Las Vegas is often thought of as being synonymous with an adult playground. However, there is educational entertainment for children tucked away just a short distance from all the neon, over-sized drinks with neck straps and scantily clad show girls. Since 1990, the Lied Children’s Museum has entertained over 1.6 million visitors. The board recently announced plans to move the current museum to a new location in Las Vegas’ Symphony Park beside the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and The Keep Memory Alive Event Center . The new location is scheduled to open in November 2012.
Currently the museum features over 22,000 sq feet spanning over two floors and offering over a hundred hands on learning activities.
Included in the museums permanent exhibit are several role playing areas. Featured is an airport where children can pretend to be a pilot, passenger, ground control, or ticket agent . The airport includes a realistic ticket counter and baggage check as well as carry-on screening area (where taking your shoes off is not mandatory!). The grocery store is a favorite among children of all ages who pretend to shop, work at restocking or as cashiers. The grocery store features a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables with options to weight and calculate costs. The auto repairs shop has a car with removable parts as well as tools that make noises and a dolly to scoot underneath the car when repairs are required. After ‘working’ in any of these occupations, children can visit the bank and cash out a paycheck, or of course pretend to work there.
A favorite among my children in the two large water tables where children are able to control water directions, flow and velocity. In the same area is the bubble center where adults and children alike can create bubbles of all sizes, including a bubble wall and even immerse oneself into a bubble. Also downstairs is the Desert Oasis specially designed for children five and under. The baby area includes a padded enclosure with bench seating for parents. For budding performers there is a large theater with a stage, real draw back curtains and a plethora of dress up costumes. Children are able to lip sync, dance and preform while parents observe from the bleachers.
The second floor feature scientifically oriented activities and explains the physics behind them. Children are able to send balls soaring into the air, manipulate tubing to create unique golf ball drop mazes, step into a hurricane simulator, play wheelchair basket ball, spin magnets, play an array of instruments, and watch several daily science experiments done by knowledgeable and friendly staff. Recently the museum featured a science experiment which involved making ice cream, this was a favorite among all the children who were able to eat their creation afterwards.
My favorite aspect of the museum is the monthly arts and crafts workshops which often spotlights a local artist who comes in to teach and inspire for weekend classes. Every month there is a new art activity relevant to the month or one which encourages art education. In December the children made wreathes by tying two pieces of fabric together and gluing them around a cardboard circle. February showcases making dragons for the Chinese New Year as well as making bean art using a grid system.
We are members and visit often. My children have never tired of visiting this museum and it is the perfect place for a hot day. We usually pack a lunch and eat in the shaded courtyard or indoor eating area. I particularly appreciate the cleanliness of the facility and how often the staff disinfect the exhibits with non abrasive chemicals.
At less then ten dollars a person this museum is well worth the visit.
Children 1-17/Seniors $8.50
Children under 1 Free
General Museum Hours
Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon-5 p.m.
Closed Mondays except most school holidays.
Closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
June 1 through September 3
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon-5 p.m.