A steady stream of parents with children in tow arrived for the grand opening of the Minnesota Children's Museum in Rochester on Thursday, April 5.
I was first in line, along with two of my three daughters, 9 and 5, and my 9-year-old's friend, trading a beautiful spring day for the equally bright and beautiful museum: Blue, yellow, white and green walls greeted us, as well as red, blue, green benches, and 5,000 square feet of exhibits.
As I thought they would, my entourage made a beeline for the face-painting table. Minutes later, two kitties and a rainbow tried out other exhibits, the 9-year-olds gravitating toward the craft room and the 5-year-old making for "Ball-o-rama," a traveling exhibit at the museum until October and
It offers plenty of opportunities to toss, roll and bounce balls of various sizes. Among the options were "Mind the Gap," which had children moving a golf ball from one side to the other by assembling pipes; "Roll-a-way," a short maze through which giant balls can be rolled; and "Toss-o-tron," demonstrating what goes up, must come down.
Clustered near the entrance is another temporary exhibit, "Go Figure!" Here, favorite children's books are used as a jumping off point for explaining math concepts. Nearby is an art park, where kids draw and make things with blocks, among other activities.
The museum, which was six years in the making, has plenty to keep little hands busy, and its open design makes keeping track of children a breeze. But the museum was designed for younger kids, and the 9-year-olds in my group got bored eventually. That said, we spent about two hours before they ran out of things they wanted to do or see.
And according to the museum's website and Facebook page, plenty of Rochester residents wanted to get a peek at the new facility, too: 240 people visited before 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
This report contains information from the Associated Press.
IF YOU GO
What: Minnesota Children's Museum Rochester, River Center Plaza, 1643-1/2 N. Broadway St., Rochester, Minn.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $4.50 for ages 1 to 101; memberships available
Information: 507-218-3100; Rochester.MCM.org