Sunday, March 2, 2014

Curious Kids Discovery Zone

While up in Michigan City to visit Curious Kids Museum, we also stopped by the Discovery Zone. This is a walk down the hill from the museum or a drive of a few blocks. Since it was about 0 degrees outside when we went, we chose to drive. :-) It is a separate entrance fee or you can buy a combo ticket. See our adventures at the Curious Kids Museum here.

The building has a few components: a large meeting area, a gift shop, a carousel with a tribute to the boardwalk area, and the Discovery Zone. As soon as you walk in, there is a huge kaleidoscope up above your heads--that's pretty cool to see! 

We weren't sure where to go so ventured over by the carousel as we hung up coats. There were fun house mirrors, bumper cars to sit in, miniature replicas to view, etc. 


We finally found where we really should be for the Discovery Zone--this is touted as being for a little older children like 6-14 year olds. Of course, they loved the big thing with pegs they could press into--what are those called? It's fun to have a huge one! Various displays helped us understand the world around us in an interactive way. 


Right now, one of the rooms is a special traveling bug exhibit. It has a huge praying mantis and scorpion that can move. There were also several cases of insects with information about them. The huge dog in the bag helped us look at fleas on animals and the rubbing plates in the front let us do a small art project with the insects. 

Here is a close up of the flea and another hands-on element for understanding the insects.

In a nearby room, they had a huge climbing structure. The older ones enjoyed climbing this. There were also large water tables for water play and a platform for building with natural blocks.

I loved this room looks at the St. Joseph River Watershed and pass the St. Joseph River on a regular basis. Of course, everyone enjoyed exploring the water.

The canoe made a good place to "explore" more about native people of the area and other items. 


A few smaller exhibits showed different types of wood/lumber and allowed us to create crazy, mixed up fish!

The wave machine was neat to explore how waves are created on Lake Michigan!


The water tables were fun and encouraged exploration and experimentation!


There were displays along the way about the nature and historical aspects of the area. Very informative!

The climbing wall was a hit! It's not very tall, but does allow the children to go from side to side. It's a nice introduction to climbing. 

The displays helped us understand the water concepts better. One focused on ways to filter water. Having lived in the Dominican Republic for about 1 1/2 years, being cognizant of clean water was always on my mind there. Even just having water regularly through the pipe system was a luxury as it wasn't always turned on, as was the electricity. It's easy to take these for granted when it seems like we have an endless supply always at our fingers. Our reality is different if we take a step back to look at it and understand the concepts better.

Later, we stopped by the carousel area for a couple of games and popcorn. As we walked around, we picked out our favorite carousels. I opted not to pay for the carousel with six kids, yet we did enjoy looking at the beautiful animals.

Before heading back to the Curious Kids Museum, we ate a picnic lunch in the van by lake Michigan down by Silver Beach. Many others were stopping by as well. It is so interesting to think of how much of the lake is covered in ice with the low temperatures this year! 

I will say it is nice to have the combo membership to Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone. We could go back and forth between the two as we needed a change in pace, to grab lunch, etc. We look forward to a return! We tried it out by buying our day passes and then upgraded to a membership as we left. I've used this option often to see if a museum is a place we'd really visit again and again.