11.03.2015 - 11.03.2015
Spring break tends to be a misnomer in the northern US, and this year was no different in central PA. After our day trip to Reptiland, we were still looking for kid-friendly activities that we could do indoors. I decided to try Discovery Space in downtown State College with the girls.
Discovery Space is a science-themed children's museum with hands-on exhibits. One corner of the space is intended for babies and preschoolers, with toys, books, and large geometric cushions that can be used for building or climbing.
Discovery Space is small: anyone expecting a children's museum on a big-city scale will be disappointed. However, it does pack a lot of exhibits into its square footage and has an open floor plan. The upside to this is that it's easy to be with a child at one exhibit and keep an eye on another child who wants to be somewhere else in the museum; I spent a lot of time with DD2 in the preschool corner while DD1 checked out exhibits in the main space. The downside is that it can feel crowded, especially on a day when lots of families are there (like the spring break day we visited).
One nice feature of Discovery Space is that several staff--mostly Penn State student volunteers, I believe--are facilitating the exhibits. For example, one was at the paleontology dig station talking to kids about what they had found and encouraging them to dig for other specific items. Another was helping kids put together simple circuit boards.
The girls and I spent about an hour and a half at Discovery Space. By that time, my oldest had explored just about everything. That said, she was sad to go because she still wanted to play; I'm guessing that she would have felt ready to go after another half hour. My youngest couldn't voice her opinion but seemed pretty happy there as well.
In all, Discovery Space is a good way to spend a couple of hours with kids in State College, especially when the weather is bad.
Admission: $6 adults and children 2 and over, free for kids under 2
Stroller friendly: yes, though you'll want to park it in the coat room once you're inside to navigate the exhibits more easily.
Best for: elementary schoolers, but older preschoolers can enjoy the exhibits with an older person reading the signs and giving instructions.