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