Today has been a lovely, lovely day!
Little Man and I went out to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center for the morning. The Anchorage Museum is a great place to visit if you have children. In addition to the artwork and visiting exhibits in the main museum, the Imaginarium Discovery Center is a large, interactive area for kids to learn and play. Little Man will regularly ask to go to the museum as an activity.
Within the Imaginarium, there are a few different places to explore.
The BP Kinetic Area is a learning space with exhibits that allow for the hands on examination of different aspects of physical science. Little Man is only 3, so he really isn’t learning about force, light waves, or inertia. However, there are lots of moving parts to the exhibits – balls bouncing, balloons flying, air blowing, etc. It could keep him busy for hours.
During our visit today, it was obvious the exhibits were being upgraded and changed around. A little upgrade is certainly needed. After years of little fingers experimenting and playing with the parts and pieces, they were starting to look a little rough around the edges. I can’t tell exactly what the new exhibits will look like, but I hope they are still engaging for all ages.
Moving further into the Imaginarium from the Kinetic Area, there is an exhibit with giant bubble making devices. This is an area that can create an amazing mess. Thankfully, there is a hand rinsing station next to the massive open tanks of bubble soap. Making the big bubbles takes a little patience and skill. Little man can’t make the bubbles and at times this is frustrating to him. But, if I make the bubbles, he loves to pop them!
Chomper the Turtle
A tempting, but never accessible, activity is the tank with invertebrate coastal animals. The tank has an open top that calls to little hands with the siren song of slimy sea creatures, but there is always a giant sign up letting you know you need to wait until there is an attendant present. Unfortunately, we are never there when an attendant is on duty. Never. If you are interested in touching Alaskan sea creatures, I would suggest the Sea Life Center in Seward.
Right next to the open tank is an aquarium with “Chomper”, a large snapping turtle. While Little Man looks forward to seeing “Chomper” every time we visit, I have only actually seen him move once. A couple months ago, I started to suspect that he had passed away and had been stuffed.
Play Area in the KidSpace
After a long tour of the actual exhibits, Little Man likes to decompress with the other little kids in the TOTES KidSpace. There are little slides, a water feature, toys, a doll house, a train set, and a bush plane with lots of buttons. The plane is always the first choice activity. Today, the kid instruments, including a drum and xylophone toy, were the second favorite. Unfortunately for the other parents, the instruments accompanied a rousing rendition of the five frogs on a log song, sung by me, at Little Man’s request.
If you happen to be visiting Anchorage, Alaska with children on a beautiful summer day, for the love of all that is good, get outside and enjoy the parks, trails, or festivals. If it has gotten rainy or you had the misfortune of traveling to Alaska during a cold season, consider the museum as an excellent way to pass the time. One of the nice things about the museum activities is that there is something to engage the entire family.
We have a membership to the museum. For us, because we come so often, the membership is totally worth the upfront expense. However, there are numerous “free days” sponsored by local businesses over the course of the year. If you only plan to come a few times a year and your dates are flexible, it may be worth it to wait for a one of these special events. We have come on numerous sponsored days and even though it is a little more crowded, it is never intolerable.
For more information about the museum, check out the website: Anchorage Museum
After a few hours at the museum, we were off to home for some peanut butter sandwiches and water balloons.
Water balloons are a joy to any little boy. Last night, Little Man popped them by biting them. This engaging activity came to an abrupt halt when one popped and gushed water up his nose. It was one of those mom moments where you wonder if you should have known better than to allow your child to do something so utterly ridiculous. Today we had some more coordinated activities to avoid any sort of water balloon related trauma. We set out targets on the lawn to be hit by water balloons from the deck and set up water balloons on the lawn to be stomped by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
All in all, this was a really delightful day.