What to Expect on a Visit to the Glazer Children’s Museum
Pick up a map at the Visitor Services as you enter this fabulous world of discovery through play. First stop will probably be the KidsPort where a flowing river invites kids to make dams, make waves and experiment with tug boats, cargo cranes and pulleys. Water play includes turning wheels for water flow, operating paddles, watching boat races and operating an Archimedes Screw to carry water up to feed a waterwheel. If you’re worried about kids getting wet before the day has barely begun, there are cute sets of oilskins for them to wear.
Older children will be fascinated by the Rain or Shine weather creator. Choose three buttons such as rain, wind and thunder and hey-presto – the clouds above generate real wind, fine rain, lightning flashes and noisy thunder to order!
Under 4s will enjoy the Tugboat Tots, complete with ship’s wheel, levers to pull and buttons to press, and there’s a sand corner for barefoot play in the Cruise Ship area.
Suspended above the sand play is the Water’s Journey – a series of raindrop-shaped platforms in scramble nets which older children can scramble up and through in safety to quite a height. Every activity has an educational aspect showing what lives in the wetlands and what an aquifer is. Adults will be as engrossed as the kids they are accompanying!
On the second floor there’s plenty more to keep everyone happily occupied in the Art Smart Lab. Visit the interactive Sports Corner where you can race an animal or be the goalie and see yourself in action on the live screen. Some of the high-tech media activities are sponsored by Bay News 9, Bright House Networks and Telemundo Tampa. One of their amazing exhibits is the chance to do a local weather report “live” on TV reading form a teleprompter. Kids will certainly enjoying seeing themselves on TV!
A series of exhibits offer role play opportunities for children such as piloting a plane complete with uniforms, hats and virtual cockpit screens. Further along the gallery, the Design and Build has everything you need to be a plumber, builder or crane operator. The City of Play Pretend includes a mini-Publix with shelves stocked with groceries and checkout scanners, a veterinary clinic with plenty of cuddly animals to x-ray and treat, a hospital, Central Bank and a Firehouse with pole, fire engine and all the gear.
We’re not done yet! Little engineers can construct the perfect paper airplane with the help of museum educators then test fly it in the wind tunnel.
Special daily events take place in the My House, Your House Theater, such as hands-on cookery programs. While whipping up a dessert, kids can learn about cuisine and cultures in other countries. The Twinkle Theatre has lights, sound effects, costumes, curtains and props for groups to produce their own drama.
If you stay until 4.30 p.m. you can join in the end-of-day parade with songs and dancing led by the imaginative museum staff. You probably won’t be allowed to leave without visiting the Museum Gift Store which has some excellent educational games and projects.
New plans for the Children’s Museum in 2015 include an extensive walk-in Wizard of Oz exhibit on the third floor. This area has superb views across Curtis Hixon Park to the Hillsborough River and the Moorish-influenced minarets of Plant Hall at the University of Tampa, now a National Historic Landmark.
Winter visitors can combine the museum with the pop-up ice rink which is erected right next to the museum from late November through early January.