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 $20, you get a package of five single-admission tickets (a $43.75 value) to The Magic House in Kirkwood.
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, 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.
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. A generous package of five tickets makes today's Groupon a fantastical summer family outing. There's free parking, and crowds can fill up the venue quickly, so be sure to plan accordingly.
The Magic House won Best Kids' Museum in GoCityKids Parent Picks 2009 and four awards from them in 2008. It received four-star average ratings from Yahoo! Travelers and TripAdvisors. Yelpers and Yahoo! Locals give them a 4.5-star average, and Insider Pagers give it a five-star average. It has over 11,000 fans on Facebook.
- 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. – GoCityKids
- …all exhibits offered something for all ages. The exhibits were educational and fun! – the54hefels, TripAdvisor
- 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.