Of all of the places I have gone for a getaway with the kids, few have as much to offer to the Kenneth Watrous family in Las Vegas as the Discovery Museum. This is a place that has gone to great lengths to make learning fun. It is wall to wall interesting exhibits that can be interacted with and experienced. How much the kids get out of each of the exhibits in the way of actual knowing things is maybe something else, my kids are a bit young to really be grilling them on what they learned, but I do pay attention to what they talk about and what exhibits they want to stay longer at.
Anyway, this is a fabulous place with lots to do and with enough variety to manage some smaller attention spans while still being interesting for the adults too. You can go time and again and not feel like you’ve already seen everything. A yearly pass is worth it if you plan to go more than a couple of times, and there’s enough to see that you could easily do that.
There are two types of exhibits that the museum hosts, traveling and static. The traveling exhibit, as the name suggests, changes from time to time and they have a calendar that will clue you into what will be around and when. The traveling exhibits are more interesting because they are newer and they change, but they are also less experienced and practical than the static exhibits so it is a trade off. Both can be visited for the same price of admission so there is always something old and something new at the Museum for the kids to see.
As it is an educational building, there are a lot of different groups that come through and the weekdays can be crowded if going during the day when different field trips from around the city and state might be coming through. The static exhibits have a whole variety of activities and some are themed more by what is being done and others by a more overall thought. The themed places, like the water world where kids can interact with water and water powered devices makes sense. The eco city is about sustainable technology and has some good learning options and also a variety of more conceptual thoughts for kids.
The other type of static exhibits are like the patents pending exhibit. This is a much more broad term. It is about problem solving and giving the kids a variety of tools and ways to defeat a problem. This is less of a theme than the other things where the idea is to work with one medium or problem. I liked this area a lot but it is also a place that can be frustrating because it is more about fixing something and not just interacting. Or maybe it was just frustrating for me, the kids enjoyed trying and watching things break, especially the place where you try to build a structure out of blocks that can withstand an earthquake. I wanted to see something stand, they wanted to watch something fall over. So, maybe I was a bit old for that one. As long as they are having fun.
Because this is a museum, it doesn’t really have a lot of food options. There is one area that offers some vending machines. They also offer a map and schedule for some food trucks. Mostly this is a between meals place. Probably want to be aware and have some snacks for the car and head out to food after. While there are a lot of moving parts in the museum, I didn’t see it as particularly dangerous. If the kids get rowdy and throw things in places, that could be a problem, but more the fault of the parents than the museum. The Water World area also offers a variety of gear to wear to prevent the larger and more immediate problems of getting soaked. The kids will still get wet, just not soaked. We usually save this exhibit for last, so that they aren’t wet during the rest of our time at the museum. I’m not sure kids should play with a bunch of water exhibits and stay totally dry, but again, I don’t hold the museum responsible for how involved the kids get with any exhibit or place.
Overall the Discovery Children’s Museum is a place you can feel great about taking the kids and watching them learn and interact with technology, ideas, and even other kids.