This place is a trip. Once a fortress-like prison it has been turned into a deceptively extensive children’s museum. We took the opportunity to go here when the entire family needed to go to San Jose to renew Django’s passport (An exercise in and of itself. We were required to show time lapse photos from the time of his last passport photo at 2 months of age!)
Matt and I entered dubiously. As we walked its warren-like halls we were hard pressed to figure out where the actual installations and activities were. Soon, though, the kids got more into the displays than I’ve seen them in other museums. There was an entire grocery store where employees handed out “money” and menu cards with ingredients for the kids to find.
When they’d found their whole list they could “check out”. Suki and Django probably went on three separate shopping trips, they loved it so much.
Then they found the room about the firefighters and police officers. My kids have never been ones for putting on costumes in public places. However, since there were few visitors the day we went they ran around like mad, trying on outfits, driving vehicles, sliding down the firefighter’s pole. They had a blast.
Then we discovered the outside. This place is immense! There are play structures, full size airplanes to go inside and a whole train to explore.
There is also an entire interactive display about how bananas are processed which Django got really into.
There are also several fun and random statues and pictures. Everywhere you look there is something to see or touch or do.
Then we discovered that they had a little farm display, complete with live chickens and bunnies, in addition to a model cow that you could “milk”. They got right in there.
We thought we were approaching the end at that point but then found a whole wall of illusion that entertained Suki, Django and Matt for quite some time.
By this time we were pretty tuckered. When we circled back inside, we found a whole different (huge) wing that talked about the natural word, recycling and the human body. While a lot of the displays have seen some heavy use they have a lot of really cool, interesting areas.
While at first we weren’t so sure, I ended up very impressed. It would have been worth it to buy a map, so we could see all that was on offer. On the other hand, it was fun to come around a corner and see some new, strange thing. It was definitely worth the visit and I have a feeling we’ll be back.