I went with my daughter’s class to the MS Children’s Museum last week, and let me tell you: it was fun! From the floor
of the entrance, which is illuminated with a rainbow of colored lights, to the ceiling, and everything in between (including benches that light up as you sit on them), the architecture is fun and engaging and colorful. When you enter the exhibits, it only gets better. Here are a few highlights:
- The water tower and “fishing” hole: Kids can try to catch catfish in the “creek.” They loved this, and and the weight of the catfish makes them feel more “real” when children manage to “hook” the magnetic fish.
- The Gastro Climber: The kids really enjoyed climbing through the digestive system and hearing the noises it made while it was on the inside. I was a little surprised as I watched the little girls (my daughter included) climb through again and again. For me, it was just a little much, but I’ll explain that a bit later.
- The Explore Mississippi Area: This was one of the kids favorites, and it is the largest part of the museum and includes different type buildings (like the Old Capitol and a log cabin) for kids to climb through and play in, as well as an “underground” area, which they loved.
- Large Scrabble Board on the floor: this was a part of the museum I would have enjoyed playing in myself if I hadn’t been trying to keep up with kids, which led some of us moms to remark that the museum might just be a fun place to have a date night (or day) sometime.
- The Art Area (no, that’s not its real name): A wonderful addition that could be easily overlooked. Kids can create different types of art, including paintball art! They loved this, and I thought that the workers in the room were the most helpful in the whole museum.
- Reading Between the Lions Library: We didn’t spend much time here, but the kids loved seeing something they recognized from TV then getting to walk into the world of it.
- Restrooms (and family restrooms) conveniently located throughout most of the museum, making emergency dashes to the potty much more manageable.
I’ll stop there, but I can tell you: I haven’t even scratched the surface because we could have spent hours more exploring the museum, and the kids would have been thrilled to do so. Some of the moms, however, were getting a bit weary and ready to go, which leads me to a few (very few) things I didn’t particularly like about the museum:
- While it is clear that the safety of children has been considered in almost every aspect of the design and implementation of the exhibits, in my opinion, one enormous area is left severely lacking. SECURITY. There didn’t seem to be any way of ensuring that children left with the people who brought them in. The consensus among the moms I talked with was that this needs to be addressed. Especially considering….
- The Explore Mississippi exhibit is a nightmare when it comes to keeping up with your child. It’s very fun and full of things to do and learn, but unless you crawl through every inch of it with them, kids can (and probably will) get away from you. You see, they can enter on one side of the museum and emerge on the other side on an entirely different level. And they can do it quickly. In about 10 different places. Now, believe me, I’m the kind of mom who’s going to go in there with my kids, but….
- I couldn’t get my baby’s stroller into that area. Stairs, stairs and more stairs. The only option seemed to be a special elevator equipped for wheelchairs, but it was locked. Now, I admit I might have just missed it, but it wasn’t for lack of looking….which is hard to do while you’re trying to keep track of your child. This area made most of my time at the children’s museum very stressful, and combined with the security issue mentioned above led a few moms I know mention they plan to write letters to the museum voicing their concerns. I’ll be joining them.
- Which leads me to the fact that if there was a way to get the stroller into that area, there was no one to show me how to do it. Customer service at the museum was a little lacking…with the exception of the volunteers working in the art room. They were wonderful!
- And, finally, the slide at the end of the Gastro Climber. That’s all I’m saying.
Overall, however, the museum is wonderful, and we’ll be visiting again (and again), I’m sure. It’s much larger than Lynn Meadows and a bit more “flashy,” but both are treasures for children in our state.
Oh, and if you’re planning to visit soon, this weekend might be a wonderful time to do so. Dr. Seuss’ Silly Birthday Celebration is this Saturday from 10 until 2. To learn more, visit the museum’s web site: www.mississippichildrensmuseum.com!
Now for a few photos: