It’s a fun age. This park-playing, trail-traipsing, museum-meandering age.
Last week, A. (my 2 year old) and I took a trip with his aunt and cousins down to the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum in Norwalk, CT. I had visited last year, and we enjoyed Tot Town quite a bit. So I was excited to go again because they change their exhibits regularly!
This time, they had a Making Waves exhibit (from the Blue Man Group) a tad advanced for my son, but he still enjoyed banging on PVC piping to make notes, and listening to himself talk into tubes.
A favorite part of the trip was the permanent Energy Lab exhibit, where the main feature is the Water Lab. Kids don raincoats and get to push, pump, turn, and direct water at various stations. My son enjoyed filling up vessels of water and pouring them through funnels (hmm, an at-home activity we can duplicate I am sure!). Sending the colorful balls up the air chute was also fun, while his older cousin pumped water into a tube to “pop” the balls out the top!
I loved watching him in his little lab coat “experimenting” – reminding me so much of his daddy!
We also spent a significant time in the Build It section. With a two-story partially finished structure, and lots of hands on props, kids pretended to finish walls, paint with brushes and rollers, haul materials and more! A. preferred the ground level, dumping rocks in and out of the dump truck! But I did get him to sport a hard hat for a minute!
It was a gorgeous day, so we ate a packed lunch (the museum cafe has great food choices, but pricey!) outside in the Celebration Courtyard. There’s a huge awning to shade kids from sun (or rain), and a soft pebble-flex flooring that ensures safety when tumbling. The kids loved the blue foam blocks (designed by New York architect David Rockwell) to stack, build, and climb around on; arches, noodles and connectors let them build all sorts of structures, and encouraged kids from different groups to play together.
I found the museum store to be one of the best stores of this kind I have seen. They carry high quality, name brand, educational toys from Melissa & Doug, Alex Toys and more. With a wide variety of items for all age levels, and NOT over-priced, I felt like I was in a great toy store, not a “gift shop.”
My one disappointment is the admission price is super high. $15 each – adults AND children alike. I feel a children’s museum should NOT charge caregivers/adults so much when we really don’t use the exhibits. And $15 for kids to play and learn? Wow. I am lucky we used our reciprocal museum membership from the Lutz Museum to get in for free!
Even though it’s a long drive for us, I hope to get back down to Stepping Stones again this summer! After all, hubby has to see this place too!
Do you have a favorite museum to visit in your area?