Austin >Attractions >
Museums >Austin Children Museum
201 Colorado St, Austin, TX | Directions 7870130.264767 -97.745471
Disappointing – I have been to children's museums all over the country, and I can honestly say this is the worst one I have ever visited. First of all, the place was so small and crowded that I wondered at one point whether they were even allowed to have so many people inside at one time. Also, while this is not necessarily the museum's fault, there were more screaming, crying and tantrum-throwing kids there than I could count.
The exhibits themselves were disappointing. Many of them were broken or missing pieces. The ones that did work either did not explain the purpose behind the exhibit, or gave a sentence or two to explain the purpose but did not explain what exactly the child was meant to do. For instance, most of the upstairs is dedicated to the 'tinkerer's workshop,' which apparently means a random assortment of stations where things were meant to be built. There seemed to be a theme or creating and inventing, but no suggestion was given as to how the different stations might work together to help a child create something. No guidance was given on what to build (perhaps they did not want to inhibit the children's creativity) or what the purpose of any of the stations was. At many stations, there was no explanation of anything, just a presentation of objects. One station contained a sort of pegboard with screws and screwdrivers and plastic plates with holes in them that (one would think) could be screwed into the holes. However, the holes were not threaded for screws, so neither the screws nor the screwdrivers worked. Another station contained a random assortment of junk that children were supposed to imagine into something and then build. At least I think that's what it was for; there really weren't any directions.
The museum was woefully understaffed, and what staffers I did see appeared only briefly to dump off more junk and then disappeared. No one was available to answer questions.
I noticed when reading the reviews that those dating to 2006 and earlier were mostly positive, while those from later are mostly negative. It seems that the museum is really headed downhill. I can't understand how they can charge as much money as they do for admission and be in such a sad shape. Either they should charge more and fix their problems, or charge less and admit that they're a sub-standard museum.
dirty, dirty, dirty....did I say dirty? – Okay, I'm no germaphobe, but seriously, when objects all over the museum are full of grime and you never see anyone cleaning up toys, you have to wonder....just how many viruses are we talking about transferring to others?
I get the fact that the museum doesn't make a whole lot of money, however even humble areas where kids dwell, i.e. daycares, clean toys with solution. It can be done. I've gone to other children museums in Texas that look and smell clean and don't even have any grime all over.
I refuse to go back to this Children's Museum. My children may like it when they are there, but everytime, 2-3 days later we all suffer with being sick. Simply not worth it....
Terrible – My son (12 months) and I went here last Tues (7/28/09) and I was terribly disappointed. I don't mind that it is downtown. I actually like that part b/c then I can stroll around all the cute shops and grab lunch at Joes. However, the place is filthy, there were a lot of things that were broken, and parents just let their kids run wild. They have a slide that my son loves to play on but he was being run over by a bunch of 5 year olds. Okay, I know that 5 year olds are hyper, but the problem was that there were no parents in sight!!! The ones that I did see were too busy thumbing away on their crackberries. The worst part was the bathroom area. I went in to change my son's diaper and I was appalled at the place! It smelled like a urine soaked subway station. The floors were a mess. Needless to say, I did not want to put my son down on the baby changing area, so I walked all the back to my car to change him. This place is a representation of Austin and I'm ashamed at the image they are giving the city. You ask if I will go back? Probably, only because my son loved it (that's the extra star in my rating) and it is a place to get away from the Texas heat.
Great for kids under 10 – Ok, the parking, or lack off is terrible. But the museum it's self is pretty amazing. My sons love this place, and they have been coming here for years. It can get a little crowded on the weekends, so I tend to avoid the crowd. They have baby/toddler only days where they restrict the museum to childrne under 3. If you call ahead they will warn you about any large groups scheduled to come. They also have some of the best day camos in town.
Great Place for Hands-On Experiences with Kids! – I recently took my three-year-old niece to the Austin Children's Museum, and I practically had to drag her away at the end of our visit. The museum has great exhibits that feature math, science and enginnering, among other things. It also has a great Austin feel, with exhibits like Austin Kiddie Limits where kids can perform on a mini-Austin City Limits stage. The Tinkerer's Workshop upstairs is a great place for kids to design and construct with mini-tools and crafts made just for them. All of the activites are designed with kids and adults in mind, so you get to learn with your child. The current exhibit downstairs is all about sound, so get ready to hear loud drums, echos, and makeshift instruments . All in all, a fun learning experience for us both.
Parking is difficult downtown, so I suggest taking a bus if you can. Also, on Tuesdays the museum does not allow group tours, so it will be much less crowded in the galleries for individual families.
Frightening Place – This is not a good place for people of any age. It is very cluttered, very noisy, very dirty and I cannot believe they charge $5.50 for that experience. Fortunately, we went on a Sunday around 4 when admissions were free and so was parking.
I am not sure why they have a Children's Museum in the downtown area because getting there is a pain and parking is very hard to find. Navigating between one way streets and always-under-construction areas (not just Austin but any big city) it seems like a waste of good real estate space to me.
Once inside you will be greeted with a mental institution(ish) ambiance but be brave and move on because its too late to back out now. Once you see the claustrophobic settings you will wonder who came up with this stupid design (no they don't tell you).
Stay away from this place. I'd rather play run/catch with my son in the Zilker park than go here again.
Educational fun and discovery for young minds. – In Short
Youngsters (and their parents) enjoy a tactile experience with art, science and the global community. Permanent exhibits include Austin Kiddie Limits, which introduces children to Texas music and serves as stage for year-round live performances. The water-themed Splish teaches kids about marine life before they turn trash into art at the Creation Station. Brainteasers offer problem solving through observation and logical thinking. The Rising Star Ranch focuses on developing the motor and social skills for children under two.
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