Monday, September 3, 2012

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Today we decided to do something a little different.  Peyton's nurse was coming in the afternoon and Ron had to be somewhere for 5p, so we had a few hours to do something with Moira.  Back in July I had been contacted by the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry to help promote the museum through the blogosphere.  August was pretty busy with Peyton being so sick and then our trip to Boston.  We finally had an opportunity today and we took it!

To be honest, we actually had not been to the Children's Museum yet!  I hate to admit that - we've been here in Charleston for a while now!  With everything going on with Peyton {all the time}, when we do get a chance to do something, we usually wind up doing nothing and just relax at home!  I was excited to see what the museum had to offer.

If you live in Charleston or are visiting, the museum is located right downtown at 25 Ann Street.  We parked at the Charleston Visitor Center parking garage, which is located right across the street from the museum.  It's a pretty convenient and inexpensive place to park while you are spending time in the museum or wherever else your downtown visit might take you.

We went in to the museum and redeemed the gift certificate I'd received.  The staff was very helpful.  Moira was quite excited and anxious to get going.  She was so excited to be there, she wasn't sure where to begin!

The first exhibit we visited was called "Raceways".  In this exhibit, there are multiple displays which have various tracks set up.  They have signs up on the walls talking about Newton's Third Law, force, friction and so on.  At each track, children are encouraged to release golf balls down the track to see what happens at each type of track dependent upon its configuration.

Next up was "WaterWise!".  In this exhibit, there are multiple water displays.  The first one you see is a slanted water table with "rapids".  There are little plastic boats which you can release from the top of the rapids to see how they fare on their way down.  The rocks in the middle of the rapids can be moved to create a different path for the boats to travel through.  There is also a big display which allows children to release water or to close it off to allow water to flow.  The set up is a big water table which flows down to a "lock" on one side and to a "farm" and town from the other side.  The release of the water creates "energy" which in turn lights up a big board on a wall showing an image of the city.  The more energy, the more lights come on on the board!

Moira had tons of fun in the "Pirates!" exhibit.  This exhibit features a big pirate ship in the middle of the room.  There are signs on the boat which can be interchanged allowing children to name and re-name the pirate ship.  There's a boardwalk which goes along a couple walls and alongside the ship.  The carpet in the room is blue to simulate the water and there are a couple dolphins coming up and diving down into the  Along the deck next to the ship, there's even a fishing net complete with big fish in it!  Surrounding the ship are all kinds of facts about pirates, knots, and life at sea. It's pretty interesting.  The exhibit was great.  Moira enjoyed playing on the ship.  She loves mermaids and she was really excited about the mermaid they had in the room too!

Next, we went into the Charleston Market, which is a mock up of a grocery store.  There are baskets and little shopping carts which children can take around the store as they stock up on all the produce and grocery items they could imagine.  Ron even got into it at the checkout counter.  As you can see from the picture below, either the prices of groceries in Charleston are insanely high or there was a glitch in the computer system!  I don't think an order of groceries should cost over $362 million dollars.  Maybe that's just me though.

Perhaps the most fun was had in the Medieval Creativity Castle.  This exhibit is a two-level medieval extravaganza {on a kid level that is!}.  The room is absolutely wonderful.  You walk in to the "great hall" where the castle takes shape before your eyes.  From the brick walls to the wooden tables and chairs, to the round table with all the knights names on it, to the throne with the claw feet...this is such an amazing place for kids!  On the lower level, there is a dungeon area, a medieval kitchen complete with a pig roasting over a "fire" on a spit, as well as the area where children can construct things with ancient giant medieval legos!  I kid.  It's a neat area for kids to play in!  Upstairs, there are tons of costumes.  Moira made a little friend while she was there and she and the other little girl dressed up as princesses.  Later on, some boys came along and they dressed up as knights and dragons.  Moira instructed the "dragon" to breath fire on her and she staged a rather dramatic demise, causing me to bust out laughing.  Around the castle area there are also facts about medieval life, making this play area not only incredibly fun, but also educational.

The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry has other areas to explore, but this is what we did today.  Moira is very excited to go back again soon.  And we will.  If you are interested in visiting the museum, you can find information here regarding how to plan for your visit. If you are interested in a membership, you can find out details here.  If you are local, have kids, and think you might visit multiple times during the year, a membership is probably your best bet!  If you're a member, you have access to various members only events throughout the year, including "Two Extra Hour Tuesdays".  Member or not, you can also take advantage of educational opportunities put on by the museum, as well as have your child's birthday party there!

I have to say there is one very special thing about Children's Museum of the Lowcountry which I just love is their "SuperStars!" day.  The second Sunday of every month, they open two hours early {from 10:00a - 12:00p} for families with children with special needs.  These families must register in advance, but they can visit the museum for FREE on these special days!  Being the parent of a special needs child, I can really appreciate this.  I am not sure if we would take advantage of this or not with Peyton since I know that she wouldn't be able to interact in any way with any of the exhibits, but I know families from church who have done this.  I just think that this is a wonderful concept and I wish that many more attractions would embrace it!  It can be very challenging to take a special needs child out to places like museums.  Having a special time and date set up just for these families takes so much of worries out of planning such an outing.  Kudos to Children's Museum of the Lowcountry for doing this for the special needs community of Charleston, SC!

We had a great time today and can't wait to plan our next outing!

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

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{Full Disclosure: In exchange for helping to promote the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry through my blog, I was compensated with a one year family membership to the museum.  The opinions expressed here are my own.}


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