Sunday, May 31, 2009

Children's Museum of Phoenix

I'm back. I had a horribly busy week at work. It was almost like working at a big law firm again, meaning I was working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, taking a break for dinner, then working again until midnight or later, sleeping a few hours, and getting up to do it all over again. My kids saw me for two hours a day. Good thing my husband is on his summer break from teaching so he could entertain them. So I apologize for the total lack of posts for over a week. Perhaps while I'm on vacation in a couple of weeks I'll try to write some "extra" posts that I can use when I'm too busy to sit down and write.

I still don't have time to write much today, as I have all the law office administrative things to tend to this week -- monthly billing, updating the trust account records, and so forth -- plus I need and want to spend some time with the family to make up for my almost total absence last week.

But I did want to share with you these photos I took at the Children's Museum of Phoenix recently. The museum is relatively new (founded in 1998), and just this year it moved into a beautiful old, restored former school building (the Monroe elementary school, originally built in 1913) in the Phoenix downtown area. I hadn't been there before. My kids and I went with my friend and her kids. We had a blast.

The museum itself is more play-space than art exhibit oriented, although there is art throughout, as well. There are three levels to the museum, and the entry / lobby area has huge vaulted ceilings and is very spacious, light, and airy. There is a huge play tent-and-tunnel feature for the little kids, plus some funky foot-powered segway-style moving machines and little carts for the kids to ride.

Here is a photo of the art that hangs in the main entry lobby, made from used CDs. They were so pretty, shimmering in the light. The photo doesn't really capture it. (Perhaps I should have had my daughter take the photos....)

Here is a close-up:

Also in the main entry area, they had a tangled tubular thing that blew air, into which kids could put brightly colored scarves. The scarves would blow all around through the tangle of tubes and come out through one of the tubes at the top; the kids would try to guess where the scarves would emerge, and try to catch them as they fluttered down. They loved it. The parents loved it, too. Here's a photo of the scarves coming out of one of the tubes:

Upstairs, they had a "restaurant" where the kids could use play food and a play kitchen to make and serve food for their parents. (I liked this role-reversal... perhaps I'll have to try this at home). Hanging from the ceiling was a huge sculpture made of bent flatware. I wonder if the sculpture was made at the spoonbenders convention?

Here is a close-up of part of it.

Funny. I suddenly have the urge to go open my flatware drawer and play with my forks...

There were other fun, interactive things at the museum. An 8 foot high racetrack / ramp for foot-long go-cart looking race cars. A pretend grocery store where the kids could play cashier, shopper, shelf-stocker, manager, whatever.... An ice cream stand... A trike-racing track... An entire room set up with wooden balls rolling down ramps and tracks, hitting various wooden and metal objects along the way to make pretty sounds; the overall effect was very musical, and it was great fun to drop the balls onto the various tracks and watch them go.

And they had some other art, too, such as these tie-dye tapestries, with origami bird-mobiles hanging in front of them:

We were there for only about an hour, so we didn't get to see everything. The kids have been asking to go back, and we will sometime soon.

There's not a lot that would interest kids much older than 8 or 10 (the Science Museum across the street would be more exciting for the older crowd), but the younger ones had a blast, and my 10 year old could have happily spent hours rolling balls down the musical ramps and putting scarves in the air-blowing tubes; she was sad when it was time to go. And there were benches and chairs throughout for the parents to sit on while their kids romped and played. If you're in Phoenix and want to do something fun for a couple of hours in air-conditioned comfort with kids from age 1 to 10 - or if you're really into spoonbending - I'd recommend this museum.



Mr. Condescending said...

Nice pics! I live near the strong museum of play in rochester ny, they have a full size replica of sesame street, and a miniature sized grocery store that kids can even cash themselves out at. I believe its the childrens museum in the US.

Don't work too hard heh ;]

SkylersDad said...

That is very neat, we have a childrens museum here in the denver area also, it has a lot of hands on activities for the little ones.

Vodka Mom said...


That's it. I am coming over right now.

dresdendoll said...

That looks awesome!

Gaston Studio said...

That curtain of CDs is just fabulous!! Wonderful children's museum you have there.

Fancy Schmancy said...

That looks awesome. Out little tiny children's museum in town doesn't have much more than a pretend pirate ship and a Lego room.

Johnny Yen said...

Very cool-looking museum! Hope you can get out from under all the work and relax a little.

Bella said...

just dropping in to see how you were doing! busy, I see! I wished we had a children's music in this town, but it's gone, guess there wasn't money for its upkeep.

Jan @ Struck by Serendipity said...

Very cool pics!

Sorry to hear you're working so much. Hopefully you'll get some time to relax soon.