we met riley at the garden state discovery museum!

A few weeks ago our family was invited to visit the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ and meet Riley the Paleontologist.

chatting with Riley

To prep for our big day with Riley, we listened to the Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs before Dark. So the burning question that my four year old had was, “I know dinosaurs were real and then they died. But how did they die?”  Without any hesitation, Riley was able to describe to us how a meteor was the cause of the dinosaur’s extinction.  And he didn’t do it in a boring 7th grade science teacher kind of way. He did it in a kid to kid manner which kept my four year old totally engaged in the conversation.  “Cool. Wanna play, Riley?”

And just like that the two boys were off to explore the Dinosaurium.  That’s what struck me most about Riley. For an eight year old, he is an amazing fountain of knowledge in all things paleontological.  But when it comes down to it, he is just a normal little boy who wants to run and climb and play and explore with all the other kids.

Riley tells us about excavating

We had such a great time at the Discovery Museum.  Here’s a little glimpse into some more of the fun we had!

fishing at the shore

“Down the Shore” you can go fishing from the boat, watch slider turtles play in their terrarium, and create your own (non-edible) triple scoop ice cream cone.

my future 76er

My resident “b-ball head” made a bee-line straight for the courts. I seriously think he could have spent hours shooting hoops into the kid’s height net.  And if he ever got tired of that, there’s always a hockey rink, putting station, and a rock climbing wall!

my bubble boy

What kid does not love bubbles?  Well, the Discovery Museum has a whole bubble room to explore!  This was the coolest – you pull the rope and the giant hula hoop creates a bubble around you.

toddler time!

Got a little one that just wants to explore?  Well, there’s a giant room just for those 4 and under.  I brought my 2 year old in to explore and it was a huge hit.  They have a ball pit and all kinds of toddler toys. Plus there’s an area of mats and smaller toys specifically for babies.

We’ve been to the Please Touch Museum in Philly and the Magic House in St. Louis (2 of the 150 museums around the country which reciprocate with a GS Discovery Museum Family Gold or Family & Friends Membership). They are great. But what I love about the Garden State Discovery Museum is it’s size.  There is plenty to do without feeling overwhelmed or rushed to get things done.  My husband came with us (this as his first children’s museum experience) and he could not stop raving about it.  He only wished we lived closer to Cherry Hill so we could go more often!

From now until December 31, 2011, the Discovery Museum is running a membership special – buy any 12 month membership and get four months FREE!    It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

A big thank you to Jenn at Jersey Family Fun for helping to arrange our trip!

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