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“Good idea; disappointing in maintenance & supervision by staqff”

Children's Museum of Richmond
Ranked #32 of 168 things to do in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A center for active learning, creative play and global exploration.
Level Contributor
61 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Good idea; disappointing in maintenance & supervision by staqff”
Reviewed March 22, 2014 via mobile

Today was our 1st visit to the original CMofR on Broad Street and it was disappointing. We were to a similar one in Portland Maine last summer and expected the same quality, but were disappointed. The diner had food items missing that should have been there (hot dog buns but no hot dogs); the bank had one coin; supermarket items were strewn around the museum, the apple tree return was blocked by a banana.....it just goes on. When specifically asked for help, the staff complied, but did nothing on their own to help maintain order. Upkeep and maintenance was lacking.

Visited March 2014
Thank Terry4610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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163 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Poorly maintained”
Reviewed February 25, 2014

We visited the museum about two years ago and it was ok, but after our recent visit I won't go back. The exhibits were poorly maintained. Many we're missing significant elements and there were safety issues with the treehouse exhibit. We have been to most of the other children's museums in VA and hold a membership at our local museum but Ruchmond's museum is a real disappointment!

Visited February 2014
4 Thank Atravelbug80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
62 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Experience ruined by complete lack of supervision or control of the Museum”
Reviewed February 6, 2014

Firstly, this is not a museum. It is a hybrid of a play center with a few science based activities (eg pneumatic tubes, a water play area).

You are being ripped off if multiple adults go. My wife and I were both charged an entrance fee, and unless your child is very young (ie 1-3 and needs you assistance), adults just stand around watching. I know they need to pay bills, but at $8 per adult just to watch your child who paid $8 is a bit rich.

The center needs to put a cap on the age of children. I didn't see anything in there that I thought would really appeal to anyone over the age of 5-6. However, there were numerous children older than that running wild, bullying younger children off the equipment, throwing items around and generally behaving badly.

From what I could see, there was no staff supervision of the activities, which meant your child's ability to enjoy the activity is dependent on the number and behavior of whoever else in in the Museum at the time. As a result, many of the play areas (shop, car mechanic, etc) had been stripped of their contents which were strewn around the center rendering the play areas unusable. The lack of supervision meant there was little chance of smaller (or patient well behaved) children having a turn on more popular exhibits as they were pushed away by much older children who would refuse to share. It was actually dangerous on occasion given the behavior and size disparity on activities with no supervision or method of control.

The couple of exhibits our 4 year old could actually interact with he enjoyed, but as a result of the woeful manner in which the exhibits are supervised to allow access, he gave up waiting and lost interest after about 30 minutes.

Given you are charged an entrance fee, I believe it is reasonable to expect some degree of supervision by Museum staff to ensure all children can access the activities, that the activities are not misused, and that it is a safe environment for younger children. Hoping that parents do the right thing in lieu of staff is not an acceptable substitute.

Overall, don't bother. Take you kids to the park instead.

Visited January 2014
5 Thank Paul80A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz P, Director of Parent Engagement at Children's Museum of Richmond, responded to this review, February 9, 2014
Thank you for sharing your feedback. I'm glad your child enjoyed spending time at the museum, even thought it sounds like you visited during a very busy day. Our staff strives to meet our guests expectations and your input helps us know how we are doing.

What you may not know is The Children's Museum of Richmond is one of the only children's museums in the country that does not receive federal or state government tax funding for our operations. Despite this, we strive to keep our admission price as low as possible for everyone – around the price of a movie ticket – but instead we give an interactive experience that is made even better for children if their accompanying adults play along with them. Many children's museums charge $11 or $12 per person. We are grateful for community business sponsors, individual donations and grants from local foundation, and are always open to additional support for operations.

If you find our membership pricing and admission pricing a stretch, please know that we have scholarship pricing available as well. Please contact us for more information if you are interested, and we'll be happy to assist.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, VA
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Fabulous Fun!!!”
Reviewed January 30, 2014

We live in Alexandria but make sure we make this a stop on our itinerary when traveling south. On our way down today it was all my 4yo could ask and talk about. The museum with the ambulance and the car you can build. (He was referring to the garage there that used to have a soft car with removeable tires). Stopped in today to find they had made some changes, which was nice to see a few different play stations. We especially enjoyed the water table/attraction, which is where he spent most of his time. LOVE the art room, so many ideas and stuff to make. Always find the bathrooms pretty clean and the staff friendly and helpful. The only downside is the expense. I understand they have a business to support but wondering why they charge for adults that are only there to supervise the children and not playing. Will still go back because my little one loves it. Looking forward to the opening of the new location in Fredricksburg this spring.

Visited January 2014
Thank NCBabe13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
48 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Entertained Children”
Reviewed December 31, 2013

Time and money well spent. My two younger kids enjoyed the activities much more than my young teen though my teen was able to play along. My kids spent a good amount of time in the area for a mechanic, supermarket, bank and clinic. My kids also liked the stage area and hand puppets. The stage/theater materials and curtains were well 'loved' and could stand an upgrade. I appreciated the coat rack. Tip: ask about the coat rack upon entering and don't forget hand sanitizer. I wished I brought my own water jug. They had snacks on site so bring a little extra cash.

Visited December 2013
Thank RageNButrFly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liz P, Manager at Children's Museum of Richmond, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Thanks so much for posting your feedback - and for mentioning the areas your children enjoyed. We're so glad you're kids had a good time in the mechanic area, as well as the other exhibits! Hope to see you there again soon! ~ Liz P.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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