A BIG thank you to the Omaha Children’s Museum for the complimentary museum tickets for me and my family. All opinion (and pictures!) that follow are my own.
Having visited countless museums and displays over the past 20 years with the perspective of an educator, I feel like I could almost claim to be an expert on what is an effective exhibit for children. Personally, I think that the Omaha Children’s Museum’s Pirates and Mermaids: Voyage to Creature Cove is one of the best that I have seen. And not just because you will learn while you play.
Where else can you see aquaponics – the art of growing plants in water – firsthand?
Children can pan for gold and actually leave with a fossil. Exploring various kinds of shells up close is a possibility. They can manipulate ocean graphics on a screen. For limited hours in the both the morning and afternoon, they can enjoy the touch tank filled with live snails and other sea creatures and also make crafts out of shells. You may want to check those hours in advance, so that you do not miss either activities.
For the active ones, they can climb up the pirate mast, pretend they are stuck on a net in the sea or crawl through the giant climbing structure disguised by sea creatures in the back.
My youngest son’s personal favorite was the ocean ball pit. He pretended he was swimming – so hilarious to watch him “dive” under water.
If you only have little people to take to the museum, they have several areas designed with them in mind. My niece loved the bubbles and playing with the sand that was illuminated to look like the Platte River habitat.
If the kids are exhausted, they can curl up in the corner on seascape pillows for a book break.
What else made this museum special was all of the little touches that helped you to feel like you were truly experiencing “Omaha Underwater.”
One important note … because this is such a well done exhibit, the room was quite popular and thus rather crowded. We happened to show up on a day when several “summer school” field trips were taking place. If your kids are not fans of crowds, perhaps go later on in the day or call in advance to see if many groups are scheduled. While my kids had fun, because there was a bit of chaos, I am not sure they enjoyed the room to the fullest potential. Since we had our little niece and nephew (and my sister & Mom) along, I was bit more aware of the noise and confusion. Normally with older kids this should not be quite as big of a deal, but I wish we would have had time to go back upstairs again when a few of the groups had left.
Thanks again, Omaha Children’s Museum, for letting us “dive” into this exhibit!