I never like reviewing anything. It takes time I don't have out of my busy day. However, I'll make a exception for this place because I feel like it gets more flack than it should. I visited The Children's Museum of Cleveland a few weeks ago, with my 2 kids, during the opening of their newest exhibit "I Feel" And honestly it was better than I imagined.
Initially we went there to kill some time, and I'll admit that my expectation were low. I've seen the reviews for the place, but I couldn't find anything better to do in the area for a 3 & a 5 year old. So I decided to give it a try. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the scent of chlorine (from the water table) and a warm smile by the girl at the front desk. She made small talk we with my kids in between telling me about the museum and the programs for the day (all free!). By our surprise we got a free "I Feel" book and got it signed by the author, who was also there.
The museum itself was small, but my kids didn't seem to notice. They had so much fun going from room to room. My 3 year old loved the water table, the grocery store, the nursery and the big red barn. She always wanted to shop like mommy and here she could. They even had their own money. It was so cute! In the nursery she took care of all the babies and read them a story. I love the selection of books they had. There's even some in different languages, which was really interesting. One of the ladies that worked there told me that had a very diverse consumer group. My daughters got so excited to see that they had their favorite book, "Name Jar" by Yangsook Choi. We have it here at home and we read it every night before bed. My 5 year old pretty much has it memorize and read it to her little sister and the babies while I watched.
My 5 year old favorite part was I Feel and the I Feel program they had that day. We went through each of the scenarios in that exhibit and how to work them out. The waiting room one was really good. She hates going to the doctor. She always gets nervous sitting in the waiting room. It was helpful to go through some tips of what she can do for next time.
Both of the programs were free that day too. Apparently they were doing a test run and unfortunately we missed the first one. I couldn't pry my 3 year old from the water table so we missed the program. Which was a shame because Micheal was really interesting and my kids loved him. (He played with them for a while before he was called away)
The second program we were told that we had to sign up for because spaces were limited so we made sure we were on time. The lady that ran the program was the same lady that welcomed us, Ms. Angie. She started the program by telling us that she was feeling nervous because this was the first time she had ever did this program and I think put the kids at ease because after the story when she was asking questions all the kids were responding. There was lots of back and forth. After finding out what each child does when they feel sad she suggest that they could also paint or color a picture to express how they feel and then made her way into the art project.
My daughters are perfectionist. My 5 year old was the last one there and when my 3 year old started to get impatient she agreed to watch my older daughter while I took my younger to the barn. When I got back to check on her she was done and the two of the were just having a conversation. When I told her we were about to leave she asked if she could help her teacher clean up first. Unfortunately we had already been there half of the day, but I promised her that if she is good that we would come back when we visit Cleveland during winter break. She gave her teacher a huge hug goodbye and picked up her sister from the barn who was thankfully too tired to throw a tantrum. We got a nice goodbye from the staff and were on our way.
Its been a few weeks and my kids are still talking about it. Their pictures are proudly displayed in their rooms. My 5 year wants me to take a picture and show it to Ms. Angie when we come back because she apparently told her that she was a true artist and true artist display their work proudly. And she promised that she would.
So thank you Children's Museum! For 21 dollars well spent. A wonderful Saturday afternoon, beautiful artwork. Lots of cool stories and some helpful information. The outside may look a little rundown, but inside is where the treasures at.
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