Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Discovery Place KIDS - Charlotte

I love Charlotte.  Each time I go I find more to love (like Zaida Jane's brunch).  Of course, we've been to a Panthers Game, the US National Whitewater Center, IKEA, and the downtown kids' museum called Discovery Place (which is great, too, but despite the name is different than the place I am about to tell you about).  I've even gotten jealous of Charlotte's bike rental program.
But we elected on this trip to Charlotte to try out the Discovery Place KIDS which is out in Huntersville, NC (about 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte). 

Discovery Place KIDS in Huntersville is more like a Marbles or a Greensboro Children's Museum.  In short, pretty fantastic, hands-on, imaginative fun.  (There is another Discovery Place KIDS scheduled to open in Rockingham, NC in 2013.  For more on that visit the website below.)  For comparision, the downtown Discovery Place is really a wonderful spot and museum but is geared more towards older kids.

Discovery Place KIDS is great for the younger crew.  There is an entire area for children under 3 - complete with fenced in area, lots of padding, and even little tiny seats for tots to sit in and experience a water exhibit (too awesome!).

There is a stage in the middle of the entire building with puppet shows and times to dance and sing along.  Note that for these shows they are obviously not catering to adults.  I thought they were "meh" but C was smitten and especially loved the dancing and singing portion of his visit.
Discovery Place KIDS is not huge in square feet or area compared to other places we've been, but there is a surprising amount to be found.  Keep going towards the back and you'll be surprised.  Among things to explore: a huge "hamster run" for kids, blocks, a racecar pit (duh, it's Charlotte), a fire truck, grocery shop, cafe, underwater area, conveyor belts, hands-on water exhibit, a boat, animal hospital, and much more.  We thought we had seen all we could see then turned a corner and found ourselves at a rock wall, balance beam, farm with chickens and a cow to milk, and a tractor to get on. 

There is an entire area called "I Can Create."  Here children can do guided crafts or just explore the art within them.

There was exploration outside, too, with a garden and sandbox.

While there wasn't an official book area the entire museum was littered with books.  Books appropriate to the subject at hand were at each exhibit.  This is a great idea and increases the interactive and learning nature of each station.

We spent a few hours here on a Saturday afternoon and could have stayed longer.  We were lucky in that the museum didn't feel terribly crowded, either.  Although I would watch out for rainy weekends.  I bet this place can get popular fast.

Everything is easy stroller access and there are changing tables.  No cafe here but there are vending machines near the front door.  You may bring food and drinks in yet they may only be consumed by the vending machines.  There is a nursing lounge.

I thought the admission to this was comparatively and surprisingly cheap.  It was only $8 per person over 1 to get in.  Ok, so I don't love the idea of C paying the same price as an adult, but considering that the entire half day was spent in blissful play at a museum that looked brand new, it seemed worth it to us.

See a larger album with even more pictures over here on our Photobucket site.

Discovery Place KIDS
http://www.discoveryplacekids.org/
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
704-372-6261
Closed Mondays

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