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Written by: Amanda Formaro [Amanda Formaro is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children.]

Article Summary:

If you haven't visited a children's museum in the past, you may want to mark it on your calendar as a "don't miss" event. Open year round in most cases, these child friendly environments are entertaining as well as educational.

Article (continued from Page One):

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

3000 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
General Info: (317) 334-3322

Hands on! Exhibits include the Carousel, Wishes and Dreams: "The young and not-so-young will delight in the carousel and its new starry surroundings.

Originally installed in a local amusement park in 1917, the carousel is history you can ride and is now wheelchair-accessible.", the CineDome Theater: "a 76-foot domed, large-format theater, is an innovative and exciting medium to present entertaining and educational films. The CineDome offers viewers of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to peer into the mouth of volcanos, travel to distant points around the globe and soar on the wings of eagles….".

Omaha Children's Museum

500 South 20th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
General Info: (402) 342-6164

Hands on! Exhibits include: Main Street (A microcosm of life in an Omaha neighborhood, including post office and supermarket.), Creativity Center ("Using an array of recycled materials and endless pots of paint and glue, visitors are free to jump in, get messy, and express their creativity!"), Rainbow Farm for children 4 years and younger ("Experience life on the farm and enjoy developmental activities in this area designed especially for toddler-age children."), Charlie Campbell Science and Technology Center (hands-on, interactive science activities for children of all ages), Baker's Supermarket Exhibit ("Scale model of an actual Baker's Supermarket complete with miniature working checkstands, shelving, products and service center.") and Cox TV Station.

Austin Children's Museum

201 Colorado Street
Austin, TX 78701
General Info: (512) 472-2499

Hands on! Exhibits include: Global City Works ("exhibit includes eight role-play environments in which children can explore how people work, live, and play together in a diverse, global city"), Infant and Toddler Playscape, Time Tower ("A climbing playscape where children can discover Austin history from mastodons to microchips."), Weather Corner, and K*ACM, Austin's newest radio station for children.

Fascinate-U Children's Museum

116 Green Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301
General Info: (910) 433-1573

Hands on! "…a place where children can explore their world the way they learn best-- through creative role-playing, manipulation and interaction with each other and objects around them." Exhibits include: Dental Office, Broadcast News, City Bank, Doctor's Office, Under Construction, Utility Works, Fayetteville News, City Works, Judge's Podium, Gro-Right Grocery and Deli, Theater, Post Office, Fire Station and City Hall.

Habitot Children's Museum

2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94707
General Info: (510) 647-1111

Ages infancy through preschool. Hands on!! Exhibits include: Performance Stage and Costume Closet, Small-Scale Town, Infant and Toddler Garden, Wind Tunnel Science Lab, WaterWorks water play and learning gallery, and Back To The Farm.

Children's Museum of La Crosse (Gertrude Salzer Gordon Children's Museum)

207 Fifth Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601
General Info: (608)784-2652

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
General Info: (408) 298-5437

pounding on a drumHands on! Exhibits include: Streets ("Take an excursion down the Museum's streets to investigate the sights, sounds and textures of city life."), Current Connections ("Gain an understanding of how electricity is generated, using people-powered generators, how it is distributed, and how ultimately how it is converted to other forms of energy."), West Wing, Jesse's Clubhouse ("Crawl and clamber through a multilevel tower."), Step Into The Past, Kids' Bank ("Learn about the ebb and flow of a currency system from deposits to withdrawals using a variety of cranks, pedals and levers."), Bubbalogna ("explore the principles and properties of the fascinating, yet unpredictable world of bubbles"), Post Office, Magic Beans Creative People, Take Another Look ("Look. Look again, differently. In this vast and incredible world, there is always something new to see."), Rhythm, Garden, Alice ("Shrink and grow, visit a tea party, and encounter different animals as you enter Alice's unique and curious world.") and ZoomZone ("Adopt the exploratory "ZOOM spirit" to tryout and create activities. The ZOOMzone features brainteasers and math puzzles, word games and a place to write poems, short stories and a science activity station.").

The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center

737 West Fifth Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
General Info: (907) 276-3179

Hands on! Exhibits include: Alaska Marine Life, Reptiles, Mission to Mars, Galaxy Room / Planetarium, Physics of Toys and Bubble Lab.

Montshire Museum of Science

One Montshire Road
Norwich, VT
General Info: (802) 649-2200

A hands-on museum with dozens of exciting exhibits, relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. There are also several outside walking trails. Exhibits include; Andy's Place, Anti-Gravity Mirror, Bikevator, Bring Your Own Bug, Bubbles, Duck-in Kaleidescope, Leafcutter Ants, Light, Vision and Mirrors, The Lighthouse Little Cat's Feet, Monarch, North Woods, Polygon Mirrors, Reptiles, Science Park, Soda Fountain, Tower Clock, Weather, Fluorescence and Looking Inside.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center

110 Carter Ranch Road
Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443
General Info: (307) 864-2259

For ages 8 and older. This museum is known for some of the largest dinosaur fossil quarries in the world. Children can go on their own digs!

