Day Trip – Appleton Children’s Museum

Just before Father’s Day, Milena and I visited The Building For Kids (Appleton’s children’s museum) with my sister and her three girls.

I’ll start by saying that I really wish museums had different rates for children! I’m okay paying $7 or $8 for myself, but I’m always surprised when I have to pay the same amount for a 2 year old who I knew might throw a tantrum two minutes into the visit and have to be removed. (Thankfully, this didn’t happen, and we had a nice time.)

But on to the museum!

The first floor really inspires pretend play, with a doll hospital, grocery store, and restaurant. However, most of these areas had very few items to play with (my sister mentioned that there used to be more), so we didn’t spend much time here. We did, however, spend a lot of time playing in the Gulfstream Jet with its realistic cockpit and control tower! The girls had a great time pretending to be both passengers and pilots.

The museum centerpiece is the huge Story Tree with 5 tree forts to climb in. Varying degrees of difficulty offer kids of all ages fun and challenging make-believe opportunities. (Most of the climbing areas were netting, and I didn’t really want to have to climb in it if Milena decided halfway up that she wanted out, so she didn’t get to try out this exhibit!)

The first thing Milena and I saw when we went up to the second floor was the Happy Baby Garden – for children 0-3 years of age. This over-sized garden drew Milena right in! The slide alone was a big hit, and I think if her cousins had been young enough to play in there with her, Milena would have spent the majority of our visit here.

The second floor has numerous other permanent exhibits including a digger, a heart slide, a golf simulator, and a water room.

The museum also has a nice art studio. We visited right before Father’s Day, so the girls each got a (large!) lump of clay to make presents for their dads (or grandpas). Milena enjoyed “making” a bowl and then painting it for her grandpa, but my sister and I didn’t enjoy having to carry the wet clay projects home with us! Plus, they weren’t ever fired, so none of them lasted very long.

My only real complaint was regarding the fire truck. Milena had a great time dressing up like a firefighter and pretending to drive the truck and play with the fire hose. I thought it was pretty neat that there was even a “control station” where you could press a local city’s button and hear real emergency broadcasts over the truck’s radio – until firefighter Milena was asked to respond to a woman who had overdosed and was currently unresponsive! I’m all for realism, but I’d much rather she respond to a cat stuck in a tree.

The Building for Kids is located at 100 W. College Ave., Appleton (Phone: 920.734.3226). Hours, directions, and parking info can be found here.

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Blog Catch Up

Okay, I admit it, some days the last thing I want to do during Milena’s nap time is sit in front of the computer and write blog entries. And I’m realizing it’s becoming more and more common for me to just click “share” on Facebook and post events/etc on our FB page without a single thought to our blog readers.

My apologizes!

So here’s what you may have missed recently (plus some new stuff for our devoted FB readers!):

Bellypallooza at Happy Bambino: Treat Your Girls Right! This Saturday, June 18, at 1 pm.

Adria Cannon, Happy Bambino’s fabulous Lacation Consultant, will discuss how your breasts change through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond.

Alison will go through the basics of finding a great-fitting bra to give your hardest working assets the support they deserve and discuss why having a good nursing bra is so important.

Adult Swim at the Madison Children’s Museum, Friday, June 24 at 6 pm.

No kids allowed in a children’s museum? Yes, you read that right! MCM’s first Adult Swim event in March was a smashing success, with more than 400 grownups getting to be kids for the night. No, we don’t have a swimming pool, but we’ll honor the time-honored “adult swim” tradition at public pools as we kick the kids out so adults can have the museum to themselves. It’s a great event to attend with a group of friends, family, or co-workers!

The event features the disco beats of the Madison supergroup V05; favorite activities from our Retro Technology Nights, including vintage films, theremin-playing, and Pong; plus wine, beer, and Roman Candle pizza available for purchase. Climb the Hodgepodge Mahal, drive the Punch Buggy, and take in the work of more than 120 local artists who contributed pieces to the new museum!

Event schedule:
6:30–7:30: Lounge music in Possible-opolis by Dave Adler of The Gomers
6:30–8:30: Vintage cartoons, commercials, and film rarities from the collection of Biff Blumfumgagnge
6:30-8: Make a Tie-Dyed Silk Scarf ($5 materials fee)
7:30–9:30: VO5 dance party on the Rooftop Ramble
Throughout the evening: Elevator Music by MCM’s Tom Teslik

Ages 21 & up only
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door; includes one free drink ticket. Tickets are on sale now at MadisonChildrensMuseum.org.

