Even after three and a half years in Chapel Hill, it’s still nice to know that there are some new discoveries to be made. Well… it’s not totally new; we’ve heard of the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh for a while now, we just haven’t mustered up the energy to make the trip over. In any case one Saturday a few weeks ago, Helene invited us to go with them. Of course, Sam was down for the yet another chance to play with Elie and in a museum at that, so off we went! 🙂
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Marbles in the past. The first is its affordable $5 entrance fee (Compared to the Museum of Life and Science which is about $14 for adults and $10 for children! Thank goodness we’re members there with unlimited access!). It feels affordable mainly because there’s so much for the kids to do that it fills up your entire day. Actually, Sam physically couldn’t keep up with everything the museum had to offer her, but she had more than enough to knock her out instantly on our ride back home.
Marbles is sectioned according to specific activities that the kids can do and learn from. There’s the Aqua / Sea section where the kids pretended to be in a submarine or on a pirate ship (I wouldn’t let Sam wear the costumes though because I feel like they haven’t been washed in ages and — I just COULDN’T!). They also spent a lot of time in this Moneypalooza area which taught them (through the use of balls) the concept of spending, saving and using money. My husband thinks that I’ve given Sam the wrong idea of it too, as she would shoot the balls into the “spend” bin, instead of “save”, heehee. ;). Then there was a sports section where the girls shot hoops, climbed walls, surfed on pretend boards, and did other interesting things. It fosters a lot of pretend play and encourages the use of creativity and imagination, but is also highly educational. Sam spent a lot of time in this food area which, while it had a lot of plastic types of food, taught her to group them according to wheats, dairy, protein and fruits & vegetables. Kinda neat if you ask me.
At certain times of the day, they have scheduled activities with Museum staff, such as like an arts period where they make designs out of scrap material. There was another session the Saturday that we went too, which explored the use of energy and electricity.
Even Jamie had her fill of things to see and explore. She loved this wall that was lined with Marbles and just kept rolling her hands over and over a specific area. She also enjoyed the area with the huge lego blocks, and kept crawling in and out of the structures that the older kids were building. When she needed to nurse, we stayed in this really quaint and clean nursing room where I was also able to rock her (and myself) to sleep.
Almost everyone I’ve talked to that’s moved into the Triangle Area (That’s Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) has noticed how kid-friendly this part of town is. And it is true. Just look at their museums! I love how educational and interactive they all are, and how they’re all geared towards learning. It’s a new concept for me because growing up my perception of museums were still paintings or displays one could not touch. But if you think about it, (most) museums should be this way, especially if they have a lot to offer. I feel you can even get a better sense of the culture of a place if the museum display allows you to explore parts of its culture and way of life. Ultimately, as with anything really, it’s all about thinking of who your target audience is and finding ways to make it interesting to them.