My children are fairly patient when it comes to looking at things in glass cases. But, like most kids, what they’re really itching to do is get their little fingers on the goods behind the glass. So much learning goes on when a child can feel the texture of an object, examine something from all angles, and formulate questions about what they are holding. The University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History has an entire room dedicated to getting kids up close and personal with objects from the natural world.
Most of these objects are not going to be the sort you can find in your own backyard – unless you’re accustomed to digging up ancient mammoth tusks and elephant skulls, that is. Dozens of drawers around the room hold tinier treasures waiting to be found. Sort through piles of quartz, fossils and petrified wood. My daughters played dress-up with the animal pelts while my son got goofy in a terrarium. Museum staff are eager to strike up conversations with kids about the exhibits and – if you’re brave – take out some living specimens to meet.
Beyond the Touch and See Discovery Room, the venerable Diorama Halls are filled with animals native to Minnesota in beautiful natural habitats. These are the objects in glass cases my children will patiently observe; kid-friendly scavenger hunts and activity guides are available to liven up the lesson.
Bell Museum Free on Sundays
I have yet to get to the part of this review where I point out that admission to this family outing at the Bell can be had for FREE most Sundays of the year! This does not include admission to the ExploraDome mini-planetarium show. Ticket information for the ExploraDome and the show schedule can be found here. I highly recommend including the ExploraDome in your budget Sunday fun!
This article was originally published by Anne Kingston on April 26, 2013.
Birthday Parties at the Bell Museum
Birthday Parties start at $200 and last 1.5 hours. 45 minutes are spent on a museum tour and 45 minutes are spent in the birthday room. Party packages include a reserved parking space, digital invitations, room decorations and party favor bags and one free adult per child.