By Wendy Mihm | February 6, 2011
A few months ago, we visited the Pacific Asia Museum right here in Pasadena, mostly because my in-laws were in town and they were interested in seeing it. It turned out to be a great afternoon that our kids enjoyed as well – they had a children’s section with costumes to dress up in, toys to play with and a whole interactive area where we learned all about the spice trade route through Asia, which was fun for both really young kids and adults alike.
Then, during our visit to Seattle last August, we visited the Seattle Art Museum, which also had a special children’s section, full of toys and games for very young children and toddlers.
Finally, during our visit back to Michigan (where I am from) for Christmas, we went to the Cranbrook Institute of Science and, wouldn’t you know it, there was a special place just for toddlers there too.
I tell you this not to establish that our family is extremely cultured. We are total philistines, I assure you. My point is that none of these places really highlighted their toddler/young children play spaces on their websites or their literature as the key reason you would go there. Yet all of them were great places for families with young children to enjoy a somewhat brainy, affordable, fun visit together, and all of their play spaces were worthy of a repeat visit, in my book.
In addition to being interesting and fun on multiple levels, each one of these places all offered discount memberships. So if you live in the vicinity of, say, a real art museum, science center or other cultural or learning facility, I suggest you to go check it out. It may have a place for your toddler and/or your very young child to hang out too. That way, you can enjoy the art or the science or whatever the place offers, then unleash your kids in the play space to burn off some energy, so you all win.
Many of these places even have cafes. Bonus!
Then if you decide you like it, you can purchase a membership there. And be sure to find out if your day’s admission can apply to the membership cost – many museums and science centers will offer deals like that, and it never hurts to ask.
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