Midwest Living Review
This popular 30-year-old children's museum more than doubled its space in 2008 by adding 25,000 square feet to the historic mansion that was the original museum. Now the museum offers interactive exhibits that appeal to older elementary-school kids as well as their younger sibs. The Jack in the Beanstalk Climber lets kids (and parents) climb leaf by leaf up a fanciful three-story stairway (encased in netting to keep them safe). A mystery exhibit sharpens kids' deductive reasoning skills as they try to solve an art theft. Following clues from a hidden safe with a mystery password to a secret passageway to a concealed room, inquisitive kids eventually find a modern crime lab with hair samples, DNA threads, matching footprints, and fingerprints. How cool is that? Aspiring politicians can explore the federal government at the Star-Spangled Center, complete with mock Oval Office, legislature and courtroom. The Picnic Basket, the museum's new caf, offers sandwiches and healthy food choices, such as pretzels, yogurt and salads, plus some fresh-baked treats. No need to keep those antsy kids waiting. Parents can order lunch ahead so it's ready to grab and eat. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday during the school year, and everyday in summer. Admission is charged, but parking is free.