RM reader Mallory passed along this link to us today:

Wisconsin Explorer Booklet for ages 2-5. (the site says “3-5 years”, but I know my two year old will love this!)

Follow footprints, be a tree detective, watch the clouds, look at the stars, play “I Spy,” and find special places! Preschoolers will need a caring grown-up to explore with them.

Kids can pick up a free Wisconsin Explorer booklet at a participating state park, forest, trail, or recreation area OR download the booklet here.

And don’t forget to have your kids pick up a Nature Passport this summer! (Milena already has 5 stamps in hers!)

Nature Passport is an educational nature “scavenger hunt” for children and parents. Explore Nature Net nature centers, parks and museums in the Dane County area at your leisure and, using your senses, record observations in your own Nature Passport. See if you can meet Ringo Raccoon’s nature challenge this year! During your visit, stamp your Nature Passport to mark your adventures. Visit as many Nature Passport sites as you want!

Nature Passport Includes:

For Kids…
Each child receives a special Nature Passport containing pages to draw and write about their amazing journeys at various Nature Passport sites! This year’s theme also includes a “Movin’ Mission” to encourage healthy, physically-active kids.

For Parents…
Look at the online Parent’s Guide for fun facts and explanations to help spark your kids’ imagination and answer those big questions like: How do we see color?

Madison Public Library’s Summer FUN Agenda

Looking for some family fun in the downtown area this summer? We’ve got your FUN Agenda! The Madison Children’s Activity Calendar features entertainment, hands-on fun, and learning for kids and their families. A collaboration among the Madison Children’s Museum, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Madison Public Library – Central Library, UW Space Place, the Madison Mallards, and Monona Terrace, the program includes a variety of fun and educational events for the whole family.

Start off with the FUN Agenda kickoff event on Wednesday, June 15, 10-11:30 am. in the Monona Terrace Exhibition Hall (1 John Nolen Drive). The event will feature seven different activity stations for children aged 4 – 8:

Madison Public Library – Central Library
Paper Dragon Masks, in celebration of our “One World, Many Stories” summer reading club we will be making paper dragon masks. Kids can color, cut, and decorate their own mask!

Madison Children’s Museum
Plant a garden and run a market stand with our Let’s Grow mobile exhibit, which promotes nutrition education while providing an opportunity for kids to learn about cultivating healthy foods and getting them onto the table. Plant seeds in Dixie cups and visit with the chickens.

Madison Mallards
Come get your photo taken with the team mascot, Maynard the Mallard, and take a leap onto the Velcro Wall. Don’t forget to pick up your Madison Mallards pocket schedule.

Monona Terrace
Frank Lloyd Wright not only designed buildings he also designed carpeting. Come design your own carpet pattern and using crayons, markers, and colored pencils add color to your design.

UW Space Place
We will be doing the ever popular alka-seltzer rockets and making sun necklaces.

Wisconsin Historical Museum
Join staff from the Wisconsin Historical Museum as they celebrate 25 years on the Capitol Square by fabricating a celebration spiral decoration to take home.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with educational games and making bald eagle hand puppets.

In the event of inclement weather, program will be moved inside.

Wisconsin Historic Sites and Museums Passport

Has anyone purchased a Wisconsin Historic Sites and Museums Passport? It sounds like a great deal for any family that takes a lot of day trips in Wisconsin.

Here’s the info from the site:

“Season passports to the historic sites and museums could save you a bundle if you have plans to include two or more visits in your day trip or vacation plans.

A season’s worth of travel, adventure and heritage for a bargain price of $70 for a family or $35 for an individual. That’s a savings of more than 60 percent off individual admission rates! And they make great gifts for friends and family.

From Madeline Island to Mineral Point, this all-sites pass is your ticket to a season of heritage travel that you won’t soon forget.”

Historic Sites and Museums
-Circus World, Baraboo
-First Capitol, Belmont
-H.H. Bennett Studio, Wisconsin Dells
-Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe
-Old World Wisconsin, Eagle
-Pendarvis, Mineral Point
-Reed School, Neillsville
-Stonefield, Cassville
-Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien
-Wade House, Greenbush
-Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison

According to the website, most historic sites and museums maintain a May to October seasonal schedule, so now would be a great time to purchase a passport for your family!