Thursday, February 13, 2014

Salt Lake City Children's Museum

For our family ski trip we hauled the kids to Utah. Of course, a four year old and a two year old are not going to spend a day on the slopes with us. Nor did we want to drop them in daycare for an undisclosed amount of time while we got our turns in. My husband and I don't have the stamina for downhill skiing we once had and we prefer to keep everyone happy about these "family" vacations. So we blended the activities each day. Children's Museum for the kids in the morning, skiing for a parent in the afternoon. Coloring the snow with food coloring in the sunny morning, skiing for the other parent in the afternoon. It all worked out wonderfully.

The Salt Lake City Discovery Gateway Children's Museum is located on "the mall" right down town. Overall, I wasn't impressed. I probably wouldn't get a membership if I lived in SLC. However, there were some mechanically cool things to discover and our children were entertained for a couple hours.

Good Highlights:
- Before even paying the entrance fee there are some cool contraptions for your preschool engineer to take delight in. Pictured above, a wheel that is easily turned by a preschooler propels a huge machine of belts and gears.
- The ball room is filled with a crank-operated conveyor belt that lifts balls up and drops them into a tube to roll around and down.
- A construction zone with a child-sized crane and soft blocks (~10" cubes, cuboids, and triangular prisms) kept everyone occupied for a while. Lifting blocks, building with them, sending them down a tunnel slide...all good gross motor and planning work.
- A "sand" box filled with plastic/rubber for scooping and dumping.
- A Magnetic Board with pipes for building giant marble run machines...keep your eyes peeled for this one. It hides in plain sight on the second floor.

Frustrating Things:
- There were cool building materials (blocks here, magnet tiles there) but they were on tables too tall.
- There were no "baby zones" for the littles to stay safe while older siblings were working.
- The water table was nice to look at but not easy to play in.
- If you need a snack you have to go all the way back to the exit to eat.

So if you go, I would aim for the ball room (called "The Garden") and the construction crane area (called "Kids Eye View"). And if your child is interested in something then let them exhaust that interest because there might not be anything else that will amuse them. (This was our case.)

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