Attention parents who love to save a few bucks and find a cool new place to take the kids that will keep them occupied (educationally!) for hours: it’s time to pay a visit to The Works, a hands-on engineering museum for kids in Bloomington.
First, the savings bit: The Works hosts select “Pre-K Mondays” during the school year where your kids (any age over 2) are admitted for just $4. Regular price admission – $8 – still applies for adults. Kids under 3 are free.
2015-2016 PreK Monday schedule:
Second, why you should go: Aside from the savings, there are museum activities specially suggested for junior engineers ages 3-5. There are also no school groups scheduled before 12pm on Pre-K Mornings to ensure that the youngest visitors have a relatively quiet experience (very quiet, in my experience). Pre-K Mornings also make a wonderful homeschool field trip for older kids.
And the exhibits: are all hands-on, toddler proof, and a lot of fun! My son’s favorite has consistently been the K’NEX building station, where you can design a vehicle and then time it on a racetrack. My older girls love to navigate the Sensor Maze – can they make it through without tripping the sensors? Next door, in Studio Remix, the girls can activate the beat by bouncing around on sensors built into the furniture. My toddler has been effortlessly happy building ice palaces in the corner of foam blocks and belting out “Let It Go” to her heart’s content. Other exhibits play with gears and pulleys – imagine my 3-year-old’s surprise when she could lift her mom clear off the floor with a little aid from a pulley and some elbow grease! Don’t forget about the tinkering they can do in the Design Lab. And, The Works has just recently added this amazing K’NEX contraption that had my kids absolutely mesmerized. Get a taste of it in the following video:
Other details: The facility is very family-friendly, with an accessible lunchroom on the bottom floor open to all museum guests. We always pack a lunch to bring along. (Note: aside from a soda vending machine, no food is sold at the museum.) Parking is available free of charge in the museum lot.
Finally: If you can’t make it to Pre-K Mornings at The Works, consider coming on one of the many days that something special is going on for all ages. This coming Saturday, for instance, the museum is inviting curious kids to dissect electronic equipment during Tech Take-Apart Day (Nov. 8, noon – 4pm). Get a list of all upcoming events at The Works here.
The Works Museum
9740 Grand Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55420
Current Hours: Mondays, Thursdays & Fridays 9am – 3pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday noon – 5pm
Regular Admission: $8/all ages over 2 years. Kids admitted for $4 on Pre-K Mondays.