Follow along as three families (just like you!) discover Playscape together. The Playscape 5—Torrence, Myles and Ella, and Gage and Paul—will share their experiences as they learn and grow in the gallery...and at home! See Playscape through the eyes of Gage (age 3) and Paul (age 18 mos.) in this post from mom, Emily. And continue to follow their journey online, on the blog, or by searching the #Playscape5 hashtag!
Gage, Paul, and I have been avid Playscape visitors since the museum reopened the exhibit after an extensive update and modernization nearly six months ago. Our routine is typically to visit weekly, usually on Tuesday mornings, when the crowds seem to be a bit thinner than on the weekends.
Since we love the exhibit so much, we're always talking it up to our friends, urging them to come join us for an on-location play date. I frequently get asked questions about what the exhibit is like, so I thought it might be high time to put together a little off-the-cuff "good things to know" list about visiting Playscape for the first time.
- Calling all helpers! Yes, Playscape is designed for children five years old and under, but older children are allowed in as "helpers" if accompanying a sibling or friend. Want to know more? I've written a whole post about bringing my two older children with me!
- Potty training? No problem! It's true, you're not going to have to run out of the exhibit the minute you hear "mom I have to go potty RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND." Playscape has awesome bathrooms designed for little trainers and big kids alike.
- You might get wet, and that's part of the fun! The Creek (complete with waterfall and a rain shower) is a favorite spot for my boys. Grab a water-proof smock or prepare to get splashed. Thankfully, if a few drops land on your clothes, there are a few powerful blow dryers to help with the clean-up.
- Natural light. Glorious natural light. The East wall to the exhibit is almost floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for beautiful natural light to shine in. My boys press their little faces right up to the glass and watch cars zoom by on Meridian Street below. It's so fascinating!
- Consider planning your visit around a daily (free) program. Playscape is always open to come and go as you please, but sometimes they do super-fun guided exploration activities (like music or art) with a museum staff member at specific times of the day.
- One way in, and one way out. As a parent of multiple small children, I admittedly have a hard time keeping track of what direction everyone is headed. It sometimes feels like I'm unsuccessfully trying to herd cats. One of the best design features of Playscape is that there is only one way in, and one way out. This gives me piece of mind that my little escape artists are staying in the exhibit, even if I've lost momentary sight of them.
- Top o'mast! If your kid gets stuck at the top of that sailboat in the Climber and becomes too scared to come down (yeah, it's happened to us)? You can ask a very bendy, much more flexible staff member to help retrieve them!
- Teamwork makes the dream work. Playscape is undoubtedly a top destination when visiting the museum, so it's always a whirlwind of activity, packed with little kids. I prep my boys each time before we go in, reminding them that it's more fun to share and play with other kids than to hog the toys to themselves. It works, kinda.
- Snacks can wait. As a parent, one thing I really appreciate is that Playscape is a food-free zone. This "rule" keeps Playscape clean and provides a safe environment for children with food allergies.
- Just do it! I cannot express enough just what an absolute gem Playscape is for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Each and every time we go, we learn something new and create another lasting memory. Go in with little expectation, and let your imagination lead the way. No visit will ever be the same!
So there you have it—my top pieces of Playscape advice. So what are you waiting for? Will we see you there?