Let me just preface this post by saying I have the best sister and brother-in-law that a girl could ever hope for. Not because of the things they do for us, but just because of who they are as people. They're the reason we're out here in Colorado and the reason we've felt as content as could be. Kalynn has quickly become best friends with her cousins Finn (age 5) and Harper (also age 3) and the three of them running around together yelling, laughing, and squealing is truly everything I thought it was going to be. They're absolutely hilarious to watch as a collective group. So when my sister called and asked if we wanted to go to the Denver Children's Museum for Finn's 5th birthday, of course we were all over it.
This time we got to spend the night.
Like, grab our sleeping bags, throw on our pajamas, bring our pillows and sleep anywhere we choose all night long.
Apparently, once a year the museum allows a group of 30 people total, parents and kids included, to make a small (!!!) donation in exchange for renting the place over night to let us have the entire building all to ourselves.
I think I may have been more excited than my own child.
My husband and I took a trip back to his hometown in up-state New York a few years ago and visited my mother-in-law at The Strong National Museum of Play where she was working (Hi Penny!), so I sort of knew what I was getting into when they say children's "museum." Because at first I was thinking how boring it would be for a kid to go check out art exhibits and statues, which in my mind was what it was like. But no, no, no. I was very wrong.
The museum was closed to the public around 5pm, the doors opened for us at 6pm. The place is huge. I was hoping we had enough time to satisfactorily play in all the places we wanted to.
First thing we checked out was the veterinary room. Complete with doctor smocks, plastic stethoscopes, clip boards, play computer, phone and desk. We learned about pet health and safety while bandaging up patients (and throwing stuffed animals across the room at each other).
We hit up the apothecary shop, the garden, the fish pond, the blacksmith store, and the play kitchen. And yes, our daughter wears a tu-tu even with her pajamas. Big whoop.
There is a market provided by Whole Foods with tiny little shopping carts and healthy play food.
There is even a check out stand which goes smoothly after the negotiating of who will be checker and who will be shopper.
There is a romp room made up as half underground ant hill and half squirrel tree house. The kids are free to dress up as any animal and rummage for giant nuts and seeds.
The pillow acorns found in the bird's nest was a favorite for our bunny and platypus.
There is a paint gallery room for creating matching masterpieces together:
There's even a room devoted to the magic of bubbles where they drop down from the sky while kids jump up and down in science smocks and safety goggles competing to be the one who pops them first. Talk about team work, these kids spent hours manipulating all kinds of soapy suds to soak themselves in and blow on each other.
You can even make a giant bubble from floor to ceiling in the bubble booth to stand inside of.
In the kinetic room you can literally play with the laws of motion. Plastic balls the size of baseballs get sucked into the walls and spit out down ramps you build yourself. Kalynn learned all about momentum, gravity and how to build and test.
Having the ability to run around a full sized fire truck in a miniature little fire hat and jacket was really fun for her as well as a great way to show community awareness. The fire station had everything it needed to show how firefighters help save the day and that they are on our side.
Waking up to coffee, pancakes and a few hours to do it all over again wasn't too bad a way to start the day.
I honestly couldn't have had a better time. The staff that stayed over night with us were so unbelievably welcoming and I don't think I've ever seen Kalynn, or her cousins for that matter, ever have a better time. If you have one of these sort of places in your area, check it out for sure. If you spend the night or not, the price is worth the experience!