Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Buckeye Children's Museum - Mansfield, Ohio

Back in June, we visited an amazing place - The Little Buckeye Children's Museum in Mansfield, Ohio.  I've been meaning to write a post about it because I wasn't able to find much in the way of information / pics before we went, and I feel like it's a hidden gem that needs to be shared.  I was absolutely blown away by the place.  Every part of it was so thoughtfully designed, so inviting, and so full of imaginative play potential.  Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos - I only had my cell and was regretting not bringing the good camera with us.  But hopefully this will help give you an idea of the size and scope of the place.

The first thing you see when you enter is this cool and fun musical instrument made of PVC pipes.  You slap the openings with pieces of foam to make various tones.

Next you come to a play area with a dinosaur dig, a cave, and an treehouse-like upper balcony.  Here you can see Bug disappearing into it.  The cave is pretty dark inside, and there are flashlights available for the kids to take inside and "discover" paintings and fossils on the cave walls.

Next begins a miniature city street with play areas for all different parts of the town.

First, the doctor's office:

And next, the Little Bank, complete with working pneumatic tube system for the drive-thru.  The kids spent a long time playing here.

Across from the bank was the Little Market.

There was also a hair salon,

A science lab,

And a veterinarian's office.  Bug enjoyed playing there for quite a bit.

Aren't these "cages" with bungee cord bars brilliant!  I want to build a smaller scale version of this for the kids' stuffed animals now.

Next we came to the incredibly awesome water play area.

And after that, I watched The Bug Show at the theater.

Looking back down the "street" towards the entrance.

Next was the library,

And finally, the farm.

And here we reached the end.  Or so we thought at first.  But wait... there's ANOTHER WHOLE FLOOR you say?!  Yes!

The first thing you come to on the second floor is a miniature play version of McDonald's.  Ok, yes it's a blatant, shrewd marketing ploy by McDonald's to have sponsored this exhibit, but the kids had SO. MUCH. FUN. playing there.  Monkey spent a loooooong time there happily being the drive-thru cashier.  I must say I was impressed with his customer service skills.

Next was the auto repair shop, complete with a real automobile front end.

While the kids played, we adults had fun attempting to remember our state capitals and label them on this interactive map.

Next was the Little Bears Cottage, a kid-scaled house with kid-scaled furnishings.

There was also an insect study lab with various live creatures in terrariums, but I didn't get a decent shot of it.  But we played there for a bit.  After that, was this super cool room filled with giant blue foam blocks.  The kids spent a long time in there building forts and knocking them down.

And finally, at the end of the second floor was Bug's favorite area of all:  The planes and trains room.  It was at this point that he told me it was the "best day of his life".  This room contains a pedal car with a cool runway painted on the floor, a nice miniature plane display, a pretend cockpit, a control tower, and two train tables.

Whew!  Some areas the kids breezed through because there was just so much to see, so there are even more areas that I've missed.  Some that are coming to mind are the construction room, the dentist chair, the schoohouse, the post office... yeah, there's just SO much.  You could easily spend hours or even an entire day playing here.  One other thing I really liked was that these signs were posted here and there.  I liked what they had to say:

Once we were finished there, we ate at the Coney Island Diner.  The food was very good - especially the milkshakes!

And finally, we rode on the Richland Carrousel for about 30 minutes straight, over and over.

All in all, a super fun day.  It was about an hour drive for us, but totally worth it and we will most definitely go back.

1 comment:

  1. HOLY MOLY. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jen! I'm going to definitely have to take the girls there. I never would've heard of this place if not for this article. Thank you, thank you!


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