Nothing beats summer boredom like an old-fashioned outing. Of course, some of the suggestions are not close to being old, rather hip and cool. A family can indulge in outdoor activities all over the metropolitan area. For those in Kansas City seeking lower thermostats, a cool retreat to an indoor amusement park, museum or aquarium might be the trick. Remember, this list is not full list, but a list created to spur conversations and interests. Some of the locales have no fee for admittance while others need tickets. The idea is to offer a variety.
First and foremost, how about some outdoor venues that are sure to keep everyone in the family engaged?
Deanna Rose Farmstead (http://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/deanna-rose-childrens-farmstead/) – The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is designed to represent a turn-of-the-century family farm. There are nearly 200 animals and birds of prey, gardens of vegetables and flowers, a one-room schoolhouse, a fishing pond, pony rides and more. The 12-acre children’s farmstead opened more than 35 years ago and was renamed in 1985 to honor Deanna Rose, the first Overland Park police officer killed in the line of duty.
Children can enjoy bottle feeding baby goats, milk a cow or take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the woods. The farmstead is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Halloween. During the summer months, (Memorial Day to Labor Day), the Farmstead is open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
First Tee of Greater Kansas City (thefirstteekc.org) – The First Tee of Greater Kansas City is founded as a young development organization teaching young people positive values such as honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and confidence while using the game of golf as a tool. The First Tee lessons are taught at five area learning centers and through in-school programs. According to national independent research, 78 percent of the participants are learning and using life skills such as goal-setting, interpersonal communication and self-management. For Secah “Coach S” Shabib, the director of programming and a First Tee coach, the important of presenting life skills through the game of golf is incredible, he explains.
The young participants can be found playing golf on five courses: Heart of America Golf Academy, Drumm Farm, Iron Horse Golf, Overland Park Golf and Sunflower Hills Golf. “On an annual basis, including the school programs and those at the golf courses, we are impacting the lives of about 2,000. We are busy all year round. We know what we teach gives the kids something they will use in life as well,, not just on the golf course,” he explains.
Henry Doorly Zoo (www.omahazoo.com ) – The Henry Doorly Zoo is often ranked as one of the best zoos in the world. It’s home to about 17,000 animals of 962 species. It encompasses more than 130 acres of land area. It features the largest cat complex in North America, the world’s largest indoor swamp, the world’s largest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world.
Along with general visits, the zoo staff offers summer day camps ranging from a day to five days. The single day camps include junior zookeepers, junior vet, big cats, sharks and sea turtles. The two-day camps include photography at the zoo, ocean commotion, and animal training. The four-day camps include top predators and buggin’ around. The five-day camp is called Dirty Jobs where campers explore keep the Lauritzen Gardens and Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium and the various operations required in working with nature. Other activities include family classes, small group and family campouts and scout outings such as celebrating Independence Day and the zoo marks Shark Week Aug. 9 and 10 with lots of activities and talks.
Kansas City Zoo (www.kansascityzoo.org)– The Kansas City Zoo offers a multitude of programming aimed at exploring the biological and animal science and world with keeper chats, science experiment days and camps. There are sleepovers with the polar bears and zookeeper-for-a-day adventures. The zoo is more than 100 years old. The mission is to conserve and provide access to wildlife to entertain and educate visitors in order to instill a respect for nature.
The ways to accomplish this include the guest experiences for all ages. When plans for the zoo began, children offered up a letter writing campaign to support the efforts. Now the zoo, under the guidance of the non-profit Friends of the Zoo and Director Randy Wisthoff, the zoo’s improvements include the Discovery Barn, the addition of river otters, an Endangered Species Carousel, Polar Bear Passage, the African Sky Safari, Tiger Terrace and the newest Helzberg Penguin Plaza. During a day visit, see the sea lion show, watch elephants paint and grab a lunch at the new Tuxedo Grill.
Oceans of Fun (www.worldsoffun.com/things-to-do/oceans-of-fun) – With activities called Aruba Tuba, Buccaneer Bay, Coconut Cove, Predator’s Plunge, and Shark’s Revenge, it’s clear that the family has arrived at water park. For the youngest in the family, there are places such as Crocodile Isle with child-friendly water slides and spray grounds or Captain Kidd’s, a pirate ship designed for children, featuring slides and water cannons.
