The Tampa family behind the travel blog, TheGreatEscapePlan.com recently explored Great Explorations Children’s Museum and Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg so they can share what to expect with you!
The Great Explorations Children’s Museum in St. Petersburg is a place your child can truly enjoy being a kid, a place where you won’t find kids playing on mobile devices because instead, they are using their creativity and imagination to explore and learn to play. It’s a place my 6- and 2-year-olds love. In fact, I took them there to write this story and I was once again reminded of the pure joy they get when visiting this gem. The 23,000-square-foot museum is filled with exhibits and activities to stimulate learning through creativity, play and exploration. Designed for children 10 and younger, this small museum has a lot to do!
Here are five of our Great Exploration faves!
- My First Market: A child-sized Publix supermarket allows kids to stroll aisles and look for food items with their own shopping cart or basket. Kids shop for their own products, but they can also pretend to be a cashier with a register and scanner to check out others’ shopping.
- Pet Vet: Kids can learn about the importance of caring for a pet.The exhibit features microscopes, a grooming table with working blow dryer, x-ray viewers and an exam table.Kids can also use ribbons and bows to groom their play pet.
- News Station: Kids can experience the thrill of seeing themselves on TV.They can sit at a Bay News 9 News Desk to write a story or read a prewritten script.The camera puts them into their own newscast.There’s even a button to push and hear a breaking news animation used in real newscasts.
- The Touch Tunnel: Crawl through on your hands and knees past different obstacles, inclines, and textures. In the complete and total darkness, you must use your sense of touch to feel your way out of the 100-foot long tunnel.
- Pizza Kitchen: Kids can pretend to work at the BellaBrava’s pizza restaurant.They can pretend to make their own pizzas with soft sculpture ingredients.They can also put their own pizzas on a pretend oven and serve fellow café guests.
Other must-sees include Team STEAM’s daily Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math activities and a terrific gift shop with unique educational toys, crafts and science experiments. And coming soon is a wall climber’s exhibit funded by Evan and Jaime Longoria’s half-million dollar donation. Longo’s Cove will be a three-dimensional structure that is part jungle gym and part work of art. Climbing from pad to pad, children will learn about Florida sea life while conquering new heights. The climber will be in front of the current treehouse, which will be renovated into a newly-themed boathouse and pirate ship. To learn more about the museum go to www.Greatex.org.
Sunken Gardens is right next door to the Great Explorations Children’s Museum and is a great place for parents and kids to spend an hour or two. It is a 100-year-old garden that is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. You can stroll through paths flanked by exotic plants from around the world, discover beautiful cascading waterfalls and learn about native plants and imports while walking under a canopy of palm trees. Kids will also enjoy seeing the beautiful flamingos and chasing butterflies down winding paths. Children’s classes are held on Saturdays to teach kids about topics like frogs and toads or wildflowers.
Be sure to check out the website www.Sunkengardens.org