PBS station has been showing commercials for the exhibit showcasing one of their most beloved cartoon characters. So with nothing on our schedule we ate a homemade pancake breakfast to fuel our curiosities and headed to St. Paul.
What we didn’t realize was that it was Target Free 3rd Sunday making admission free, but also making the museum very busy. So if you are planning a trip to the museum, be aware of your date. While the free admission was nice, it became crowded very fast and we left early to avoid fighting the crowds to see all the exhibits. We will probably make a return visit this winter to (on a non-free day) to enjoy all the museum has to offer.
Our first stop was the Curious George exhibit on the top floor and the main reason we were visiting the museum. The kids loved it. While it was crowded and there were lots of kids bouncing around from station to station, they were patient to wait their turn. The exhibit had a conveyor belt that the kids loaded their own blocks on, a farm station to learn about the effects of wind, a space ship with a slide, a replica of the apartment building George and the Man with the Yellow Hat live in that contains doors to identify all of their animal friends, a grocery store, and last but not least a replica George for picture taking.
My one complaint about this exhibit and others like it is that each station is really made for one or two child to experience at a time. White this does teach patience in the children, it can take away from the experience for enjoying the exhibit. I feel like I need to rush my kids through the stations to make sure the next child has a chance to experience the station before someone melts down. This experience might be different on a non-free day where there are less children and more room to move around.
After George, we headed to the rooftop Art Park and then Earth World. Earth World is pretty cool with is giant ant tunnel that is large enough for the kids to crawl around in explore ants on a giant scale. The exhibit also has other native Minnesota animals and habitats to explore. After Earth World we visited the exhibit Our World. Our World is child size scale of the city that surrounds them. The exhibit has a city bus, post office, restaurant, doctors clinic, grocery store and more all sized for children to get a feel for what adults do in those environments. A very fun pretend city!
The museum does have a few more permanent exhibits that we chose to skip. Lunch time was nearing and the museum was filling up with kids and their families. We enjoyed our free time at the museum and will be making more visits in the future. The kids got some good stimulation and wore themselves out exploring through sight, sound and touch. There is a lot more for us to do on another visit and we can look forward to the colder months ahead knowing we have a fun museum to visit.
What or Where are you exploring this weekend? What adventures are you itching to complete before summer comes to a close?