For those seeking moderate thrills, there’s Paradise Falls with buckets, slides, and wheels surrounded by the tropical excitement, plus the 1,000-gallon bucket located at the top of the water playhouse. Every five minutes, it fills and empties as water splashes everyone below. Then there are the high and aggressive thrills for the big kids such as Shark’s Revenge with enclosed tube slides feature high speed drops and banks; Typhoon looks at two high-speed slides hurdling into a three-foot-deep catch pool; and Diamond Head, which features Waikiki Wipeout, Maui WoWee, and the Honolulu Lulu, three twisting turning water slides together reaching more than 900 feet in length.
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (http://www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/arboretum-and-botanical-gardens/) – The 300-acre Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden was founded to keep the city at the forefront of environmental and ecological issues. The arboretum is an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the Kansas City region.
The combined destination hosts seasonal programs and annual events to get people excited about enhancing and preserving natural resources and the environment. There are also many classes and programs. The year-round Crazy for Critters gives children and youth a chance to “take a walk on the wild side and explore the Arboretum grounds looking for the different places animals make their homes and raise their young. Students will use their imaginations as they roll-play with puppets looking for food and a place to live.” Another coming program is Woodland Wanders where students enjoy the garden in the fall.
Powell Gardens (www.powellgardens.org) – This summer at Powell Gardens, visitors can journey through wetlands, woodlands, tropics and more to discover 26 bronze animal sculptures by nationally acclaimed artist Dan Ostermiller. The exhibition will be available through Oct. 5. Set in nine adventure zones representing animal habitats both familiar and exotic, the sculptures are designed to make art accessible and fun for all ages. Meet a 12-foot elephant playing and spraying into the Fountain Garden; a pair of wrestling bears near a hollow log kids can explore and even encounter farm animals such as Priscilla, a 5-foot-tall hen making her home in the Heartland Harvest Garden’s Fun Food Farm. Long-time visitors to Powell Gardens may recognize Ostermiller’s work. Close Quarters, a pair of rabbits that grace the lawn near the entrance to the Island Garden, was installed at Powell Gardens in the early 1990s as a gift from Marjorie Powell Allen, and has become a beloved photo opportunity for many families over the years.
Some other fun events include Booms & Blooms Festival. The July 3 event (rain date July 5) showcases Mother Nature’s dazzling display of hundreds of daylilies, a daylily sale, children’s activities and special music including School of Rock and the Lee’s Summit Symphony. Events include a fireworks display over the 12-acre lake. The Festival of Butterflies is Aug. 1-3 and 8-10. The festival includes an indoor exhibit with hundreds of free-flying butterflies from the tropical United States and Costa Rica, two outdoor breezeways aflutter with native species, a butterfly art exhibit, children’s activities, and a butterfly plant sale. In 2014, the festival will focus on how people can support the conservation of the Monarch butterfly.
Worlds of Fun (www.worldsoffun.com) – Worlds of Fun is one of those destinations for everyone in the family. There are rides for almost everyone from those who seek thrills to those who want a gentler experience. The family rides include the Grand Carrousel or the Worlds of Fun Railroad. Back by popular demand, the railroad includes the Great American Train Robbery. As the steam engine “named” Eli roars around the bend, keep those eyes open for sneaky train robbers. For those older and seeking the thrills, the newest ride is the SteelHawk, a 301 feet in the air and spreads its steel wings at a 45-degree angle at a speed of 8 rotations a minute swinging riders for a 60-second flight.
For some of the youngest, there is Planet Snoopy. Your family’s chance to giggle with the world’s most popular beagle! With more than 20 PEANUTS-themed attractions, spending a day with your kids in Planet Snoopy is timeless fun. Along with Planet Snoopy, kids can join the new Joe Cool Club. Visitors to Worlds of Fun can also step back in time to the beginning of the “Age of the Dinosaurs” at Dinosaurs Alive! – an immersive and comprehensive Mesozoic experience – and encounter the beasts that dominated the planet for over 180 million years.
SOME PLACES IN BETWEEN
Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center (http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/kansas-city/discovery-center ) – Discovery Center Assistant Manager Wendy Parrett says the center has a variety of local Missouri animal exhibits. Along with drop-in visits, the community can register for all sorts of activities that take place inside the center and on the surrounding acreage. “We are always offering up story times on Saturdays and lots of public programs to help make people more aware of the resources we have in Missouri,” she says. The center and surrounding lands includes eight acres of gardens, a pond, walkways, two disabled-accessible trails and watchable wildlife.
