Wonderscope is Wonderful

Our family loves exploring, and at three my daughter loves nothing more than to find a great new space made just for her. We have our favorites around town, and recently we checked out a space that has skyrocketed to the top of our “visit again!” list: Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City. 

Play-based learning is something I love to read and learn more about, and with a huge focus on just that, Wonderscope was the brain food this mama loves. Plus, they are open Tuesday through Sunday, giving families plenty of opportunity to check out all that they have to offer. 

We invited my dad and sister (a high school junior) along for the ride, and discovered that while Wonderscope is geared toward children eight years and under, our group ranging from three to 62 enjoyed every single second. And not just enjoyed as in four adults stood around and watched one cute little preschooler have fun. We all had fun. Serious, belly laughter, getting our hands dirty, smiles all around fun.

Wonderscope is built inside an old elementary school with nine different exhibit rooms. They also offer daily pop-up activities, weekly programs such as story times and art classes, special events, even birthday parties.

We made a point to check out all of the spaces because, as first time visitors, we wanted to make sure we maximized our fun. I don’t think we can pick a favorite though. There was just so much to see and do and touch and feel. And don’t stress if you’re a germophobe like me. Wonderscope has you covered with hand sanitizer, lots of hand washing stations and a big net in each room for you to place toys that made their way into mouths and need a little bathing.

In the H2Oh! room, small pools and waterfalls full of ducks and other water toys are just waiting for your child’s creativity to take shape. There is a small table for young toddlers and larger, taller tables for the preschoolers and school aged kiddos. And lots of clean towels available to dry off with! Tucked in back of the room is a shadow room, which was a huge hit with the high-schooler and I. We had so much fun making fun shadows on the wall and pressing the button to temporarily freeze our shadows.

The Raceways room spoke to my husband’s soul, as a race track kind of guy. And since my daughter too loves all things that move she was in heaven racing golf balls along the huge tracks that cover the floor.

Grandpa and Claire racing their golf balls in Raceways.

The Tinkerspace exhibit was a close second for the adults in our group as favorite space because we found so many fun childhood favorites to build with. When you go, you must check out the Amazing Airways exhibit that takes up one wall. Insert a ball into the tube and work together to figure out which of the three exits it will shoot out. 

My husband and daughter had a blast gathering eggs from the hens, planting and picking fruits and vegetables and shopping for ingredients in the market area to bake a cake together at the Farm to Market. They also loved using the wheel to crank bales of hay up to the silo and donning gardening gear to complete the adventure. The high schooler and I loved checking out the huge array of fun foods for the kids to shop for in the market, complete with carts, a bakery and a checkout area with a conveyor belt, cash register and a working announcement system. It was awesome to see my daughter and several of the other kids in the market identifying foods they were familiar with and seeing them learn about where some of the foods come from.

Aunt Lucy and Claire playing bakery in the market.

Artworks grabbed our attention quickly and was a hard room to move on from, because I don’t know about you, but it is hard to resist a room full of art supplies just begging to be used! All four of us lined up at the plexiglass easels to paint and squeegee off our masterpieces and start again. And my husband drew a castle on the chalkboard fit for a queen. There was a tiny mishap involving me, some paint and the squeegee that resulted in my gray shirt turning blue-green, but Wonderscope knows kids and everything washed right out. I think the best part about Artworks though is checking out all of the art made by kids who had visited before us. The walls were lined with masterpieces and my dad and sister and I spent a while pointing out our favorites while my daughter finished up her painting.

When we hit up the  Wonder Gym for some play time,  three amazing swings, a miniature rock climbing wall, a slide and an awesome obstacle course gave us all plenty to do. The swings were the hit for our daughter and my sister. They both took turns spinning and flying high in the sky.

We finished up the morning in the room I knew would be the favorite for our preschooler, the Baby Nursery and Ready Vet Go. Make believe and pretend play are my daughter’s jam, and a room with babies to feed, rock and take care of using medical play items combined with a veterinary center spoke to her. We spent the better part of an hour learning all about taking care of babies and animals in medical settings. Grandpa spent most of his time studying the different animal posters on the wall and “helping” with the baby care.

There’s also a Small Wonders room for the littles under age two, and the Wonder Why Garden that we will definitely spend some time in when we return in more favorable weather.

Wonderscope is truly a place to stretch your imagination and have a great time together. Want to check out Wonderscope for yourself (yes, you do!)? Mention this post and the Kansas City Moms Blog at the door on February 20 for $5 admission. I bet I’ll see you there!

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