It was a cloudy, rainy day when my family and I visited the new Children’s Museum at Tohono Chul. Luckily, the pauses in rain allowed us to follow the small bug signs easily through the gardens. I didn’t realize that the museum would be at the end of the gardens, but they were so beautiful to walk through, especially with all the rain, it didn’t seem far.
Before we realized it, we had arrived at the large mural entrance. My 3-year-old brother was so excited that we had arrived he ran inside, but I stopped and looked around. I saw a large tractor and walked over. The tractor had been painted different colors. I picked up a paint brush and had fun making random circles and lines on the large tractor tires.
Next, I moved over to the mud table where a little boy was happily playing with mud, totally mesmerized by how it felt. His mother told me it was his favorite activity at the museum. Moving under a patio I explored the clay-molding activity table. There were lots of tools available to use with the clay.
It started to lightly rain again, and I started to feel chilly, so I quickly passed the circular reading nooks and went inside. I found my brother playing at the train table. He was able to fit perfectly in the center of the table where he could easily play with the trains and tracks that went around him. While he was playing there, I had fun looking at myself in the fun house mirrors. There were costumes available to try on in front of the mirrors. Lastly, I had to try out the slide. I climbed inside the pillar and looked up and saw stained glass mirrors with different colors and then slid down.
On my way out I ran into Hilary Van Alsburg, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum. I took the opportunity to talk to her. She told me that the idea to move the Children’s Museum to Tohono Chul stemmed from their “Chillin at the Chul” program. “The move was very successful and gives children a different experience,” she said. “The Sonoran desert is amazing and having the museum open to nature and its botanical gardens gives us a sense of pride on where you grow up.”
Alsburg was thrilled that even on a rainy day, the Children’s Museum was busy with lots of children playing!