As for activities, here are a couple examples. On July 5, learn about Red, Wild and Blue. Discover nature with live animals like the red-eared slider and red milksnake. Kids will go wild exploring Sycamore Station’s all natural play area or showoff that wild side by creating beautiful solar sun prints using blue print paper and natural objects. On July 19, decorate a customized walking/hiking stick from provided recycled broom and mop handles. Learn about hiking trails in the Kansas City region and try the hiking stick out on the Discovery Center’s trail. “In the 12 years the center has been opened, we demonstrate the ability to connect with the natural world that is right here in our city and to better understand and enjoy our natural neighbors,” Parrett says.
Lakeside Nature Center (www.lakesidenaturecenter.org)-Experience the wild world of nature in the heart of Kansas City, Mo. Lakeside Nature Center, located in Swope Park, exhibits wildlife native to the area, offers educational programs, coordinates community conservation projects, and is one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities.
Lakeside Nature Center is an incredible place to enjoy learning about local native wildlife, including birds of prey, snakes, amphibians, turtles, fish, and invertebrates. The center features several exhibits and there is a small walking path. The center staff also offers programs for scouting groups and others so that even in an urban setting, the natural world is valued.
Leawood Cultural Arts (http://www.leawood.org/committees/culturalart/default.aspx) - Summer is a busy time in Leawood. The Leawood Oxford House includes an annual reading club called Prairie Book Club during July, says April Bishop, the cultural arts coordinator. This year, the focus will be on Little House on the Prairie. “While it may seem like more of a girl’s story, this is a classic for a reason,” she says. “We have had families ask about reading this book in the past and we are going to tackle this during the summer.”
There will also be American Girl doll events, which is similar to the book club as young participants can learn about a specific time period. Josefina is a young girl in 1824 Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Santa Fe Trail ran by the school house so it is an appropriate story for July. Bishop says. The August story will be Rebecca, a Jewish immigrant in 1914. “Grinnin’ and Groovin’ will be in the lodge this year and the free Tuesday morning events will be morning entertainment for families including Funky Mama, StoneLion Puppets and the Wings of Love bird show.” Plus the Leawood Stage Company will offer Hello Dolly. It’s a great thing for families to do to have a free evening under the stars. This is a great chance to continue to educate the community about the arts. You can come here at no risk and enjoy the show.” The musical runs July 17-20 and July 24-26.
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site (www.mahaffie.org) – Activities vary by season, but the site is open through October. The 1860s living history activities may include stagecoach rides, visiting the Mehaffie House, blacksmith, cookstove demonstrations and seasonal farm activities. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm offers a hands-on experience for visitors of all ages focusing on 1860s farming, frontier life and stagecoach travel while preserving the nationally significant Mahaffie Story. Mahaffie is the last remaining stagecoach stop open to the public on the Santa Fe Trail.
The Heritage Center exhibit, I knew it was a Fine Country, tells the stories of the Mahaffie family, early Olathe and Johnson County, the western trails and stagecoach travel. The exhibit includes a 12 minute film offering more of the site’s history. The video Border War Voices allows visitors to learn about what settlers went through during the Border War era. The video was co-produced by Wide Awake Films and generously funded through the Kansas Humanities Council. The Mahaffie home and adjoining property was purchased by the City of Olathe in 1979 to insure its preservation and to operate as a historic site. Today, the site is administered by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Olathe.
Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary (www.naturesanctuary.com) – Here is another location that has the mix of nature center and trails to explore. The center has the hands-on environmental and nature science education. There are displays of native plants and animals. Along with the center, there are birthday parties and special events including a Halloween trails tour that is sure to be fun and educational. The Fairy Tale Forest is like a play, except visitors walk through the half-mile paved trail and meet the characters along the way. The event takes place in late October.
The indoor classrooms are used for hands-on activities, class introductions, meeting program animals, and when relief from the weather is needed. They make it possible to bring the outside in, and give quality programs regardless of weather conditions. Along with the classrooms, there are many trails including a disabled-accessible asphalt trail which can accommodate students with limited mobility. The Rush Creek Disabled-Accessible Asphalt Trail is one-mile, round trip, and meets all ADA requirements.
Museum at Prairiefire (http://www.museumofpf.org) – The Museum at Prairiefire is a collaborative effort with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one of the most celebrated museums in the world. Through the American Museum of Natural History exhibitions, unprecedented and interactive educational resources will be available to the metropolitan area. The museum includes the Discovery Room and the current American Museum of Natural History Exhibition (when it is on display). At the end of each Exhibition run the Exhibition Gallery will close for installation for approximately six weeks. During this time, the rest of the Museum will still be open to the public. The Discovery Room engages children 3-12 years old and their accompanying caregivers, in the disciplines of the natural sciences. Visitors can assemble a Prestosuchus, a life-sized cast of a Triassic reptile, and dig up fossils in a re-creation of a paleontology field site among many other activities and resources. Along with the indoor events, there is also wetland interpretative trail with educational stops.
