This is not an affiliate post – it’s just the honest opinions of a mom who is an annual member of the DoSeum and has visited on MULTIPLE occasions.
This post has been a long time coming… I believe we’ve been to the DoSeum now about ten times. I consider myself to be well educated on the ins and outs… so here goes!
We’ll get the negatives out of the way real quick – auto flush toilets in a children’s museum are just a crazily stupid idea. LOTS, maybe even MOST kids are freaked out by auto flush toilets. Bad choice. And then there’s the workability of the exhibits. They’ve been open only since June 1st and in two months time there are already multiple issues with exhibits not functioning properly (for example one of the computer touch screen check-out booths in the Little Town HEB wasn’t working this morning, causing lots of frustration). But that’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you in the way of negatives.
So now – for all the things I love love love about the DoSeum! Let me just start with walking in. The funhouse mirrors are just that – super fun. Giggles always start our visit off on the right foot. I love that there are so many different areas for us to explore – I plan our visit each day so that we explore one specific area, but we always enjoy the front – the mirrors, the pulleys, the big interactive video screen, the wind tunnel (Becca LOVES putting on the butterfly wings and “flying”!!), and the Kaleidoscope.
I love that there are lots of tables both inside and out to eat – and that while we have the option of purchasing food, we can bring our own food. (Have I mentioned what a picky eater I’m raising… she thinks that going to the DoSeum MEANS eating peanut butter crackers she’s made herself and fruit packed in her lil lunch box.) Hand washing stations at various heights are readily available as well.
There are two huge outside play stations. We have not yet played in the sand (my kids honestly don’t know that area exists b/c I have a thing about sand + water + my car…), but they have really enjoyed the water fountain and little river. They are anxiously awaiting the opening of the giant treehouse (which I think is totally amazing – it’s constructed for handicapped children to be able to join in the play, too with fabulous wide ramps all the way up!!!), and I know they’ll love playing in there as well.
The other outside play station has a giant spider web, log pile, obstacle course that ends in a giant slide, and… a huge water play area. With water wheels and plenty of places to experiment with the various ways that water moves, it’s just a simply amazing out door play space, perfect for any explorer – from just a few months old to the oldest visitors.
Which is where I’ll pause – Cody and I LOVED our date night – #ReDoRecess, they called it, or #NightAtTheDoSeum – a night just for kids ages 21+ – where we got to have the run of the place! We had a blast playing all over the place for a couple hours, and are looking forward to the next adults only event!
Here we are sitting in one of the incredible outdoor chairs, made from a huge old gnarly tree! There was plenty of room for both of us!
Taking a step back inside, we explored the spy academy on our date night, and determined that for older kiddos with an extreme interest in spy stuff, and the attention span to go with it, this is an absolutely incredible area! Perfect for your upper elementary and middle school students, or even older, there are so many activities to do, you could easily spend a couple of hours just inside the spy academy!
Becca’s got a couple of favorite areas, but one of them is definitely the little town. When we go with our babysitter, we split up – she follows Becca, and I go with Grayson to the baby area. Then we switch. Because following Becca around is dizzying! I love the fact that there is a DoSeum employee at the entrance to this area, so that if she does happen to get away, she’s not going to go far – she can’t leave that area without an adult. I’ve also been impressed that every time we’ve gone in, the attendant has made an effort to really match us up in his/her mind and also stands next to the strollers and sees which one is ours. Just that little added sense of security that I really appreciate. Inside the little town, everything is on a little kid scale – a fabulous grocery store, a trolley, a bank, a restaurant, vet office, construction site, car wash, post office, and airport complete with a boardable/”flyable” airplane that even has luggage and a “TSA” security station! As a mom, I appreciate all that she learns about the various occupations, and I also appreciate the fact that there are employees and volunteers constantly walking the floor and putting things back in place (esp in the grocery store and restaurant) so that new kids coming to that area can find what they need. I also love love love the garden in the center for babies. It’s gated, and has lots of fun sensory activities on the wall, balls and soft toys to play with, etc. All in all, the little town is fabulous!!
At date night we explored the light and sound area. We haven’t taken Becca there yet because of her sensory issues with auditory defensiveness and also her extreme overexcitabilities regarding low lighting. We both had a blast in there, and think she’ll really enjoy the shadow play and light table activities. We’re looking forward to bringing her to one of the sensory evenings that they have for kids with ASD, SPD, and other sensory issues. Get this, parents – they have sensory evenings where they provide headphones/earplugs, sunglasses, and have special signage to warn adults about sensory issues that might be found in certain areas. Lighting is different for these nights (not as dark), and everything caters to our kiddos who have special sensory needs!!! Isn’t that just amazing? It’s finally a museum that truly caters to ALL of our kids!
We briefly visited the “Imagine It!” area with Becca, but she wasn’t fond of the sounds there – again, this would be a great place for her on sensory night – but she did go nuts when she saw the room FILLED with books. Pretty sure she would live in that room if she could! She’s also enjoyed using the story starter prompts to tell stories, etc. Definitely so much there for aspiring writers to enjoy!!
And ya’ll, that’s just the downstairs!!! Seriously – there’s a whole second story! The engineering section upstairs is just amazing. Places to build with all kinds of different materials, to test out different materials to see how to make them fly, etc. And then there’s what Becca calls the “Ball Room” – where balls shoot through tunnels of air directed by different knobs and levers that the kids can adjust. It can be a super high action, rockin’ place. I chose to stand by the door (it’s a small enclosed space, which is FABULOUS!) so that she can run and explore and always knows exactly where I am. She can’t leave without me, and has a tiny tad of freedom to play til her heart’s content.
Also upstairs is a huge social studies area where kids can build mini cities, practice putting a giant foam US puzzle together, learn about energy usage in homes, and explore various info about the continents of our world and view different globes.
Did I mention there’s a set of stairs that make noises when you step on them? Oh – and a separate glassed in baby play room that’s just for babies? Impressed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Glad to be annual members? Oh yeah.
I’m just not sure what I’m gonna do once school starts and my 12 yr old set of wonderful, helpful hands is back in school and can’t come with us every week to help me wrangle my two lil Explorers!! (Oh – and get this – I was able to add her to our family annual pass for just $15… and it’s only $11 for a one day admission… talk about a fabulous deal! We’ve been pretty much every week this summer!)
Ready to plan your visit? Check out their website here: http://www.thedoseum.org You won’t regret it!