At The Children's Museum of Wilmington, kids have so much fun they won't even know they're learning. In each and every hands on educational exhibit, children take a central role, scanning purchases in the grocery store, giving teddy bears their yearly checkups, and experimenting with art-making media in the studio. Children are allowed to roam freely, as they direct their own learning experiences. Here's what you need to know before you go.
Size: 17,000 square feet
Eye Catcher: Ahoy Wilmington! features a pirate ship, where kids can fire the cannon, swab the deck, and dig for treasure
Permanent Mainstay: the Toothasaurus Dental Exhibit keeps kids up-to-date on dental health as they care for a dinosaur's enormous teeth
Don't Miss: the Grocery Store, where tots can role-play as customers or staff, even filling orders for the play diner upstairs
Hidden Gem: at the Forest Friends Toddler Treehouse, kids four and under don animal costumes, carom down slides, and put together puzzles
Pro Tip: the museum hosts birthday parties that include an educational activity and free admission for all guests
Special Programs: in addition to the hands-on exhibits, the museum hosts activities such as preschool science experiments and cooking classes for kids
It's natural for kids to engage in creative play, becoming architects, veterinarians, swashbuckling pirates, or tenured professors inside their own imaginations. The Children's Museum of South Carolina just helps them learn while they do it. Perhaps that's why the museum?like the scores of children who visit it?has continued to grow since first opening in 1994. In two decades, the museum as expanded from a small shopping-mall space to a 7,500-square-foot facility packed with interactive exhibits.
In the Sea Turtles Dig the Dark exhibit, kids crawl through a sandy tunnel to see a nest of loggerhead turtle eggs and learn about endangered-species conservation. Meanwhile, the Hurricane Simulator recreates a massive storm's 78-mile-per-hour winds, and the USS Kids-A-Float exhibit explores the parts of a boat and how South Carolina's pirates might have weighed their treasure. The museum also hosts events that range from storytelling to weekly hands-on workshops. Though most of this learning happens on-site, CMSC representatives travel to local schools to lead five-week science camps.