*We were given a membership to the Minnesota Children’s Museum to help us facilitate our review. All thoughts and opinions are based on our experience. They are honesty and 100% ours.
It has been as exciting and suspenseful as the reopening of the Willy Wonka Factory. The Grand Reopening of the Minnesota Children’s Museum is an event we have been looking forward to for a while. We were introduced to the museum about two years ago when my sister experienced it with her family. She was adamant that we just had to go try it out. She is rather persuasive and one hot summer day we made the two hour from trek from Albert lea to the Twin Cities. I was blown away by the hands on opportunities our kids had to touch, see, feel and explore the world around them. Not only was everything touchable, parents were given conversation tools to draw their kids critical thinking skills out even more. My kids and I both, were in heaven.
When we found out the Children’s Museum was renovating we were bummed at first. Would it be as awesome as it was and would it be worth a day trip. I have to tell you, we had absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only is it still awesome, in our experience, it is even better! As was the case before the renovation, our kids could still spend a whole day in one exhibit.
As we entered the second floor which is where the box office is located we entered a world of building, creating and imagination. All four of my kids spent hours building towers, robots and other imaginative creations. Naomi loved the make up station so much.
We made our way to the third floor where the kids climbed and slid all over The Scramble. The thing I appreciate all over the museum is the thoughtfulness to include all types of kids with all of their various abilities. Maddie and Timmy were equally able to have fun, engage in learning and walk away full of new skills. The scramble exhibit includes this thoughtfulness in this area as well. They have slides for kids as well as toddlers. There are even two sets of hand rails. A bigger set for big kids and a smaller set for smaller hands. Climbing, running and sliding…an indoor park. Awesome!
Our kids are into skateboarding and the Super Awesome Adventures gave them a creative outlet to practice. Did you know there is such a thing as Carpet Skating? Seriously, there is and you can experience it at the museum. It allowed our kids to practice their balance, provide critical problem solving skills, coordination and gave them opportunities to keep trying. Perhaps the most important lesson our kids can learn.
We finally made our way to the third floor and walked into a hands-on world of playfully experiencing the life of a mail room, fire station, restaurant and many other things our kids experience everyday. They sorted packages, leaders and followers were created as the kids worked together to get the imaginary jobs done. It was fun to sit back and see the natural leaders step up as well as see other kids fall into the rolls that flowed with their gifts, talents and passions. It encouraged me as a parent to make this a practice in my life and step back from my kids to see where they shine.
Titus and Timmy put on the rain coats provided in the Forces at Play and went to town washing, scrubbing, squeegee and playing with bubbles as they set to work in the car wash. Popping bubbles, watching water flow from one tube to another and enjoying having permission to purposefully use water to their hearts content outside of a bathtub.
I am also encouraged by the Minnesota Children’s Museums mission to inspire, retrain and teach parents, educators and those working with children how to play. Challenging our thinking and literally giving us the tools and words to help our kids process the world around them.
Is the museum worth the drive, gas money, time off work, the rush of a weekend crowd, a membership or the daily entrance fee? Absolutely, hands down it is worth it. For us it is a place we use to connect as family. A place I am able to actually play with the kids instead of just working. A place I can engage with each of the kids individually and together.
One thing you will want to know, The Scramble requires socks to be worn while playing on the exhibit. You will want to make sure you bring some with you to be able to enjoy that area of the museum. For visitor, membership and other information about the museum you can visit their link here.