We visited the museum on Columbus Day. Admission was $10 for adults and $5 for age 3-11. We were instructed to head to the main museum building for an introductory video. Another museum visitor had gone in just before us and started the video (the attendant said we'd already missed too much of that showing) so we milled around the entry area for about ten minutes waiting for them to finish. It seemed like we wouldn't get anything out of the museum if we skipped the video.
I would recommend skipping the video.
Only 1/3 of the film was about Drake and oil. It was narrated by a cartoon oil droplet and a cartoon natural gas droplet. The jump to natural gas wasn't really explained other than to say that PA is still drilling today for natural gas instead of oil. (My inner cynic says the museum renovations were funded by Range Resources). The movie had high production quality. It was not captioned and some of the characters spoke in funny voices that were hard to understand. Overall it came off like non-renewable resource propaganda. Oil makes Nascar possible, etc. At the beginning and the end water is sprayed without warning, not even one of those "you will get wet" signs. It was definitely geared toward young children.
After the movie, we were free to explore the museum. It is fabulous, filled with interactive displays, loads of dioramas, and hours worth of exploring if you're the type to read every sign.
Outside there's a park-like setting with fourteen buildings to visit. One is a replica of the original oil derrick. It recirculates oil to give the impression it's still pumping. There are picnic benches and a picturesque stream. We saw two deer walk through the stream which was lovely.
There are bathrooms everywhere. A big win when you're travelling with kids.
Overall the place is a worthwhile stop for both PA history and a look into where the country's oil boom began. It's gorgeous in the fall.
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