Today, Day 4 of Hell Week Spring Break Week, my husband took the day off from work and we took the kids to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA.
I’d heard mixed reviews, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. These sorts of adventures aren’t exactly my cuppa tea, but my husband plans them and all I have to do is show up and look purty, so I really can’t complain. Because we were anticipating large crowds this week, our goal was to get up and out of the house by 8am so we could arrive when it opens at 9:30. But of course, it we all know what happens to best laid plans of mice and men (and men with wives and children).
So around 8:30 we finally got ourselves out the door, and two potty stops (and six Dunkin Donuts, but who’s counting) later we arrived at the Crayola Factory at 10:00. We knew we were in for a crowded adventure when we had to drive to the tippy-tip-top of the parking garage amidst scores of minivans and SUVs to find a spot in which to deposit our automobile.
The Crayola Factory is basically one humongous Crayola play land. Every room focused on a different Crayola product, and the kids get to make a craft or ten at each exhibit. Our bag of goodies grew with each room we visited.
There is literally something for all ages. My 9-year-old had as much fun as our 3-year-old. We had to drag them away from each room to try the next one, and each activity was more exciting than the last. It is laid out well and easy to navigate although it seems overwhelming at first. If you keep moving clockwise, you eventually get to every exhibit. Even though it’s crowded, it flows well, and there are many staff people on hand to assist your kids.
Most activities are free, but there were a few that you have to pay extra for. We did the frisbees, and if our kids had been slightly older we may have allowed them to make their own t-shirts but we decided against that this trip.
Of course we took a slew of pictures, although my camera is acting up and it doesn’t work too well when the flash is necessary. I need to find time to take it to the camera doctor because it’s really frustrating when only half of my photos turn out. Blergh.
The first room had tons of markers and crayons:
The Model Magic Room was a hit:
Then we bought frisbees for $4 and they decorated them with spin art:
As if that’s not enough, on the third floor is the National Canal Museum that is also included in the cost of admission. There is a “90-foot water-filled model canal system” where the kids each get a toy boat to navigate through the locks, and next to that is a room full of fun interactive exhibits based on the canal system where the kids can experiment with pulleys and levers and harness a life-sized mule. Honestly, my kids loved the Canal Museum as much as the Crayola Factory, and by 2pm I was literally dragging everyone outta there. In most families, the kids melt down at the end of a long day of activity. In our home, I do.
Here are a couple of tips if you plan to make the trek:
1. Pre-purchase your admission tickets online at the Crayola Factory website. It gets crowded, and there is a limit to how many people they will admit. The other bonus is, you get to go in a different line than those who are purchasing their tickets on the spot, and it’s much quicker to get in.
2. Don’t plan to eat at the McDonalds in the building. It’s mobbed. We had been warned, so we drove a ways to a Pizza Hut we had passed on the way up.
3. Leave your stroller in the car if at all possible. It’s cumbersome and makes navigating the tight quarters more frustrating (or I imagine it would; we are past the stroller stage, thankfully.)
4. Avoid the elevators and take the stairs. There are only 3 floors, and the elevators are backed up with families that need them. (See #3.)
5. Bring a bag to collect your kids’ projects. They give you clear plastic bags in which to collect your loot, but it would have been helpful to bring a nice canvas bag from home for this purpose.
6. Bring some extra cash in case you want to do the activities that cost extra. But honestly, there is so much to do for the price of admission, it’s really not necessary.
7. Leave time to enjoy the Canal Museum. It really is a blast, and educational to boot.
After we got into the car, it was all of 10 minutes before R looked like this:
And I wasn’t much behind her. No, there’s no picture of that. You’re very welcome.