Children's Museum of Richmond

2626 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
General Info: (877) 295-2667

Hands on! Exhibits/programs include; The Robbins Commons, The Art Studio (individual and collaborative experiences utilizing a wide variety of recycled materials, child-sized tools, and innovative art techniques), How It Works (creative problem solving, children form conclusions about their physical world), Feeling Good Neighborhood (visit an orchard, market and home kitchen while learning where food comes from and make healthy consumer choices), Our Great Outdoors (try on an eagles wings, climb up through a canopy of trees, explore a cave, build a dam, and view a turtle tank from below), and Little CMOR (for ages 6m to 4yrs, area for creeping, crawling, tumbling and climbing, all with sensory discovery).

Children's Museum of Utah

840 North 300 West
Salt Lake City, Utah
General Info: (801) 328-3383

A hands-on discovery museum for kids of all ages. Visitors will find an interactive playground where a new learning experience awaits them around every corner. Children and adults are free to explore, imagine, create and discover together. Over 300 permanent exhibits; soar in a 727 cockpit, work in the Science Discovery Lab, shop in Kids' Town, or test physical fitness in the Fit Kids exhibit.

Lied Discovery Children's Museum

833 Las Vegas Boulevard
N. Las Vegas NV
General Info: (702) 382-3445

Hands on! Exhibits include; Musical Pathway, Discovery Store, Cultural Gallery, Desert Discovery, Puppet Shows, Weather Station, Pilot The Space Shuttle, and learning about Pool and Sun Safety.

Hands On! Regional Museum

315 East Main Street
Johnson City, TN 37601
General Info: (423) 434-4263

"Children can explore and discover in our over 27 permanent exhibits, like the Coal Mine, Airplane, KinderMart, or the Ark full of animals, then they can make a craft in the Discovery Room." Children can freeze their shadow, fly a plane, learn about their body, drive a tractor, and explore a coal mine.

Children's Museum of South Carolina

2501 North Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
General Info: (843) 946-9469

Hands on! Exhibits include; Bubblemania, South Carolina Fossil Hunt, It's Electric, The Magic School Bus Tour, Children's ER, USS Kids-A-Float, Dr. Molar's Dental Office, Explore Yourself Art Center, How Does An ATM Work?, Discovery Lab, and the Forestry Exhibit.

Providence Children's Museum

100 South Street
Providence, RI 02903
General Info: (401) 273-5437

Hands on! Exhibits include; Children's Garden, TEETH!, Hey Look (mirrors, magnifying glasses and a walk-in kaleidoscope), Water Ways, Pets and People, Littlewoods (for the younger set), Shape Space, City Streets (climb down a manhole and discover the secret world beneath the street).

Hands-On House Children's Museum of Lancaster

721 Landis Valley Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
General Info: (717) 569-5437

making giant bubbles! Hands on! "All of the exhibits at Hands-on House are custom-designed and unique to us. Our exhibits include a variety of activities appropriate for children ages 2-10 years. Each exhibit has a theme with a variety of activities to do that relate to the theme." "Discover how Lancaster County's farmers grow food on today's farm in the E-I-E-I KNOW exhibit. Stop in for some art smart fun at RAINBOW'S END. Experiment with color and design and let your creativity take hold. Try out some 2D and 3D art fun. Enter MARTY'S MACHINE SHOP and the world of how things work. Choose a job as you work at learning about gears, wheels, and pulleys. 'Keep It Rolling' on the changeable ball maze that you control. Enter the SPACE VOYAGE CHECKPOINT space station where earthlings stop in for a health check-up to prepare for their journey into space."

Portland Children's Museum

3037 SW 2nd
Portland, Oregon 97201
General Info: (503) 823-2227

Hands on! "The Museum's three floors of exhibits provide a safe and stimulating environment that's both educational and fun. Exhibits are designed to appeal to the different learning styles of youngster--whether it's pounding nails in 'Under Construction,' going shopping in the Kid City Market, or listening to your heartbeat in Medical Center!" Other exhibits include Balls and Pipes (Find out new ways to bounce, roll, shoot, drop, slide, and guide balls throughout the space.) and PlayShop.

A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village

116 Marion Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
General Info: (503) 371-3631

"The centerpiece of A.C.'s Backyard pays a fitting tribute to Salem's native son, A.C. Gilbert. Inventor and manufacturer of the Erector Set™."

Other Exhibits: Wooly Mammoth Dig, Stern Wheeler, American Flyer Train, Amphitheatre, Gilbert House, Wilson-Durbin House, Little Gem, Parrish House and the Rockenfield-Bean House.

The Jasmine Moran Children's Museum

PO Box 1828
Seminole, Oklahoma 74868
General Info: (405) 382-0950

"In an imaginary town, 3 to 12 year-olds begin to better understand the world and form ambitions as they role-play in dozens of occupations. Exciting hands-on activities encourage youngsters to explore and seek new ideas for their futures."

Cinergy Children's Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center

1301 Western Ave
Cincinatti, Ohio 45203
General Info: (800) 733-2077 or (513) 287-7000

Community Helpers, Let's All Celebrate, Float a Boat, Curious Cavers Guide, Weighing and Measuring, Water Forces, Welcome to My Home, Habitat Hunt, Big, Bad, Simple Machines, What's the Weather, Bridging the Gap, Animal Navigation

Rainbow Children's Museum

10730 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
General Info: (216) 791-8838

Hands on! Exhibits include; Water-Go-Round (Pump, pour, and splash around in an educational and fun water adventure.), Trains, Over and Under Bridges, The Little Nest, and a television Weather Studio.

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© Amanda Formaro

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