We went to Crown Center recently, and while you can spend a lot there, you can also have a completely free, yet still jam packed day.
There are a lot of activities there for kids, like the aquarium, which was a bit pricey, $37 for two of us. It wasn't big, but you could easily spend a couple of hours there if you wanted to. It is aimed at kids and there are plenty of things to climb on and in.
Plus how often are you encouraged to pet a star fish?
My tip is to take your time, it is small, so don't rush it, by following the crowd that is working its way through from one display to the next. Stick around and enjoy the displays, because there aren't that many of them.
But our favorite part of Crown Center is the interactive play area that changes themes a few times a year. When we went earlier, it was a tribute to Oz. I've not been very often, this is only our third visit. The first was years ago when the play area was set up as a fairy tale land.
This time, it was all about recycling, reusing, and saving the planet. Complete with bicycles to pedal and power a light post, a pretend farmer's market to encourage eating local foods, a little play house where you learn to pack a lunch in reusable containers, and a life size doll that you could try clothes on and sort to see what needed to be donated to a thrift store when they didn't fit.
Then, you could play dress up yourself in the thrift store, or sit and read the books that had been donated.
There was an energy efficient car you could pretend to fill with gas and check the tire pressure, and a laboratory to learn about water resources.
Sugarwings lives in a world of make believe, so when she saw all of these props, she was in heaven. We could have spent days there. Or at least she could've.... My limit was about a half hour. But we stretched it to about an hour and a half, because she was thrilled with every aspect of the place. And it was NOT at all crowded. When we visited the Dorothy exhibit, that was packed. A more popular theme, I guess. Plus we went on a Saturday.
Fridays at Crown Center this summer are also featuring a free concert and outdoor movie. We didn't stay for that, but did have a snack in the Crayola Cafe and shopped in the Crayola store, where we could do some free art projects.
There is also a free craft area called Kaleidoscope that we have never made it to. Next time, we will plan extra time for that. Hallmark supplies the materials and crafts, and from what I saw the other kids carrying around, they were high quality, good projects.
Interested in the journal swap? Info here.