Monday, February 16, 2009

A.C. Gilbert Discovery Museum in Salem

Sunday we left Portland and traveled south to Salem, which is on the way back to Newport, to visit the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Museum
( We had never visited this one but had heard good things about it. It was well worth the stop. This is really two activities in one.

First, there is the inside. Believe me, the insides should never be undervalued in a rainy climate like Oregon's! There are three buildings with quite a respectable offering of daily life type activities (a pretend grocery store, stage with costumes, skeleton manipulatives, crafting with re-purposed trash, etc.). Here's Dylan, the intrepid explorer, posing for the camera in the stage room. My favorite room of all was the bubble room. There were dozens of ways to make bubbles, including the bubble circle curtain that the kids stood in the middle of, and the bubble wall, shown here, with Dylan blowing into it.

Dakota and Dylan, although they enjoyed it, are getting to the upper limit of the age to be interested in most of the things inside - but younger kids would be hugely entertained for hours.

As nice as the inside is, it is the outside that puts this place over the top, though. They have one of the most extensive and well-thought-out play areas I have ever seen. There is the music room:

The spider web: The "cell" that can be explored from the inside out:

There is also a paddle wheeler, many paths and tunnels connecting it all, benches in the middle for exhausted parents, and, best of all, this humongous, multi-level maze with slides on the back side to zip down on.

Dakota and Dylan spent about two hours zooming around, playing hide-and-seek with Devin, who frequently pretends not to see them in order to make the game even more exciting for them. He's such an awesome dad!

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