Our family’s membership to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh expires this Spring and we were seriously considering just letting it lapse.   We have been to the Museum hundreds of times now and I think we were all getting a little bored with the place.  However, I decided to give it one last chance since I know that they have added a ton of new things to do there over the last couple of months including a newly renovated Waterplay, a traveling Clifford exhibit, and new tot programming.  So on a rainy May morning we headed to the Museum to explore its new features.  The kids had so much fun we ended up renewing our membership that very day!

Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit

The new Clifford exhibit was developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum in collaboration with Scholastic, Inc.  It will be at the Museum until September and is located in the Changing Exhibits room. As you approach the room, you can see a giant Clifford model.  My kids freaked when they saw it (in a good way!).  They went running towards him so fast my son took a faceplant and he barely even cried.  He just picked himself up and staggered into the exhibit, gravitating toward The Big Red Dog with his arms outstretched.

Clifford and Emily Elizabeth
Clifford and Emily Elizabeth
Pretend house with removable flowers in window boxes
Pretend house with removable flowers in window boxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clifford exhibit is laid out to resemble a pretend island town. There are a variety of pretend buildings, including

a) a house with pretend flowers in window boxes and pretend garden tools,

b) a pretend school with a lots of Clifford books inside that you can read to your kids,

School
School

c) a pretend seaside burger shack where you can sit at the counter and peruse a menu while your the kids go inside of the pretend restaurant kitchen and cook you up a bite to eat,

Inside the restaurant kitchen
Inside the restaurant kitchen
Playing at the Burger Shack's counter
Playing at the Burger Shack’s counter

d) a pretend ferryboat where kids can don life jackets and pretend to drive,

Boat
Boat

e) a pretend stage where kids can put on costumes and play musical instruments,

f) and a pretend mail system.  There is a post office with mail carrier costumes and mailbags, a letter-writing station, and a network of mailboxes distributed throughout the room

Pretend post office with mail carrier costumes and bags
Pretend post office with mail carrier costumes and bag
Letter-writing station
Letter-writing station
Mailbox
Mailbox

My kids happily explored the new Clifford exhibit for nearly forty minutes!  I thought it was a really excellent addition to the Museum for the following reasons:

1) It does an excellent job of incorporating activities for different ages.  For example, the imaginative elements and the letter-writing station appeal to the older toddlers and the preschoolers.  The younger toddlers enjoy some of the gross motor stuff, such as the small slide on Clifford’s tail and playing with the large dog bones in the cushioned dog bowl.

Small slide on Clifford's tail
Small slide on Clifford’s tail
Soft dog bones located in a cushioned pretend dogbowl
Soft dog bones located in a cushioned pretend dogbowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also a dedicated area for babies (although it is not secured from the rest of the room, so keep a close eye).

Baby area
Baby area

2)  I also really liked that the Exhibit incorporates imaginative elements.  I have long thought the Children’s Museum needs more pretend play for toddlers.  We have visited other American Children Museums that have pretend schools, houses, grocery stores, hospitals, etc… and my kids FLIPPED for them.  I hope the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum will take a hint from this exhibit and add some imaginative features to its regular collection.

Anyway, there is plenty more to do in the Clifford Exhibit, but I’m not going to give it all away…I hope you get a chance to explore it with your little one!

Coming in the next few days…the renovated Waterplay exhibit!

© Copyright Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi

4 Comments on Spring Brings New Fun to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: Clifford Exhibit

  1. Hi, I have recently started reading your blog because my husband, daughter(Iris, 17months) and I are relocating to pittsburgh next month. We are currently living in Seattle and live inside the city in one of two most desired neighborhoods to live. I was wondering if you had a few suggestions to places to rent in the city that can be reasonable but still fun. if you had any suggestions, that would be really helpful. We do love squirrel hill but are there other neighborhoods similar? Any north neighborhoods that are affordable? Thank you. We are looking forward to visiting the Children’s museum.

    Autumn

    • Autumn,
      First off, welcome to Pittsburgh! It is a great place to live with a family and I sincerely hope you will come to love it as much as we do. Secondly, thanks for reading my blog! I hope you will find it helpful when you relocate here! I would be delighted to help you get your bearings within the city and suggest possible neighborhoods. Would you like to send your email address to pittsburghmommyblog@gmail.com and I can send you a bunch of info! I have an 18 month old son so maybe our little ones can be buddies!

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