Friday, April 30, 2010

Kidzu Children's Museum

Updated 12/2011: Kidzu has moved to a new location in University Square off of Franklin Street, still in downtown Chapel Hill.  The entrance to the museum is on the back side of the building, so drive around back.  Parking here is much better!

Prices for admission have gone up, and that is represented and accurate below.

The pictures below are from the new location, and the address and contact information is up-to-date.

A quick note about the experience I, and many other parents I have chatted with, have had at the new location: it can get PACKED.  Word is out about how great this place is and with better parking and a new, breezier, lighter space, it is so much more convenient and fun.  However, we all wonder if at some point Kidzu is going to consider limiting the amount of guests in at one time.  The new spot isn't terribly larger than the old location - just nicer and more open - and the times I have been to the new location we've had a terrible time with overcrowding. It is GREAT that Kidzu is doing so well.  They are gearing up to build their dream space at Wallace Parking Deck, which we wholeheartedly support and encourage you to.  However, with success comes some growing pains, too. My advice would be to pick the times you go carefully (avoid rainy holidays, for example) and think about calling ahead to see how crowded it may be.


Keep checking in to their website, too (see below) to catch up on their events.  They are offering even more great special events and workshops these days.


I know. No blog about being a parent in Chapel Hill would be complete without information about Kidzu. So here it goes...

Love this place! Located in one of the store fronts on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, Kidzu has something for all the young kids. They advertise that they offer hands-on museum exhibits for children ages 0 - 8. And that is why we went. My mommies group has children of different ages and mobility, and this place was a perfect way to spend a playdate.

I do not look at this place and think "Museum" since it is incredibly interactive. No stuffy "don't touch" things here. But I did learn that they change out the themes and exhibits of the entire place a few times a year. Which now that I think about it, when I went years ago with my niece it was a castle theme...Which can keep Kidzu fresh. [MiCHill note: as far as we can tell, they no longer have rotating exhibits at the new location.]

There are all sorts of places and ways for play: light tables, art stations, gardens, balls, kitchens, workbench, blocks, dress up. They also have a babies & tots area. This is all cushioned and barricaded. There are stools and rockers for parents to sit in. And there is also a bin for "Tasted Toys" - if it goes in the mouth, then put it in the bin to be cleaned. This made Kidzu a great outing for a group of kids with all ranges of mobility. We only wish they had barricaded and blocked the doors in the front and the back of the building. We had a case of the Runaway Babies, and the front door seemed to be the goal.

Kidzu also does little things that make such a difference for parent enjoyment and ease. For example, in their bathrooms they offer diapers of all sizes. They ask that you use them in an emergency only, but still a great service. You can also get a change of clothes for your child should you be desperate. And they have plastic grocery bags for you to put dirty clothes in (C and I took advantage of that).
Kidzu offers adult-lead arts and crafts in a separate room from 11am - noon and 2pm - 3pm each day. The project is generally recommended for children ages 2&up. They also have Storytimes. Toddler time (1-4) is Tuesday 10:30 - 10:50 am and Preschool (3-6) is Friday 10:30 - 10:50 am.


Parking is a bear here. In downtown Chapel Hill, on Franklin Street, you could have a significant challenge finding a place to put your car. When we were there, the parking garages in the immediate vicinity were full. However, we drove down about a block to the pay lot on the corner of Church & Franklin and found ample parking. Just be prepared to walk a little ways (nothing too bad, but bring your stroller). Kidzu knows this, though, and knows their space is limited so is planning to grow and move into another building (with parking!) in a few years.

With it's creativity, it's cleanliness, it's myriad of diverse activities, Kidzu is a great place to visit.

$5 per person for adults and children over 24 months. Children 12- 24 months are $2, and kids under 12 months are free. Admission is valid all day (so you can leave, get your burgers, eat, then come back).
Sundays are free for all.
Closed Mondays.
Memberships available.

Kidzu Children's Museum
www.kidzuchildrensmuseum.org
123- B Franklin Street
Chapel Hill(919) 933-1455

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