Mommy Vegas Idea #3
Discover the Discovery Museum All Over Again!
Every time I suggest we visit the Children’s Museum my son matter-of-factly objects, but suggests we visit the “NEW” Children’s Museum instead, as if the old one is still an option. There was nothing wrong with the old location, it’s just that the new one is JUST SO RIGHT. In fact, he would argue, as many others seem to – if you’ve only visited the Museum back when it was located on North Las Vegas Boulevard, you simply haven’t been to the Children’s Discovery Museum!
With its slightly new name, fancy new address in the Smith Center complex, fantastic cast of employees and volunteers, new lower entrance fee, and beautiful new building packed with charming, exciting, informative, and fun new exhibits, we’re struggling to find anything wrong with the new digs! Oh, maybe one thing – with so much to see and do, it’s no easy task squeezing it all into one visit, but there’s even a great solution to that dilemma: the annual pass options are TOTALLY worth it!
I wish I could show you in pictures, but the place is always so packed we can’t get any pictures without a few munchkins slipping in, and I’m not in the business of posting other people’s kids on the internet! 🙂 So here we go:
- The new imaginative play area has a beautiful zero-rise stage (so not even the littles will fall from stardom), complete with a kid-operated lighting and sound booth, oodles of props, costumes and plenty of seating for the audience (read: “benches so Mom and Dad can catch a breather”). The grand stage is flanked by two less-traditional stages. With just a little imagination, a spacious ship can go from HMS Discovery, to a vessel of scallywags under the Jolly Roger, to the USS Discovery all in a matter of moments. Once the ship returns to port, cue the costume change in the dressing area located on the other side of the zero-rise stage, and on to the adjacent two story Castle for the next Act.
- Haven’t had enough imaginative play? Head up to “Eco-City” and try those little hands at veterinary medicine, construction, aviation, auto mechanics, retail or commerce.
- The toddler area for kids five and under, and their siblings, is a nice place to escape when it’s crowded (we’ll have to keep this in mind when school starts and the field trips start flooding in!).
- The water works has several stations with something for everyone, including tiny rain coats! Little Bug is a HUGE fan of the scaling. She couldn’t reach the water tables at the previous location (which always spurred much frustration from her and a sore back for Mommy), but now she can happily approach much of the exhibit and interact just like the big kids – HUGE PLUS!
- You’ll also find an expanded new physics/engineering center, to build and test inventions.
- A spacious traveling gallery space.
- Extensive art center with plenty of ways to explore texture, color, light, space and more!
- A health and diet exhibit very similar to the one in the previous location with some fun new twists.
- And don’t leave without solving the mystery in “Mystery Town!” Where your kiddos can try their hand at archaeology and forensic science techniques.
So after our first few handfuls of visits, we’ve come up with a few survival tips, particularly if you have wee ones:
- Get there when they open. Some Fridays, weekends and holidays, the line can provide over an hour wait, once the museum meets capacity. So get there early, just in case.
- Plus, even when it’s not packed, the activity tower, with it’s 12 or so floors of fun exhibits and habitrail like tunnels and slides, gets so crazy it’s nearly impossible to stick together. So hit this up the second you get there, at least on your first visit.
- Check out the listing of demonstrations and activities on the digital kiosk (see below), located near the center of each floor, then plan your attack around where each session you may want to attend is located. It can be a challenge to wrangle the crew from a fun activity on the 1st floor, all the way to the third floor without much notice.
- Be prepared to get wet, messy, or both! With the great new water works and interactive art area, squeaky wet shoes and paint dipped sleeves may be unintentional souvenirs, but well worth it!
- Bring snacks or pack a lunch. Like the previous location there aren’t many places nearby to grab a bite. But don’t let that cut your trip short. If you’re desperate, your hand stamp will get you back in even after a trip down to the Premium Outlet Mall for a quick lunch.
- Consider the annual pass. Keep your receipt. After your visit, if you think you’d like to come back a few more times, stop by the front desk on your way out. If you opt to become a member, they will deduct your entry fees if you buy a membership on the day of your visit! If you have a big family, or like to bring guests, be sure to ask about the Discovery Pass. Both the Family and Discovery Memberships become cost effective after two to four visits for most families.
- HAVE FUN!