After WATER: H20=LIFE closes July 13, the next exhibition is Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids, which runs Aug. 30, through Feb. 1, 2015.From unicorns to fire-breathing dragons, humans around the world have brought mythic creatures to life for thousands of years in stories, music and works of art. The Museum at Prairiefire’s Mythic Creatures exhibition reveals the relationship between nature and legend, tracing these creatures’ origins, cultural importance and alluring hold on the imagination. The exhibition combines dramatic models, fossils, magnificent ancient and modern cultural objects and absorbing multimedia and interactive technology to tell the stories behind the world’s most enduring mythic creatures.
Paradise Park (www.paradise-park.com)– This family fun and adventure destination is the sort of balance between indoor fun and outdoor fun. In the cool indoors, Paradise Park includes a foam factory, game room, mini bowling, rock-climbing wall and bumper cars.
Equally exciting, the outdoor activities include go-karts, mini golf, a children’s garden, junior mini golf, laser tag, baseball and softball batting cages, a gem mining stream and sand volleyball. When the weather gets cooler, there is a campfire pit, a fall adventure petting zoo and hayrides. Along with all the fun, there are some choices in food such as pizza, entertainment snacks and treats.
So when the weather turns cloudy or rainy or just too darn hot for outdoor activities, why not to turn to locales in the community’s backyard? Here are a few suggestions.
Ceramic Café (ceramiccafekc.com) – Owner/operator Sara Thompson opened Ceramic Cafe in 1997 when the “paint your own pottery” concept was in its infancy. For 17 years, Thompson and her staff continue to provide a creative experience for everyone in the family. The studio staff also offers summer camps and the remaining camps include three-day and four-day camps. The Aspiring Artists camps are for ages 8 and up. The camps in July7 are All About Me, Fun in the Sun and Cultures of the World. For Creative Kids, three days aimed at children 5 to 7, include All About Me and Cultures of the World. There are also story times on Tuesdays and Fridays where participants paint an item related to the story.
“Lots of times, older teens and kids don’t know what to do, but we are place that is good for any age,” she says. “We had a birthday celebration for an 80-year-old grandmother. There were items created celebrating family. We also offer glass fusing and pottery painting for adults. There is freedom to do what they want with art. Most of the pieces are functional so a kid who paints his own cereal bowl can use it daily with confidence and self-satisfaction. It is therapeutic too.”
Johnson County Library (www.jocolibrary.org)-Event Producer Joseph Keehn II says the Johnson County Library will focus on the theme “The Art of Discovery.” From June through August, science and art will be unified through this theme with programs focusing on the disciplines both together and separately.
Responding to the steampunk slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner,” 21 regional and national creators join forces to explore the intersections of science fiction and fantasy through the visual arts. The Art in the Stacks: Steampunk 21+ show runs through Aug. 31 at the Central Resource Library. During this same time period, artists, scientists, and professionals come together in an elaborately constructed Cabinet of Curiosities. Yair Keshet and Elizabeth Lovett, with support from the Charlotte Street Foundation, will be presenting a series of conversations at Johnson County Library’s Central Resource Gallery centered on the work of regional artists that highlight the interdisciplinary nature of art, design, science, and technology.
Kansas City Public Library (www.kclibrary.org ) – Crystal Faris, director of youth and family engagement, says this year’s theme of is “Fizz, Boom, READ” includes a teen component where teens have to turn in a review to gain library bucks. These bucks can be used for reducing fines, more printing, use for DVDS and even to purchase books.
One of the significant changes is in improving engagement. “There is an activity log for early literacy learners where parents and caregivers are not only encouraged to read, but to spur that love of learning through nature walks or singing the ABCs together. There are so many skills that prepare a child to be a reader. For the grade school participants, they can log in working on a science experiment they got out of a book from the library,” Faris says. “We are a vital third place … that gathering place. We are adding early literacy centers and opening three at outreach sites. Today, we take families to the library to spend time together and they are alive with active learning.”
