Against my better judgement I decided to bring my two little ones to the Providence Children's Museum on what was supposed to be a miserable rainy saturday, in the middle of the afternoon. Suprisingly the museum wasn't that bad at all, mind you I've worked at the local children's museum and have expirienced rainy summer saturdays ... the kind of busy where you'll need a helmet, mouth gaurd and a steady supply of excenderin migraine on hand.
Admission was $8.50 per person (babies under 1 year are free and of course Mya's birthday was 3 days before the visit), and in my opinion if you spend your entire day there and enjoy the 2 floors of exhibits and activities its worth the trip. Parking in their lot is free, but if its full you'll have to resort to the meters on the side streets. They allow you to bring in snacks and such (which is always a bonus with little ones, I know thats one of the thing that's kind of annoying about the local one), however they do not have any cafes or food service like the one in Boston, but there are several options around the block.
The first floor has the "Water Works" which was my kids favorite area to play it, and it has two giant water "tables" that kids can experiment with the cause and effect of whirlpools, build drainage systems and participate in other experiments. There's also Power Play which encourages kids in 'free play' which includes air tubes, musical pipes,funhouse mirrors, giant lite brite and other super cool exhibits.
The 2nd floor houses a construction play zone with a workable crane for kids to operate, the "Coming to Rhode Island" exhibit tells the story of the immigrants who helped build the state, this exhibit has a ship that kids can 'steer' raise and lower the flag, and go between the upper and lower decks. There is also a really cool multi cultural grocery market that has a diner inside. 'Little Woods' was a great place for princess, I felt bad that she was stuck in her carriage for fear of her being stomped on, this area is gated off, and is made specifically for kids five and under, so she got to climb around and do her own thing.
The Children's Garden is opening this friday June 11th, and features an outdoor climber, similar to the one in the entrance at the Boston Children's Museum, and 'Underland' and outdoor exhibit that features creatures burrows and tunnels.
In my opinion it's 1,000 times better than the local one, besides the fact that its bigger, in my opinion its much cleaner, offers more things for kids to do and is more parent friendly. It's a little pricey and far away for me to consider purchasing a membership ($125 for 4 people plus the 1 1/2 hour drive), however if you purchase a Association of Children's Museums Membership it provides free admission to a minimum of 4 family members of the same house hold to 165 reciprocal museums including: The Cape Cod Children's Museum, Boston Children's Museum, Children's Museum in Easton, The Discovery Museums in Acton, and The Providence Children's Museum. That to me is a fantastic deal, as soon as I can scrape together a spare $125. Website: http://www.childrensmuseums.org/visit/reciprocal.htm#MA
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