Before hands-on exhibits, museum-goers were forced to learn via their noses, rendering exhibits on historic skunk enclosures and prehistoric college dormitories particularly unpleasant. Put your digits to good use with today's Groupon: for $6, you get two admissions to A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village (a $12 value), located in Riverfront Park.
A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, named for Erector Set–inventor A.C. Gilbert, welds together learning and leisure through a variety of fun, hands-on exhibits aimed at kiddies. Start a weathercore band with the South American rainwheel on the Musical Ensemble Deck exhibit, or scale the 52-foot edifice that is one of the world's largest Erector Set towers, boasting three slides, a maze, and a space-time wormhole. Budding scientists can climb inside a giant model of an animal cell and examine DNA, and the Mammoth Dig exhibit delves into the bones of prehistoric beasts. The Gilbert House, the former home of A.C. Gilbert's uncle, houses such attractions as the Bubble Room, where children can ensconce themselves in a giant bubble. Opening January 22, the house's Oregon Room boasts a beach area, a petroglyph wall, and a miniature Willamette Valley, allowing guests to relive the time they accidentally became giants.
Frommer’s featured A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village giving it a highly recommended rating, Yelpers give it an average of 4.5 stars, Insider Pagers give it a five-star average, and six TripAdvisors give the attraction an average of four owl eyes:
- Fun and educational, what more could a mom want? – Mandi M., Yelp
- My son loves going to AC Gilberts Discovery Village because of all the interactive toys and exhibits that he can play with. As a mom, I love all the educational and interactive toys and exhibits they have there. It is a great place to go to let the kids have fun and learn! – Jaque E., Insider Pages
A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village
A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village is a hands-on children's museum spread across three historical houses that reside in Riverfront Park. It is named after A.C. Gilbert, a Salem native, toy magnate, and inventor of the Erector Set. True to a life spent creating educational and scientific toys, his namesake museum provides a place for kids to interact with exhibits that encourage play and provoke thought. From a giant model of an animal cell to a faux paleontological dig full of ancient bones to musical instruments like a South American rainwheel, the museum's stations encompass a number of scientific and cultural disciplines—though little ones might only interpret each activity as fun. Furthermore, youth can heal stuffed animals in the Village Vet Room or scale a 52-foot edifice that is one of the world's largest Erector Set towers, boasting three slides and a maze.