Seven and a half years ago I spent a little bit of time in Santa Rosa. Just passing through on an epic ride to Oregon, but it was a memorable stop. Now I’m back for a couple of days and impressed by how much more there is to see. Santa Rosa is a worthy destination on its own. If you have younger kids, you will want to stop at the Children’s Museum.
I visited the Children’s Museum as a guest of #VisitSantaRosa. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been to a lot of Children’s museums around the world, which has me somewhat jaded. It can be a challenge for a kid’s space to hit the right notes – playing a tune somewhere between educational and rowdy, emphasis on fun.
The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County gets it right. Even on a quiet fall Monday, the building was humming with creative exhibits and all sorts of play opportunities. The children were running, jumping, skipping and joyously lost in their own worlds of play. As it should be.
Both the outdoor and the indoor play spaces are pretty dreamy. You’ll find nifty and unorthodox “arty” play structures, like a repurposed helicopter that has been turned into a dragonfly, and living topiary caterpillar tunnels. The museum will shortly be bringing in a play structure carved from a fallen redwood tree.
There’s a working model of the Russian River, a local attraction, where kids can dig and splash and experiment with sending small toy fishes downstream.
There’s also a working food garden where there are frequent harvests, and tasting is encouraged.
The best part for both parents and kids is the constantly changing landscape. There are no instructions for play in this garden, just opportunities to create and invent your own games, which children are actually quite adept at. Bring a change of clothes, particularly if you want to play in the mud kitchen!
Back inside the museum are a number of ever changing and fun displays.
There’s a pretend nursery and a giant pachinko machine. There’s the opportunity to “blow” a mega bubble around yourself and multiple displays that engage the senses with light, sounds.
Gather apples and send them to your friends upstairs in the treehouse via baskets and pulleys while exploring the value of teamwork.
Or perhaps a puppet show?
There’s even a working beehive.
All in all, your kids can’t help but be delighted by this museum and their delight will surely be contagious. Joy is like that, you know.