So if you keep up with my blog you know that we were supposed to be in Galveston until today, but family issues resulted in us coming home early. This means we're home, Tyler has time off, and with Saida getting ready to start Kindergarten, we want make the most of this little bit of "vacation" time we have/had left.
We really didn't know what we wanted to do with this time though. We just knew that we wanted to do it together. After putting out an SOS to a local moms group on Facebook, we had a few suggestions to fill our time. We chose to head down to New Braunfels (about 35 minutes away) to the McKenna Children's Museum. We actually have a children's museum in Austin too that's technically closer, but we like to avoid the Austin traffic whenever possible.
Why we chose The McKenna Children's Museum for our Day Trip
- 35 minutes is a cinch. I hear the children's museum in San Antonio is great, but we left later than I would have liked and adding on an extra 30 minutes each way to the trip is just something we didn't have time for today.
- It was cost effective. We paid $7.50/person to get in. The Thinkery in Austin would have been $12/person and The Doseum in San Antonio would have been $14/person. I'm feeling like we definitely got our money's worth.
- It's inside (mostly). I thought about going to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, but it's hot. Texas is sitting at a whopping 100 degress today and wasn't about to go spend nearly $60 to hang out in the sun. Yes you get to drive your car around, but I still have to wonder if the animals would even be out moving. We'll save that idea for cooler weather.
- Our kids really just seem like the ideal ages for a children's museum. Saida just turned 5 and Corbin is 2 and a half. Children's museums are a safe place for them to run and play without limits and we love just watching them do it.
- It gets rave reviews from just about every mom who has ever taken their kids there.
What we found at the McKenna Children's Museum
The Grocery Store Exhibit
I'm going to be honest, I haven't been to a children's museum since I was a kid and I don't really remember much about it. Actually the only thing I sort of remember from that experience was the grocery store exhibit. I remember thinking this is what it feels like to be a grown up when in that exhibit. Oh to be that naive again. But anyway, the grocery store exhibit didn't disappoint. I especially loved seeing the things they picked out on their own shopping experience. Corbin basically filled his cart with cheese. If there was ever any doubt he was his mother's child, I think that doubt is gone now.
The Wonder Shop Exhibit
The Wonder Shop was something Saida was looking forward to. I showed her Instagram photos of the museum before we went and she's just always down for a good painting session. I imagined this exhibit a little more out in the open. I was happy to find it in a room separate from the chaos of the main space of the children's museum.
I'm not always that mom that's going to hand Corbin some paints and let him go at it. He's a two and half year old boy which means things almost never go according to plan and I'm typically not in the mood to clean up after what went wrong. I love that he got to paint next to his sister. His sister is still upset that he added green to her paper where she didn't want it, but this moment made me happy.
Helpful Tip: Do this early enough in your visit to allow more time for your paintings to dry. We did it about half way through and as liberal as my kids are with paint, they were still wet when we put them in the car. Fortunatley my cargo space was pretty clear and we had room to set them down flat on the way home.
The Great Outdoors Exhibit
The main attraction outside is the water. It's basically the ultimate water table full of fishing (for toy fish), waterslide racing (for toys), and a bunch of other educational ways to interact with the water. My kids loved this area and we sat there and watched them while silently thanking the McKenna folks for having this space under cover. August in Texas is hot.
Helpful Tip: Bring a change of clothes just in case. My kids can be pretty timid so they really didn't get wet, but I could see how it would be easy to leave this area a bit covered in water. Chances are you know if your kid is one of those fun loving kids who may walk away wet.
Also outside was a music area. Honestly I felt like the music area could have been a little cooler, but my kids still thought it was pretty cool and I guess that is what matters most. The xylophone was definitely thier favorite instrument to play.
There are also opportunities to climb and build outside so basically this area has a little bit of something for everyone (including benches for mom and dad).
I knew this would be one of our favorite spots and I purposely saved it for last in our visit because... water.... and kids.
Hill Country Campground Exhibit
This was a suuuuuper cute area. I'm kind of a sucker for a vintage inspired play camper and tent. The photographer in me also loved it because it was close to a wall of windows and natural light is kind of like my very best friend. Also we went and looked at campers after this so this is just where I am in life right now anyway. This area also included a little cave with bat wings to put on the kiddos. My kids probably would have taken those bat wings home. I smell a diy project sometime in the future maybe.
Destination Space Exhibit
I hope my kids explore this one a little more next time. Saida actually really loved walking through the outter space room which is basically a pitch black room with stars. I couldn't even see the walkway it was so dark. For a kid who insists on a night light, I was super shocked she loved it so much. Corbin hated it. There was so much more in that area though that they never touched so maybe next time.
Other exhibits not mentioned that they also really enjoyed are the Amazing Airways Exhibit, The Town Square, and The Kids Clinic.
I mean really this whole place is super adorable and so inviting for play. A steal for $7.50 per person. The bottom line is that if we lived even 15 minutes closer, we'd have a family membership. A family of 4 can buy a membership for only $125 a year. It would pay for itself in about 5 visits.
So my recommendation is YES, DEFINITELY GO!!! And if you live close, DEFINITELY PAY FOR A MEMBERSHIP!!!
For more information on the McKenna Children's Museum in New Braunfels, click the button below.
This is just to add another level of cuteness to the post. Also yes, he is wearing Tito's Vodka Sunglasses. They're his favorite.