Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded in 1899, and is the world’s first museum for children. In 2008 it received a makeover designed by Rafael Vinoly and became NYC's first and onyl LEED-certified museum. It is clean, modern, and dynamic enough to keep Curious G excited to pay for a good three to four hours. This is what she did this Tuesday when we visited.
1. The Mega Water Table
The water table is always our first stop and can occupy at least 20-30 minutes. Curious G created stories with the coral, boats, and other sea creature toys that are abundantly available in this area. She then made her way to the water squirt gun galley, accessible by crawling into. Rather than squirt the targets on the colorful target wall, she likes to squirt the water into a water bucket, dump the water, and repeat. The fun smocks are always an added element of excitement.
2. Dress Up Stations
Curious G loves accessories and costumes, and there are a few spots here where your kids can dress up. Right by the water table, there’s a mini stage and theater area complete with two bins of dress up items. Curious G took this opportunity to creatively layer a few scarves and capes and become a royal queen. In the World Brooklyn section, which is a kids-sized city block of culturally diverse shops, Curious G latched onto a pair of parrot colored wings and flapped away while looking at her reflection in a full sized mirror.
3. Rainbow Tunnel
The rainbow tunnel that connects the entrance area to World Brooklyn and a few of the nature exhibits contains a water feature that is fascinating to observe in between skipping back and forth throughout the tunnel.
4. World Brooklyn
World Brooklyn allows kids to try out different roles such as baker, pizza maker, cashier, designer, and travel agent as they play in the storefronts that represent the myriad of cultures of the city. There’s a kids sized L & B Spumoni Gardens, a Carribean Travel shop, an international grocery store, a Mexican Bakery, and more. Kids can even pretend to take (or drive) the bus to their destination in the kids sized bus at the entrance of World Brooklyn. If they are looking for a more express commute, they can hop onto the light blue Vespa parked by the tables set up in the World Brooklyn courtyard.
5. The Greenhouse
The greenhouse is home to an iguana and a variety of lush green plants and trees that were so intriguing that Curious G refrained from picking leaves as I read her the descriptions of the rubber trees, the banana trees, the snake plants, and other greenery.
6. The Corkbox
Curious G loves sand like most kids, and the crumbled cork filled “sandbox” is 1000 times easier to clean than the grainier variety. Yes, a bunch of cork fell out of CG’s bloomers when it was bathtime that night, but the handvac sucked it right up from the floor with ease, and there wasn’t any sand pasted to her scalp. This cork box is a win-win for everyone.
7. Collections Central
The Collections Central section of the museum features rotating exhibits from over 29,000 cultural and historic artifacts including this Brazilian cargo boat and Alaskan totem pole.
The wigwam, inspired by those made and used by Native Americans, on the gorgeous rooftop is an inviting structure to play house in and take shelter from the summer sun.
The Color Cove invites kids to grab some crayons and draw all over the walls and floors. Where else can kids do that? It’s amazing. I fully enjoyed looking at everyone’s art work.
There’s also a lovely playground a block away in Brower Park. In order to get to the museum from Manhattan, we took the 3 train and admired the beautiful and row and stand-alone houses, the murals, and the other sights of Crown Heights on our walk over from the Kingston stop.