{USA} Meeting the Easter Bunny at Glen Echo

April 1, 2013

Kids in Museums, USA

We decided not to head to downtown D.C. on Easter Sunday, as we reckoned the museums would be overrun, and instead made our way to Glen Echo Park in Maryland which is also home to a small children’s museum.

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Formerly known as Discovery Creek Children’s Museum, the Living Classrooms Children’s Museum focuses on the environment. The premises themselves are relatively small as a large part of their programmes take place outdoors in the form of nature hikes and other environmental activities. For Easter Sunday, they had organised a Dino Egg Hunt. By the time we got there, the eggs were all spoken for but there was another trail to count all the dinosaurs dotted around the site, with a small prize at the end. The laminated sheets also had the facts of the relevant dinosaurs on the back, so older kids or parents could learn some more about them.

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The outdoors area also has a tree top walk way and a tunnel (both pictured below) for kids to explore above and below ground, and a sandpit (photo by S. Smith) that had been converted into a dino fossil dig for the occasion. #MuseumBaby very much enjoyed digging up some fake dinosaur fossils.

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One of the museum’s advertised highlights are its LIVE animal encounters. Outdoors there was an enclosure with some ducks (#MuseumBaby’s favourite!)…

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…whilst indoors you could meet a whole range of creatures, ranging from the Easter bunny to turtles, tortoises, snakes and bearded dragons. Unfortunately we’d manage to time our visit with the staff lunch break, so we didn’t get to encounter any of the animals up close and personal, but they still provided much fascination for a two year old inside their enclosures.

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Indoors also has a tunnel maze, based around the idea of an anthill, for the kids to crawl around in, and a “tree top” slide. Both come with little cubby holes and flaps that pose questions for the kids to think about, for example “Let’s pretend you’re an ant! Crawl around inside the anthill to find some of your ant friends. Can you find the queen ant?”

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Other activities include building blocks for the kids to play with, books about nature to read, and even the pot plant in the corner was prepped for a little environmental education.

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As well as their nature hikes, environmental programmes and animal encounters, the museum also offers arts and crafts activities. Keeping in with the dinosaur theme, the activity during our visit was to colour in and make your own dinosaur mask.

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We were very surprised to discover a familiar ‘face’, when it turned out the templates were none other than the T-rex activity available on the National Museum of Scotland’s website! (as modeled by #MuseumBaby and myself two years ago)

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The museum’s public opening hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm, and entry is $5 (kids age 2 and under go free). Further details can be found on the Living Classrooms under Programs for Families.

 

 

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