When I received an email from the digital marketing content coordinator for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis this month, I was so excited! I was invited to attend a Blogger’s Preview of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ brand new Playscape exhibit, which has been redesigned and re-imagined. It’s been about a year since the exhibit closed and my family has visited the Children’s Museum’s temporary playscape area on our visits. So, we were stoked we got this special invite, especially after I read an IndyStar article telling me a little of what to expect on our visit and a layout of the new exhibit. The brand new playscape opened to the public on Saturday, August 31, 2013! It is open now for families with children five and younger.
We arrived an hour early (because I wrote the time wrong on the calendar) so we checked out the library in the Children’s Museum, and then when it was actually time for the party to start, our girls were the first ones in!
Let there be Light!
The first thing you’ll notice about this exhibit is the big windows surrounding the room! I am a huge fan of natural sunlight. Even though I live in an apartment and my patio doors looks directly onto another building, we still open our blinds every day. The windows and light make the playscape even more inviting! And there’s huge trees right outside the windows. Plus, all the walls are super cute and colorful with fun decals and paintings.
The second things you’ll notice is the main water feature play area. Like the original playscape, there is a fun water feature to play with. But, this one is much improved upon. First, there are three different sizes of smocks available. Second, the water feature is lower, so it’s easier for younger tots to play in it as well. And then there’s the awesome waterfall pouring into it, a cloud that rains too! But, a word of caution – have your children walk around “The Creek.” Lisa fell like twice (but she is a bit klutzy).
Mothers’ Room and Family Restrooms
If you are a nursing mother, you’ll love the new mothers’ room area of the brand new playscape! There are three separate, private nursing rooms that feature comfortable gliding chairs with ottomans, a TV playing Sesame Street, books, and toys. Since most nursing mothers visiting the museum will have older children as well, it is awesome that there is a place you can safely, and happily entertain your children while the little one gets fed. Also in the mothers’ room area is a sink and a changing table. But, if you are not a nursing mom, you are still in for a great new feature of the playscape – two family bathrooms IN the playscape! The old restrooms are still outside, but inside are family bathrooms, with their low, kid-friendly sinks and toilets. No more dragging a kid far away from the action so they don’t have an accident. Also, sandwiched between the family restrooms is a changing table. You’ll no longer have to take all the kids with you for that quick diaper change. Wins all around for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ brand new playscape in the potty department!
The Climber/ The Pond
By far the coolest new addition to the playscape is the climber! It’s an awesome web of lily pads that safely lets kids climb higher and higher, up to two different boats sitting at the very top. I don’t know many kids under 5 that don’t like to climb, so this is sure to be a big hit. The major downfall I can see however is a kid not wanting to come down. I fear the day that Alison will tell me “No” when it time to leave and run up some lily pads, where I won’t be able to convince her to come down from. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. They have signs saying an employee can help you get your child down (if they get scared or stuck). They can also put on cool animal vests and pretend to be animals leaping from lily pad to lily pad.
The Sandbox is back and better! Hiding in the two large, long sandboxes are “buried treasures” or ceramic tiles. There is also the rotating turntables, and all sorts of sand tools. Classic kid experiences are to be had here.
My daughters love to draw, color, and paint (and so do I!) so it’s pretty sweet they have an art studio! With the beautiful natural light streaming in the large exterior windows, this corner of the playscape is artistically inspiring. There are lots of natural inspirations and artwork surrounding the tables. Black colored pencils and even charcoal pencils (I would totally use the charcoal) are available tools. And each day they are two guided art programs.
This was my husband’s favorite part of the new playscape exhibit. As someone who used to be a drummer in a band, and a percussionist in high school, as well as just a music lover in general, he kept trying to lure our kids to play some more in the music studio. The Music Studio is in its own little room and its packed full of percussion instruments – slit drum, HAPI Drum, glockenspiel, metallophone, xylophone, amadinda, maracas, frog rasps, wrist bells, and clatterpillars. There are two guided programs each day where the instruments are used to help bring a story to life.
The old babyscape I never had the chance to use very much. But, the new one combines the old babyscape with the “2 and younger” area that used to be in the old playscape, which, I think, is pretty smart. The baby play area, is a padded cell called “The Nest” with lots of soft and colorful and fun toys and books for them to grab and play with. My five month old enjoyed lying in it. He had the whole thing to himself for a while! But, outside of The Nest area is a larger area perfect for the two and younger crowd called The Treehouse, which features fluttering butterflies, light switches to make the fireflies light up, a log to crawl through, stacking flower petals, and more. The whole babyscape area is still behind heavy latched doors so those bigger kids won’t run those wobbly toddlers over.
Reaction Contraption and Blockopolis
The Reaction Contraption is like the fun, loud, machine with the balls in the Science Works area of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, only more interactive with dozens of balls to put into different parts. This means more kids can play with it at once. There’s also a Roll ‘n Race area where kids can build their own configurations of race tracks and roll balls down ramps. My kids enjoyed both of these activities quite a bit. They can also build with an assortment of blocks, with cool block structures on display for some inspiration.
Whirly Twirly Tower
This circular room lets your kids feel the force of moving air in a whirlwind motion. Two round openings let a goggle-clad child into the room, where they can try to get scarves and ribbons to spiral above them. It seemed a bit difficult for our girls to understand what to do in the room, but some other children loved this, and were successful at making things fly around.
I am overall very impressed with the new playscape exhibit. There are some things that are not in the exhibit that were there before. One of those being the pretend playhouse/doll house. Another being a slide or the giant yellow plow.
Tips for Attending the New Playscape Exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
- You can avoid waiting in line by asking the Playscape Greeter about a “QuickTick” which allows you to come back later and skip the line!
- Preschool groups visit the playscape on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Avoid these times if you are looking for a quieter experience.
- NO food or drink allowed inside of Playscape due to food allergies.
- Download the Playscape App (itunes store and Android market for phone and tablets).
- Place any dirty toys in the bins throughout the exhibit. Museum staff check the bins throughout the day and sanitize the toys before putting them back out in the gallery.
Attending the Museum
The Museum is open from 10am – 5pm every day but Mondays (starting after Labor Day). Youth admission (2-17) is $13.50, Adults $18.50, and Seniors (60+) are $17.50. Kids under 2 are always FREE! (Perfect for many playscape-goers). However, on the first Thursday of every month is the Target Free Night from 4-8PM, where admission is FREE for all. A membership is also a great deal. Also, if you or your family members participate in certain state assistance programs, you may qualify for the Access Program, which would allow your family members to get in for $1 each.
Or, you can try to win TWO free tickets to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis by entering my giveaway! I want you to be able to check out their brand new playscape for yourself. The giveaway will run from Tuesday, September 3, 2013 to midnight September 9, 2013. Winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. Good luck! And have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
- No Cash Value (but good for any two people’s museum admission costs)
- No Refunds or exchanges. Resale prohibited.
- Must be used before August 31, 2014
- Ticket is nontransferable.
- Lost or misplaced certificates cannot be replaced.
Disclaimer: I was given these tickets by the Public Relations Department on the night of my visit so that I could give them away to one of you! I also received a gift bag of some toys from the Children’s Museum Gift Store, a complimentary dinner, and free admittance to the exhibit last Thursday. HUGE thank you to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for this fun opportunity to check out their new playscape exhibit and to host this giveaway.
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