Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Magic House Review

While we were in St Louis last weekend, we went to the Magic House. I had been several times when I was kid but hadn't been in about 20 years. Apparently, according to my mom because I didn't remember, it is COMPLETELY different.

When you walk in the door, there is the admission desk where you pay and get your sticker, letting people know you have paid. To the left are a few benches and the gift shop. Beyond the benches, there is a large expansion area, which is opening next week. To the right is the actual museum area. As you head down the hallway, they have the "Little bit of magic" area for kids under 6 (shh, don't tell but we snuck TB in). In it, they have some slides, a sand table, a water play table, a climbing area. In the back corner, they have a baby area for kids under 2.

Around the corner from the LBOM area, there is the Math Path, which is all numbers. From math puzzles and guess the number of items to giant calculators and build the fastest Lego car, the Math Path is a dream come true for your budding Einstein.

Beyond the Math Path, you will find the Children's Village. It includes magnetic fishing, a mechanic's shop with a car up on a lift, an electric company, a store, a pizza palor and a tree fort. This also were the elevator to the basement is located. MT loved playing in the mechanic's shop, changing the tires and the license plate on the cars (this tells me she will either be a mechanic or a car thief LOL) TB liked the tree house and the pizza palor.

From there, we took the elevator down to the basement because the kids were hungry and there was a vending area marked on the map. We were disappointed to find that their vending area consisted of a couple of drink machines and no food. Both kids ended up getting sugary caffinated drinks so they were really hopped up for the rest of the visit.

After our drink stop, we continued down the hall, past the experiment center. It looked like something TB would have enjoyed but there was really nothing for MT so we bypassed it. The majority of the basement is given over to Lewis and Clark. In one area, they have a Lewis and Clark camp site, with a wooden canoe, a teepee and a fire, as well as some costumes to dress up in. MT proclaimed it "boring" and insisted on going elsewhere. Off of the camp site, they have a Lewis and Clark Trail setup. WARNING, this exhibit is NOT for young children, old people, or anyone with any kind of limited mobility. The age range for it is 5-12 but we took MT in because wouldn't allow us to leave her out. 10 feet into the exhibit, there is a rope you have to use to swing across a gap in the floor (you can walk across if you must, but what is the fun in that), that leads to stumps to step on, ladders to climb and slides to slide down. Over all the whole exhibit was pretty dark, with some pitch black spots. It was also pretty physical and quite fun. The kids wanted to make a repeat trip through but each guest is only allowed through once, for some reason.

Then it was up to the third floor to see the fitness center, the shadow wall and the coolest of all, the electro-static generator. That is the machine that when you touch it, makes your hair stand up all wild. Unfortunately, it didn't work at all for TB. It worked fairly well for MT but because I had to hold her to reach it, I didn't get a picture of it. However, we found that my hair worked GREAT so I went back and TB took a picture of my crazy hair.

By then the kids were hungry and tired and we decided to call it a day. We stopped off in the gift shop which was pretty much to be expected. It had the components of the various exhibits, highly priced for children to beg for. We picked up a couple of things and got some ideas for Christmas as well.

I remember it being mostly a museum for older kids, but MT had a really great time. There were a few things she couldn't do (the Lego racers were for kids 4+ but I think that was because they are considered chocking hazards) but she didn't lack for things to keep her busy.

Over all, I would give it 3.5 stars. I think it will be better when the new expansion opens up and when it is warmer, the outside stuff will be available. As it is right now, the really fun exhibits (LBOM, Math Path, etc) were really crowed and moving around and keeping your kids in sight was fairly difficult. With more space, some of that congestion would be relieved. I was also umimpressed with the lack of snack machines. If we had something to eat and if the crowds had been less, we probably would have stayed longer. As it was, we rushed through some exhibits and bypassed other completely, just to move things along.


Harley Quinn said...

Wow! I've never even heard of this place. St. Louis is fairly close. Our fam will have to check it out sometime. Thanks for the detailed review.

Quigs78 said...

We were thinking about taking the kids there next year. We figured the zoo and the science center are both nearby and we'd make a weekend out of it.

I just don't think we're up for it yet.

Jennifer said...

So glad you liked it! We sure enjoy it and look forward to going again. I do think my kids could have stayed in the house/treehouse/store/fishing/etc area ALL day and been happy!