Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, the Glazer Children’s Museum is an exciting new world of adventure and learning just waiting to be explored.
The museum first opened its doors on September 15, when more than 60 families lined up to enter the two-story, kid-sized city. There are over 177 hands-on attractions to entertain them, from playing in the waters of the Kid’s Port to driving a fire truck through the streets of Tampa.
Six weeks later on October 30, I was able to visit the children’s museum accompanied by Olivia 3, Danielle 11, and Joel 17. As we first entered the museum, none of us really knew what to expect, but to our surprise we were thoroughly impressed with the first-floor Kid’s Port. It was an entire floor filled with water-related activities.
Olivia immediately walked over to the water-turning station, where she was able to play with water and also learn how water power works. Danielle, older than her sister, found interest in some of the computer games in which she was learning about the Port of Tampa.
The museum’s slogan, “It’ll grow your mind,” perfectly describes the concept behind this children’s museum. Not only does this slogan pertain to the intuitive design and aesthetically pleasing environment, but at each of the 177 activities features some type of learning activity.
Joel, who was watching over Olivia and Danielle, said, “I think the museum’s attractions and activities are effective because they teach the kids without their even realizing it.”
One of the main attractions at the museum, Water’s Journey, does just that. You can’t miss it, as it is a suspended maze hanging down from the second floor all the way to the middle of the first floor. Water’s Journey invites children to pretend they are drops of water, as they climb down the color-changing panels of green (leaves), brown (earth), and blue (aquifer).
When asked what they were doing, Olivia, the three-year-old responded, “Being a drop of water!” Danielle, understanding the full concept of the activity, said, “We are water and we fall on the leaves, which go to the earth, and then back to water.”
Even though the age difference between Danielle and Olivia dramatically differs, both not only were able to have fun – and asked to go on the activity again, but also were able to learn something about the water cycle and its value to Earth.
The museum is fun and exciting, but more importantly, it is also safe, clean and “green.” The building designers were able to make the children’s museum eco-friendly reflect what they are teaching the children inside. Even the sign on the outside contains energy-efficient LED lighting, which allows the museum to be environmentally friendly as well as aesthetically pleasing to the public.
As we were playing with air to see how it could be harnessed as power, I bumped into a father who had been to many children’s museum with his seven-year-old daughter. He said, “This museum is the best I’ve seen,” even in comparison to those he has visited in Atlanta and Chattanooga.
“It [Glazer’s Children’s Museum] is user friendly. The individual activities aren’t as time consuming and everyone, including the parents, is able to enjoy the entire museum.”
As we ventured more into the town on the second floor, children were able to find a place that interested them. Twinkle Stars Theater was a favorite of both Danielle and Olivia, as they were able to dress up in costumes, choose their own background, and act out their very own play with sound effects and lighting. Joel and I were able to watch in the “parents” theater seating, set up in rows and lined with rope lights, and clap after each act. The miniature theater truly reflects the “real thing.”
Glazer Children’s Museum provides a family-friendly environment for kids of all ages. Joel notes “It provides a fun, safe learning environment for the kids, giving them a glimpse of the inner workings of a city.”
Getting to every activity will take all day and a lot energy, and of course Joel, Danielle, Olivia, and I were able to do it all. It is best to go when children have all day to play and interact with each attraction, giving them a little bit of time for everything. Although we were all tired afterwards, the experience Danielle and Olivia had was entirely worth it.
The Glazer Children’s Museum’s purpose is to prove a unique experience that the children will never forget, and it’s an experience that every child deserves to have.