Monday, June 10, 2013

A Hands On Adventure! A Children's Museum (Pt.1 - Before The Storm)

A few weeks ago some of you may have seen (either via my Twitter, my Instagram, or my Facebook fan page) that I went to A Hands On Adventure A Children's Museum in Lancaster, Ohio.

 "AHA!" boasts:

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.
It didn't take long for her to find a very serious water table.

She loved it, returning often to continue playing in it and sometimes washing her hands in it.

I knew but hope she wouldn't go from the water table to the sand table

and make an unwanted mess of herself for me to clean up - but she did go from one to the other. The mess really wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought she'd make.

The exhibits were amazing.
The play house that children can help build using faux bricks was really interesting. I'd never seen anything like it.
You can request face paints from the front and allow your little people to sit and paint their faces.
The fishing area was pretty darling to me. The poles were all set up similar to how pool cues are and most children seemed able to remove them with little to no problem
At the end of the strings would be a magnet which they would use to pick up fish that also had a magnet attached to them. However, my daughter felt that fake fishing, much like real fishing, should be done in real water; so she brought a pole over to the water table where she attempted to fish.

She sat down and drove for a moment but quickly lost interest.

I was a little bummed she showed no interest in gardening lol.

The shopping carts from the grocery area seemed to be pretty popular

but I had an expected issue with repeatedly trying to explain to my sweetheart that those fruits and veggies do NOT go into her mouth.
So she took them over to the water table and told me in her two year-old way that she was cleaning the pesticides off.
Soon she had other children following suit.
The excersize bikes were really darling.
Children could even punch in if they'd eaten certain common children's snacks

 and then sit down and burn them off it they wanted.
 Everything was going really well

and I was really impressed with the entire place

until there was an incident that left me seriously uncomfortable and fightin' mad.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment