No Velvet Ropes Here: Kid-Friendly Learning Awaits

As a first time parent and transplant to Kalamazoo, I quickly realized my list of family outings was insufficient. After playgrounds, neighborhood walks, and the library, I was out of ideas. Luckily, I joined a moms group who introduced me to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

However, my initial reaction was skeptical (cue images of a bull in a china shop).  Aren’t museums quiet places with velvet ropes and fragile displays?

Not this museum.

The KVM is three levels of interactive, learning space. Toss in educational programs such as pre-school circle time, a planetarium, a theater with live performances, special exhibits, and this local gem hits the mark with family-friendly offerings.  

Oh, and did we mention the museum is FREE and exhibits change regularly? KVM exhibits offer insights into art, science, or different historical periods.

Best of all, the KVM is loaded with play-based activities and learning tools for all ages.

Engage Young and Old Minds Alike with Mindbender Mansion

The newest exhibit to join the Kalamazoo Valley Museum takes visitors through Mindbender Mansion. Problem solving and critical thinking combine to challenge visitors across 11 brainteasers and three group activities. Think you have what it takes to solve the puzzles and join the Mindbender Society Wall of Fame?

Brainteasers

Visitors learn math and science concepts through identifying patterns, using logic and looking at problems from different perspectives.

Shifting Squares: Visitors start with five squares and must move only two sticks to make four squares using all 16 sticks.

Group Activities

Grandparents, parents, and children can work together in three collaborative activities:

  • Feeding Frenzy: Fill TV dinner trays with five kinds of food on a conveyor belt.
  • Spelling Fever: Hop on letters to spell the correct words in this Scrabble/Hopscotch hybrid.
  • Amazing Maze: Tilt the table in different directions, guiding the steel ball into six holes as quickly as possible.

I’m always looking for opportunities to interact with my grandchildren in ways that are entertaining and mentally stimulating.

As a teacher, I know that learning is most effective when it is also fun.

– Linda, retired science/math teacher & WMU alumna

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Spolier Alert: More Fun Exhibits Headed to the KVM

Whether you check out artifacts on display, grab a show at the planetarium, tour a new exhibition or explore the Children’s Landscape, there is more to see at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum:

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Exhibitions

  • Willard Wigan, Microsculptor: Use microscopes to view these tiny, remarkable works of art. October 12, 2019 – January 26, 2020
  • Wicked Plants: The Exhibit:  Immerse yourself in Mother Nature’s most villainous plants. January 25 – May 17, 2020
  • Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights: Learn about the fight for Disability Rights.  February 9 – June 7, 2020

Planetarium

  • One World, One Sky: Explore the skies with Big Bird and Elmo. September 21 – November 27, 2019
  • Ooky Spooky (New): Halloween themed light show. September 21 – October 26, 2019
  • Michigan Winter Skies: Explore our local skies. November 30, 2019 – January 2, 2020
  • George and Oatmeal Save Santa (New): Join the search for a missing Santa.  November 29, 2019 – January 3, 2020

Children’s Landscape

  • Circle Time: 20 minute literacy-based program (ages 3-5). Weekdays & Saturday mornings
  • Monsters Gone Wild   September – October 2019
  • Mazes, Puzzles and More!  November – December 2019

For a complete list of events and descriptions, check out the museum magazine (museON) or the event calendar.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | 269-373-7990

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