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 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!
The Waterplay permanent exhibit at the Children’s Museum just underwent a huge renovation and reopened this Spring. If you ever saw the old Waterplay, you will not even recognize the room anymore! The only remaining feature is the Build-a-Fountain component. The rest of the exhibit has been completely redesigned to allow children to experiment with water in some very imaginative ways.
The central feature of the new Waterplay is a long, flowing channel of water that meanders its way around one-half of the room. It starts at a giant water wheel that the kids can spin and dump water into the channels. The water then flows along a pathway filled with toys. Children can practice making dams with blocks (or just stack them like my 18 month old), pour with cups, and play with the faucets that consistently dump water along the channel.
The channel ends at a drop-off where the water flows over the edge and drains into grates on the floor. My son spent a good 30 minutes at this spot running his fingers through the water, filling up cups, pouring them, and watching toys flow over the edge. He also got very, VERY wet here!
There are a ton of other creative water features in the room. There is a Rain Meander that sprays water from above while kids can don a raincoat, grab an umbrella, and walk under it. My son loved the Vortex, which is a spinning column of water that you can drop items into from above and watch how they behave in it. My daughter loved the Shaved Ice Table where kids can smush shaved ice into creatively-shaped ice cube trays. She also enjoyed Water Painting on the chalkboard.
Overall, I thought the Museum did an excellent job with the renovation. There is enough variety in water activities to suit every child. For example, my daughter HATES getting wet at these types of places. So she happily remained at the Shaved Ice Table for most of the time, relatively dry but still engaged. On the other hand, my son thrives on messes and energetically got himself dripping wet within two minutes of our arrival. Which brings up an important point: the new Waterplay will get your child much, MUCH wetter than the old one. I highly suggest bringing a change of clothes and/or saving it for your last stop at the Museum!
Anyway, I’m not going to give away all the new surprises at Waterplay, but thought I’d highlight some of our favorites. Enjoy!© Copyright Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
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