Kids can easily grow bored of typical museums, where wax Neanderthals coldly refuse challenges to play Red Rover and the dinosaurs look depressingly malnourished and skeletal. Encourage educational engagement with today's Groupon: for $75, you get a one year family membership and gift basket (a $170 value) at The Magic House in Kirkwood. Your family-style membership includes the following:
- Free admission for two adults and up to four children from the same household for the entire year
- 10 free guest passes
- Free admission to more than 160 museums around the country that are part of the Association of Children's Museums reciprocal program
- 10% discount on birthday parties and summer camp
- 10% discount in the museum shop and picnic basket café
- Free subscription to the Fun Times newsletter
- Invitations to members-only events and discounts on special events and programs
One of the most acclaimed children's museums in the country, the 30-year-old Magic House has absorbed more than 10 million guests in a delightful interactive feast for kids' hungry senses. A major expansion a year ago more than doubled the size of the Victorian-mansion-style museum, creating space for even more fun, hands-on exhibits that encourage experimentation, imagination, and problem-solving skills. Watch hair poof into a static cloud when youngsters touch the electronic metal ball, a goofy display that demonstrates the wonders of conductivity and why fabric softeners are an affront to nature. Parents will find themselves having just as much fun encasing themselves in enormous bubbles, solving mysteries using forensics and secret passageways, and ordering air strikes on people who text during movies from a facsimile of the president's desk. Young prodigies, meanwhile, can create a musical medley by rolling a ball to make different sounds, or engage in the musical chairs game, which sharpens ears and prepares juveniles for budget airline seating. Recently arrived are the traveling exhibit Super Kids Save the World, (through January 17th, 2011) a display educating kids on the importance of caring for their planet, and Children's Village Hospital, where young 'uns learn about the inner workings of a hospital while dressed in scrubs and lab coats—discovering along the way that sad montages set to emo music occur far less frequently in real hospitals.
Included with this deal is a holiday gift basket, complete with bubbles, a squishy ball, and a dazzling kaleidoscope, all presented in a plastic bucket, inspiring out-of-season longings for outdoor play, while the winter-themed stuffed animal will occupy kids till spring with endless days of non-political tea parties. The Magic House provides a unique bonding experience for parents and whippersnappers of any age, a synthesis of the entertaining and the educational not seen since the abolishment of Supreme Court basketball tournaments. There's free parking, and crowds can fill up the venue quickly, so be sure to plan accordingly.
ParentsConnect named The Magic House St. Louis's Best Museum in both 2009 and 2010. Yelpers and Yahoo Locals give the museum an average of 4.5 stars, while Insider Pagers give it a perfect five-star average. The Magic House also has more than 14,000 Facebook fans:
- We really enjoy the fact that The Magic House is truly fun for all ages. We were there with three adults and two children, ages four and six, and we were all kept quite entertained. – ParentsConnect
- You could spend an entire day here and still have more to do. The pretend play and imagination that comes out of just a little while at this place is amazing. – K.D., Insider Pages
The Magic House
Though built as a private home in 1901, the Victorian mansion stood vacant for years—until its first children's hands-on exhibits opened to the public more than 35 years ago. Since then, The Magic House's curators have worked to engage children of all ages in learning and creative thought through a range of interactive multimedia exhibits. Their exhibits enable visitors to service cars, climb treehouse ladders, and go fishing in a child-centric community, or play with pumps and pipes in a waterworks playground. They can also climb a three-story fairy-tale beanstalk or use detective skills, fingerprint analyses, and secret passageways to solve mysteries.
Museum staffers also organize a range of themed birthday parties, during which attendees play and complete special tasks as time travelers, scientists, or fairy-tale nobility. Family programs encompass monthly visits from outside professional artists, and special events designed to get the whole family moving. Visitors can refuel for exploration at the on-site Picnic Basket Cafe, whose menu highlights whole grains and healthy ingredients.