Visitors act out original stories filled with imaginative characters and scenes brought to life through costumes, props and story prompts. The flexible space can support puppet shows, shadow play, or even karaoke as well as dramatic visitor performances of all kinds.
This area also serves as a demonstration area where the staff can hold scheduled or impromptu live demonstrations. Captivating activities such as scientific demonstrations can be presented in front of audience of all ages, connecting them with fun, engaging STEM-related experiments.
Loose Parts Playground
Giant construction blocks, tubes, panels, and materials of all sizes encourage visitors to put their creative and engineering skills to the test.
Different design challenges encourage creative problem solving, prompting visitors to build bridges, arches, multistory structures, or their own inventions. In addition, the scale and design of the props encourage collaboration and communication skills among visitors.
Early Childhood Play Area
This area is devoted to the youngest of visitors, aged 0 to 2, encourages experience-based play and discovery using authentic objects and interactive elements. Infants and toddlers explore sounds, textures, unexpected movement, and their own reflections.
Fine and gross motor skills are exercised as these young scientists climb over, under, and around obstacles, lift themselves, and open, close, push, pull, fasten, and loosen a wide variety of intriguing objects.
Signage and other resources help parents learn just what’s going on inside those amazing young brains. A low perimeter bench seat surrounds the area providing protection and separation while also allowing caregivers to watch older children in the adjacent exhibit areas.
The Kidstown area forms the heart of the children’s museum and contains a diverse set of activities themed as elements of a small town. Key features include a Market, Kids Clinic, Theater, and Mechanics Station. The activities and scenic elements are designed to encourage role-playing, pretend play, and discovery.
The centerpiece of Kidstown is the Corn Climber, a two-story structure providing numerous physical challenges to overcome and a multi-layered landscape to explore. As visitors climb higher within the structure, they encounter obstacles, make choices, take risks, and exercise their creative problem-solving skills. Each level contains surprises to encourage climbers to keep challenging themselves and explore the higher layers of the climber. Caregivers can watch their progress from below or join in the fun.
Upon reaching the Lookout, at the topmost layer of the climber, visitors gain a bird’s eye of the entire museum and can use special telescopes to spot objects hidden around the museum or zoom in on friends and family below.
As visitors climb to higher layers they discover air cannons that allow them to lob invisible volleys of air at targets hanging in the surrounding space. Precise aim is rewarded with dynamic movement from the hanging targets.
The lower levels of the climber are geared towards younger visitors and feature an easily accessible “exit slide” which provides a quick and highly repeatable activity for the younger set.
Visitors experiment with different size and shaped gears and pulley arrangements to create simple or complex mechanical elements. Several audio or mechanical effects, built-in to the sides of the display, can be triggered when engaged by a properly connected gear train, providing a challenge and reward for those visitors who can harness the mechanics.
In this kid-sized grocery store, children role-play shoppers and workers, collecting produce and packages, weighing and sorting items, and inventing innumerable pretend play scenarios. Grocery carts and bins, working cash registers, scales, and checkout stations all enhance the richness of the play environment.
A wide range of activities present visitors multiple opportunities to interact with each themed exhibit to develop problem solving skills and make real- world connections in their community.
Visitors engage in a series of kinetic ball play activities themed as various farm processes such as growing, harvesting, cleaning, and sorting.
The activity allows visitors to sort balls by color (with the aid of a unique sensor) and then send the balls to the top of a silo with hand-driven augers or suction tubes. After the silo reaches capacity, the balls shower down in a big dump on visitors’ heads. Other activities focus on planting, transportation (using wheelbarrows, bins, and conveyors), and harnessing windmill-driven energy.
The Water area harnesses visitors’ natural curiosity and creative play instincts for open-ended water play activities.
Key experiences include moving, channeling, and damning water to drive a hydroelectric station, create custom PVC water sculptures, and build and float boats. A special shallow area of the water table with built-in seating encourages toddlers to play and explore alongside the older children.
The water elements are divided into separate sections focusing on different play elements but connected to typical water purification and filtration system for efficiency. Smocks and hand dryers are provided to keep everyone as dry as possible during their visit.
Energy & Infrastructure
Columbus has a long history as a pioneer in the Energy and Infrastructure sector and the experiences in this area are themed around the built environment. Activities include designing a windmill to efficiently generate power, learning about pipelines and the engineering required to build structures underground, “touching” a tornado to understand how they generate their destructive power, and experimenting with circuits and energy transmission.
The Sensory Room will be allocated on the first floor, away from the overstimulated area at the museum. This safe space is intended to provide comfort for children with autism and on the spectrum of other developmental needs.
The room includes low lighting, acoustic filtered materials, and carpeted flooring to create an ambiance that is calming and quiet. Visitors can self-regulate and direct their own sensory-friendly activities, ranging from interacting with objects that calm their bodies, to sitting in a swing that gives repetitive motions and vestibular input.
A versatile space that is suitable for any private events—accommodating meetings, parties, workshops, and other revenue-generating activities to enhance visitor’s museum experience.
The Multipurpose Room is equipped with a sink, storage, and flexible tables and seating arrangement to serve various needs from birthday party rentals to after-school STEAM activities.
Outdoor Play Area
The outdoor area will provide space for a hosts of activities that take advantage of the outdoor environment.
From music activities that might be too loud for indoors, to messy activities such as creating giant 4 foot bubbles, and to conducting weather-based experiments and staff-led demonstrations.