Monday, April 7, 2014

Glazer Children's Museum - Tampa, FL

Groupon recently ran a deal for a family membership to Glazer Children's Museum, a science museum in downtown Tampa, so we decided to check it out!

Since it is located in downtown, it does not have a dedicated parking lot.  The best place to park is the garage just across the street.  It's fairly inexpensive and is a short walk to the entrance of the museum.

 The building itself looks gigantic on the outside, but is just two stories of play.  There is still a lot to do and is perfect for my children, ages 2 and 5.  The first floor is where you check in and get wrist bands for the adults.  After we were banded, we headed over to the first exhibit. Kids Port, which is a giant hands on water table.  We built mini sailboats and raced them in the water and navigated our toy balls up, down and all around.  In one corner of this area is a smaller children's section with books, a small slide and a handful of baby toys for the little ones.  My daughter had a good time playing in here.  In the other corner is a "cruise ship".  You can virtually navigate the ship to it's destination and then jump on land and play in the "sand box".  This I LOVED because the sand was actually little bits of rubber, making it easy to clean off when we were done and a little bouncy to walk on.  

Section for small children

We spent a couple hours inside the museum before heading outside to play in Curtis Hixon Park.  The kids had a great time running in and out of the water fountains and I loved the playground there as well.

Upstairs is where all the action is.  There are tons of rooms with different kinds of play.  My favorite is the grocery store where the kids can fill up a shopping cart and then scan their items at checkout.  Very cute!  In the same area is a Veterinarian Office, Doctor's office, Outback Cafe (for making your own pretend pizza's and sandwiches), and a fire station.  Other rooms on the second floor include a dance floor, electricity station, a giant jungle gym, garden, and my son's favorite, racing to see if you are faster than certain animals.

The only place to eat in the museum is a small Subway on the first floor.  While I like Subway, I wish  it was bigger or there were more options.  During lunch time, it gets very busy and the line is very long.  I have never seen more than 2 people making sandwiches at a time.
The Subway is in the corner in the back of the picture
The downside: it's very hard to keep an eye on multiple children on the second floor.  My kids don't always want to do the same things, so I found it very difficult to handle them on my own.  I need to bring another set of eyes and hands when I go again.  (It also didn't help that there were about 3 different summer camps there at the same time)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Legoland California- Miniland

One of the most unique and memorable areas of LEGOLAND is MINILAND.  This is the centerpiece of the park.  Within the MINILAND there are detailed depictions of major cities from across the United States.  These include Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City to name a few.  We took advantage of a few rides and walked around the Star Wars section of MINILAND.   
As you walk down the ramp from the upper section of the park guests are treated to the various lands that come to life in the first six Star Wars movies.  They are first greeted by life size versions of Darth Vader and R2-D2.  As visitors turn the corner and walk down the ramp they are treated to the various lands that come to life in the first six Star Wars movies.  The detail within these models is amazing.  There are representations of Hoth, Ewok Village, Endor and many others.  Some of the mini figures and ships move.  The displays are set low to the ground so even children in strollers would be able to get a good look without a lot of effort. 

This section of the park alone is a treat for anyone who is a LEGO or Star Wars fan.  The colors and settings where the models are placed are so carefully developed that even a non Start Wars junkie will see things that drum up certain memories from the past.