I keep a calendar!
So, it should come as no surprise that my family and I had a list of activities for us to take advantage of while we were in Austin, TX.
At the top of that list was a visit to the new children's museum, The Thinkery.
My friend Lorey takes her daughter there and raves about it, which is enough for me to want to take my kids, but, an offer to visit for FREE (donations gratefully accepted) made it a must-do. Who doesn't like to sample something before spending money on it?!?
The Thinkery hosts what they call Community Nights on Wednesdays from 5-8pm where they open their doors to anyone and everyone for a small, what-you-can-afford donation. Our party of 4 gave $20 and boy, was it worth it!
First off, there is a plethora of parking once you arrive, including a parking garage that's FREE!
Second, there is a super fun, fenced-in, delightfully shaded, clean playground that sits against a lake across the street! With bathrooms that are as fancy as anything you'd find in an upscale hotel. Also, a water fountain.
We were in-love before we ever stepped inside!
What I loved most about The Thinkery is the variety of exhibits that appealed to both my 3 year old and 8 year old. At times, we visit places that are "too old" for the 3 year old or are "boring" to my 8 year old. What a great surprise to observe both kids rush to and from the exhibits with eager eyes and joyful smiles.
It was easy to move across the first floor from the entry way where the kids played with the train table and used the restrooms - twice - to the gears & gadgets room, where they could build, tinker, use magnets, paint on a wall, learn about and create circuits.
The Light room was simply amazing. The kids loved moving all the pegs around, playing with Magnatiles over a lit table, making shadow puppets and touching the color-changing wall.
The Water room was the most fun for them because music is incorporated into the exhibit. Water drips down on copper bowls, plastic domes, and drums. You can play this neat, water piano, too! Water fills up buckets that get full and tip over, splashing everyone. You can turn cranks that make the water flow at varying speeds that will turn the huge wheel. They have bibs for all the kids as well as Crocs to keep them mostly dry. Oh! And there are dryers to dry yourself off as you exit. Super cool!
Upstairs, there is a play Cafe with tons of play food and kitchen areas as well as a chicken coop! Nolan loved filling a basket with eggs, walking around to the coop, climbing into it, and dumping the eggs back into the nest.
There's also what I call a tumble room with mats and soft climbing shapes where you take your shoes off and just jump around!
There's a huge outdoor playground and little play stream you can "fish" in but we had had our fill of being hot so we skipped it. We didn't visit the cafe nor the "under 3yrs" play area (it's amazing!!!) and I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton of amazingly awesome features (including the little store we didn't visit!) but this place is huge and so fun, it's hard to cover it all. Even in two visits.
We can't wait to visit next year!