San Antonio Summer Getaway : The DoSeum of Course!

San Antonio Summer Getaway : The DoSeum of Course!

Just as the school year was ending this past year we decided to purchase a family membership to the DoSeum, San Antonio's museum for kids, at its new location off of Broadway Street. We purchased our membership just in time for summer break and it was one of the best entertainment decisions we have made so far this summer.  The family membership has already paid for itself and there are still plenty of museum visits to look forward to in the coming months!  We have been spending a lot of time in downtown San Antonio, Texas lately and the DoSeum is a great place to be able to drop in and explore while we are in the area.  Visiting the Doseum is a refreshing break from the Texas heat with its indoor, air-conditioned exhibits, and lots of educational activities for kids of all ages to engage in..

 Using our imagination and role playing skills at the little town grocery store museum exhibit at the Doseum a museum for kids in downtown San Antonio Texas.  Kids exploring and learning science, technology, engineering, and math.

Little Town : Real Life Little Town Role Playing Exhibit

Little town is the first exhibit stop in the hall when you are visiting the Doseum.  There is an attendant at the gate of Little Town to greet you and your children and this makes it a great place for parents to feel safe about letting their kid explore freely as the attendant will not allow a child to exit Little Town without an adult.  The attendant also manages the number of visitors in Little town so it does not become too overwhelming.  Little Town features a large circular Boulevard with real-life businesses built on a child size scale.  There is a construction site, an airport, mail center, veterinary office, auto shop, food truck, bank, San Antonio trolley, and an HEB of course!  Even my older children love to explore and discover new things in Little Town with the younger children.  It's always our favorite first stop when visiting the Doseum.

Even my older children love to explore and discover new things in Little Town with the younger children.  It's always our favorite first stop when visiting the Doseum.

 Spy academy provides opportunities for exploration, observation and repetition with activities in logical reasoning, math, pattern recognition and early algebra.  Kids, pre teens, teenagers, family.

Spy Academy : Math and Reasoning for all Ages

Next up on the path is the Spy Academy.  This exhibit has age-specific activities for ages 5-11 and an adjacent room for toddlers to play in while older children explore and solve mysteries across the way.  There is a spy house with secrets hidden throughout, and a secret passageway with a laser maze when you crack the code.  Younger children can entertain themselves climbing through the secret air duct, making maps, dressing up like spies, taking measurements and solving geometry puzzles.

 Teaches math skills such as logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and early algebraic thinking—all through the lens of a Spy. STEM Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.  Education at the Museum in San Antonio Texas

The older children participate in more challenging problems by collecting codes throughout the exhibit and solving problems which give them access to "Headquarters" where they can solve higher level puzzles and receive personalized Spy Academy badges. My oldest boys love returning to this exhibit and re-engaging every time we visit.

 Dream Tomorrow Today a time machine into the future, designing cities, shaping community values, role playing future careers, seeing, doing, imagining and being the future.  This is a summer exhibit for kids in partnership with the San Antonio Texas tricentennial celebreation. 

New Exhibit : Dream Tomorrow Today!

This is the newest thing to do at the Doseum this summer!  When you first step into the exhibit you enter a time machine of re-purposed and recycled trash created by the Doseum's resident artist.  It is intended to prompt kids to think about sustainability and recycling and my kids thought it was really interesting to see some everyday items re-purposed in ways they may not have imagined.

There is a recycled noodle forest to walk through and a flower field slide to go down to have some fun on.  The kids enjoyed coloring cars and houses on the provided coloring sheets and turning them into the attendant who scans them in and then the images appear on a large projector wall in a live-action city where the kids can watch their very own creations come to life.  There is also a giant bright light board where the kids can remove and replace giant colored pegs, a green screen and costumes with a live video recording where they can watch themselves on TV, and a job generator that the kids input their interests and a future job is generated for your DOer!

 Imagine it, play pretend, dinosoaurs, princess, space, moon, stars, green screen, library, reading and storytelling activites.

IMAGINE IT! : Creative Imagination and Language

We usually spend a LOT of time here with the toddlers while the big boys linger just next door in Spy Academy.  In the Imagine It exhibit the kids can dress up as dinosaurs, prince and princesses, wizards, aliens and whatever their imaginations can come up with.  The setting in this exhibit is very space like with low lighting, occasional thunder or falling meteor sounds, craters to climb on, a castle to run through and another green screen with live video to make the imagination come to life.  Inside this exhibit is also a library with lots of books and comfortable seating and story prompts that older children can follow along with.  There is also 3-D animation tools and props to help older children bring their stories to life.

