If you haven’t visited the Strong National Museum of Play it should be a MUST on your list of “Things-to-do-before-your-child-grows-up”! My husband, two children and I recently had the privilege of spending the day in this magical place.
My daughter’s favorite place in the entire museum is the Wegman’s grocery store. Now this is not just ANY grocery store, this one was made especially for kids. Miniature grocery carts, carrying baskets and food that looks so real you can almost taste it. Actual Produce, Meat, Deli and Bakery departments. (oh the joy this would have brought me as a little girl). When your child is done shopping they bring their items to a real checkout line complete with bar code scanner and cash registers that print real Wegman’s receipts. Too fun.
Can your child tell you how to get to Sesame Street? Ours can now. Our son “drove” Elmo and his friends in a bright yellow taxi as our daughter sold hotdogs from a stand on Sesame Street. Then the kids sold us tickets at the cinema ticket booth and we all entered the movie theatre to watch all of our favorite Sesame Street friends on the big screen. My favorite part was seeing the kids faces when they saw themselves on TV with the Muppets.
All Aboard! What kid doesn’t love a good train ride? Well, if your kids love them as much as mine they can hop on the Strong Express Train at All Aboard Station.
The museum currently has an exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head. My daughter spent half of our time in this area making over Mrs. Potato Head while my son played on the slide, in the rock pit and with the space ship. He was in his glory pushing all the W.H.A.T Controls. For those of you that don’t speak space ship talk that stands for Way Handy Atmospheric Testing. All those buttons, pipes, wrenches and gadgets were a little boys dream. If your little one likes Mr. Potato Head hurry because this exhibit ends in May 2009.
We did get to enjoy 20 minutes of peace and tranquility during our visit. (No we did not go sit in the car for 20 minutes) we took a walk through the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. 800 of the most gorgeous, colorful butterflies you have ever seen dancing around our heads. The garden is also home to a family of turtles and a chubby tortoise named Ruby. My husband and I were envious of the staff that gets to spend their days in this calming environment. We joked with them about rushing to spend their coffee breaks in there.
Oh, the Post Office and the Radio Station. Again, made especially for children. I think our kids could have spent hours in each of these areas alone. Not only did they get to stamp, sort and deliver mail-they did it while dressed up like a real mail delivery person-mail bag and all. And the radio station was very cool. We laughed while they made announcements on air and learned how they made noises like thunder come across the speakers in the “olden days”.
Did I mention there are books, dress up clothes and art projects around every corner? All of which encourage our children to use their imaginations. I would much rather spend money on an outing like this than a silly video game-wouldn’t you?
At the end of the day we finished it off with a fun ride on the beautiful merry go round. We left feeling both exhausted and elated-what a memorable family date! On our way home my husband commented that he was impressed by the kindness and compassion the staff showed each child at the museum-I couldn’t agree more.