Meet Humphrey! He's the friendly triceratops at St. Louis' newest attraction, Myseum.Photo by Jessica Pupillo
For years, Jeff Deutch and his family have visited science centers, children's museums and indoor playgrounds.
"I would sit down and watch how long kids would play," Deutch said, laughing that some parents probably thought his behavior was creepy. "I would notice that kids would initially be really excited, and then that would drop off," he said. "Maybe we could do something else that would keep kids attention, be educational. That's how it started."
And "it" is Myseum, an irresistible new attraction for families in St. Louis that opens to the public on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The 20,000-square-foot scientific playground is tucked into the second floor of the Lamp and Lantern Village Shopping Center in Town & Country. It's designed especially with toddlers, school-age kids and preteens in mind.
Last week, Deutch gave me a tour of the exhibits.
Our first stop was a row of exhibits related to force and motion. There's a catenary arch that kids can build themselves. It's similar to the arch at the St. Louis Science Center, except it's only 5-feet-tall, making it easier for younger children to manipulate. A huge magnetic wall gives kids the opportunity to design their own ball ramps using magnetized PVC pipes. The centerpiece of this area, however, is the Super Radar Slide. As kids zoom down the slide, a radar detector tells them how fast they've gone. So far, Deutch's daughter, Jesse, holds the record speed at 11 mph.
Also in the main exhibit hall, an Interactive Video System allows kids to use their bodies and shadows to manipulate the wall display. You can "catch" tiny balls in your arms' shadows or split bubbles in half. Kids can also learn about the power of moving air while they play with wind tubes and air cannons. An inflatable sports arena and inflatable UFO maze and block-building area fill out the rest of the main exhibit hall.
More surprises await as you wind your way through the exhibits in the back of the attraction. At three banks of computers, kids can create a forensic drawing of their own faces, make music on a laser harps and bring in their own items from home to look at with a digital microscope (flat items are best).
Have a seat in the gallery where you can ponder optical illusions. Then check out the music room, full of unique percussion instruments, such as the bolt-o-phone or the wrench-o-phone, perfect for little noisemakers.
A pretend zoo veterinary clinic lets kids dress up and use stethoscopes and other medical equipment to "treat" sick and injured stuffed wild animals.
You'll also meet "Humphrey," a triceratops who welcomes kids to the dinosaur dig. Grab a pith helmet, vest, brushes and safety goggles to dig through the dirt (actually, it's a very soft rubberized mulch) in search of fossils.
To get back to the main exhibit hall, you'll have to pass through the Seaweed Swamp, a room with 3,000 green and blue hanging fun noodles. (Not sure you want to unleash junior into the abyss? Don't worry, you can track your adventurous kids by looking for their feet under the noodles.)
A toddler zone includes an inflatable playground, building area, magnet wall and more just for kids under 3. The toddler zone is within view of a cafe area where adults can have a seat, grab a bite and use Myseum's free wireless Internet. Myseum offers party packages, and three party rooms are available. Parties include play time in the museum, an experiment and party pros. The rooms can be configured to create one large party space for big groups. Some tips before you visit Your kids will need socks to play on the inflatables and the slide. Strollers are not allowed in the exhibits, but there is plenty of stroller parking. Staff reserve the right to limit the number of families in Myseum at one time and create a waiting list. You may want to call ahead to determine how crowded the museum is. All children must be accompanied by adults, and all adults must be accompanied by children.
Myseum is located at 283 Lamp and Lantern Village, Town & Country, Mo., 63017. Admission is $10.95 for kids ages 2-17, adults are $5.95, and kids 1 and under are free. During the school year, the museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call 636-220-7930 or visit http://stlmyseum.com for more information.