 The Sensations Studio makes sound and light come alive.  By playing with a wide variety of light and sound phenomena, kids explore the intersection between science and art.  Although their attention may be focused on making music with at the DJ Station, or bouncing a laser around on mirrors, students are gaining an intuition for sound and light concepts.

Sensations Studio : Playing with Sound and Light

Next up is the Sensations Studio with plenty of sound and light experiments to engage in.   It begins with a soundproof room where the children can make music and sounds as loud as they would like and try out different instruments.  There is a sound DJ station where the kids can capture sounds and mix them together, a UV light lab for mixing and testing colors and reactions, LED light ropes to walk through, green screens, shadow play, and a disco ball. There are so many light, sound and sensory engagements in this exhibit to learn from and explore and each one caters to a wide range of ages.

 Children learn about their communities, their environments and the world through exploration. With maps, models and shifting scales, Explore will encourage children to sharpen their 21st-century discovery skills by exploring the man-made physical aspects of their lives in San Antonio, learning how we live and work together and connecting to other parts of the globe. In Explore, collaboration and interaction among visitors strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving.

Innovation Station : Imagine, Create and Build

Once you make your way upstairs the floor opens up to a wide array of building materials.  There is a variety of building blocks, Jenga, dominoes, balls and small machines EVERYWHERE!  The idea is to encourage kids to tinker with things and create with their imaginations.  There is an interactive robot dance floor and a pulley contraption where the kids can place their creation on the diagonal conveyor belt, watch their creation climb to the top and eventually fall to the landing pad.   This was one of our favorites, the little ones repeated this activity over and over.

 5 to 7 years-old: Launch It Up-- Kids build objects that they can float or launch upward in a stream of air.  At Float It Up, kids play with a slow-moving tube of air, and at Launch It Up, the air moves faster.  Using everyday materials like cardboard, straws, or coffee filters, kids can make objects that gently rise like a helicopter or launch out of the tube like a rocket!

Another favorite of the big boys was the launch it up activity which is a wind tunnel machine and you create an airplane, parachute or whatever else you can dream up and set it to fly in the wind tunnel.  It's not as easy as it sounds to create a contraption that will fly in the wind tunnel and it encouraged the boys to stay and continually redesign their creations until they reached a level of mastery they were satisfied with. I call that a STEM win!

 This model building activity is rooted in the idea that a community is composed of individual parts that can be fit together in multiple ways. The exhibit provides a self-facilitated challenge for groups to work together to build individual cities—with the option for groups to link their cities together in a larger regional model. The activity is sequenced: kids select elements for the city, fit the parts together, and then reflect upon the city they have created. 

Explore Exhibit : Navigation, Geography and Building

This exhibit is also on the second floor and it features an extra large foam map of the United States which is a lot of fun for kids to carry around and manipulate.  There is an interactive map that the kids used to zoom into various geographical locations and there are different videos around the room with people from that region explaining the cultural relevance of their particular area.  I thought it was interesting that a live camera is on and you can view and interact with other people in live time at the children's museum in Mexico City.  Kids can also build their own cities and it's components on a large Megaopolis table.  The table features an overhead camera so the builders can get a birds-eye view of their construction and add city elements, roads, and buildings.  There is a huge ball and air tunnel room adjacent to this exhibit so smaller children can play while older siblings focus and engage in these exhibits in depth.  There is something for everyone at every turn.

 The DoSeum is San Antonio's only museum just for children where kids learn by doing, creating and tinkering, instead of just looking and listening.

In addition to all the amazing and engaging exhibits inside, there is a water exhibit outside featuring several water features, fountains, buckets, step stools, balls and many other items to encourage children to experiment with water and it's movements.  There is a large playground, a natural rock man-made river feature to play and splash in, a bamboo forest to walk through, a tree house to explore and a life-size chess board.  Bakery Lorraine has a cafe inside the museum that offers healthy lunch options, drinks, snacks, and desserts!  We never forget to stop at the gift shop on our way out so each child can choose a meaningful object to bring home and enhance the visit.  We will be headed back to the Doseum very soon to continue our explorations and learning!

 By encouraging kids to use their imaginations as an expressive and creative-thinking tool, Imagine It! unleashes their story-making skills and support language development — both oral and aural. Imagine It! addresses the multiple pathways to story-making, with “try-on” characters, environment-based scenarios, and connections to the written word. These skills help foster a love of reading and writing for the next generation.

Do you love to explore children's museums?  What is your favorite part? Let me know in the comments!

-Jessica

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