AHA! A Hands-on Adventure, A Children’s Museum is a 4000 sq. ft. facility in Lancaster, Ohio. The museum was designed and built for children ages 0-7 because of the limited number of educational activities available for this age group in this county. Older children are welcome to visit, and often do, although we ask them and their parents to have realistic expectations.
The museum has been open to the public since March of 2008. Since then, over 86,000 children and adults have visited, surprising the founders and impressing the community! Visitors have come from as far away as Europe although most hail from within a 50-mile radius of Lancaster.
Twenty-four exhibits and activity areas are featured at the museum, including an 11” Fire Engine with a fire dousing laser, a Ball Mountain of tunnels and tubes, Question Boxes with their mysteries inside and a Healthy Choices bike which tells how much cycling you need to burn off food items. In addition to the new items, the museum also features a Water Table, the Honeycomb Climbing Structure, a Laser Harp, the Build-a-House and the Pretend Play area which includes a Market, Bank, Pizza shop, Veterinarian’s office and Theatre. Each exhibit carries with it educational components which align with the Ohio Department of Education’s Academic Content Standards and guidelines for preschool learning and Kindergarten readiness. Surveys have indicated that the children’s favorite exhibits are the Theatre, Fire Engine, Water Table and Honeycomb Climber while the parents’ favorite is the Laser Harp.
AHA! receives no taxpayer funding and its existence is solely supported by admission fees, memberships, grants, sponsorships and donations. The “staff” of six includes five part-time employees. The contributions of numerous volunteers help fill in the gaps and everyone from the executive director to our own “Mr. Clean”, is a highly motivated multi-tasker!
Having somewhat recently switched our household over to a hybrid of Steiner and Montessori style learning, play, and environment I couldn't have been more excited to visit 4000 square feet of sensory play for my little lamb.
I'd learned about AHA! through one of my Meetup groups. In the past year my daughter seemed a bit too young to go but at two years-old this now seemed like a perfect and viable option for us. The Meetup listed the price of admission as $5 but did not clarify that unlike area play cafe's where you pay for your child that the adult also needs to pay admission.
Not being from Ohio, and knowing next to nothing about Lancaster I was worried about finding parking. My worry was needless because AHA! has it's own parking lot and if for any reason it were full I think you should have no problem finding parking in the immediate area.
As I stood there paying my $10 admission fee my daughter took off into the museum and began playing. I asked the person working the front if that was alright and they assured me it was.
I knew but hope she wouldn't go from the water table to the sand table
The exhibits were amazing.
She sat down and drove for a moment but quickly lost interest.
The shopping carts from the grocery area seemed to be pretty popular
Because today's post is already so long come back tomorrow to find out what on earth could upset mild-mannered me so much I considered media intervention.