Kaleidoscope (www.hallmarkkaleidoscope.com) – Kaleidoscope, located at Crown Center, nourishes the creative spirit. It is a place where children are invited to be creative, have fun, and feel good about their own special ideas. Provided by Hallmark Cards, Kaleidoscope is free. Creative Implementation Supervisor Chris Duh is responsible for the look of Kaleidoscope. “I see Kaleidoscope as a world for your imagination. It is a playful and ever-changing interactive environment that is much like Pee Wee’s playhouse, but here, you actually get to explore and create endless possibilities with Hallmark’s recycled material.”
Kaleidoscope & Hallmark Visitors Center Outreach Supervisor Ron Worley say the Kaleidoscope look reflects a major philosophy here and that is, “There is no wrong way to create art.” “When a visitor looks around at Kaleidoscope’s environment they see a fun, wonderfully creative world, but I hope they also see art that is within their reach. I hope they think, ‘My art would fit right in here.’ We all need to feed our inner artist and, yes, everyone is an artist. Kaleidoscope is an all-you-can-eat buffet for the imagination. ‘Listen to your imagination!’ The Kaleidoscope experience is important for children who are hungry for inspiration, as well as their adults who may have forgotten that they, too, are artists.”
Legoland (www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/kansascity ) – The Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City is a newer family destination. There are more than 3 million LEGO® bricks in the indoor attraction. Based on the ever popular LEGO® brick, the LDC provides a range of interactive play areas including a 4D cinema; master classes from the LEGO® Master Model Builder; LEGO® laser ride; special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations; as well as the MINILAND exhibit featuring iconic Kansas City buildings.
There’s a large multilevel indoor playground where children can then play as long as they want, building towers and racing cars. There’s also a 4D movie theater at no extra charge and another themed carnival ride.
Mid-Continent Public Library (www.mymcpl.org)- Libraries are magical places during the summer. Public Relations Coordinator Jessica Ford says this year’s theme is “Fizz, Boom, READ,” and runs to July 31. Listeners (0-6) earn a free book for every 24 books they hear aloud, Readers (6-11) can earn a free book for every 360 minutes they read. Up to 3 books can be earned over the summer. Teens earn a Teen Buck for every book review submitted of a book completed. Teen Bucks can be used to pay library fines, make copies, get a replacement card, or choose from a variety of prizes including books, hats, or messenger bags.
“We are also having some special performances this summer with WildHeart, Dino O’Dell and some mad scientists,” she says. Begin with a bowlful of nature, add a backpack, and a walking stick, stir in a summer day and Boom! Join the musical adventure “exploding” with encouragement to get outside and discover nature. WildHeart is the Parent’s Choice and Emmy Award winning family group, conservation educators and entertainers, who have performed at the St. Louis Arch, Silver Dollar City, Missouri State Capitol, and schools and libraries throughout the Midwest. O’Dell provides an interactive music and storytelling adventure that features a pond filled with peanut butter, a plate of pancakes, and a surprise visit from a space alien. WildHeart and Dino O’Dell are shows aimed at all ages. Mad Science is for ages 6 and up.
Puppetry Arts Institute (www.hazelle.org) – This non-profit organization, was founded in 2000 with the goal of “preserving and promoting puppetry through education and entertainment for all ages.” The present Englewood area of Independence contains a museum, a puppet theater and workshop area. Englewood has been established as an Arts District by the City of Independence, so the Institute participates in the art walks on the third Friday of every month. Puppet making workshops are available for children, families, school groups, and adults, using materials from the Hazelle Rollins Puppet Factory that was located in Kansas City from 1932 to the mid-1980s. Birthday parties are reasonable and something unique for children ages 5 and up. There’s also a museum section dedicated to Rollins and her legacy.
Local, national, or international puppeteers perform monthly using marionettes, hand puppets, shadow puppets, rod puppets and other unique forms of puppetry. Two coming performances include July 26 and The Lion & the Mouse from StoryTime Puppets. This fable by Aesop is performed with hand puppets, and has a moral lesson presented in a lively style. The Aug. 23 is Can You Dig It? Clement McCrae Puppets presents Otis, a paleontologist hand puppet, unearths history in this variety show production. This show also features marionettes and rod puppets.
SeaLife Aquarium (www.visitsealife.com/kansas-city/) – Another of the newer family destinations in the metropolitan area, SeaLife Aquarium at Crown Center has more than 5,000 creatures including sharks, seahorses, octopus, jellyfish and rays. There are educational talks and feed shows throughout the day. Hold a crab or touch a starfish in the interactive touchpool experience. Along with that, try a free kids quiz trail, journey through the underwater tunnel as sharks and rays swim overhead and the little ones can find fun the children’s soft play area.
Sea Life Kansas City is committed to bringing in new creatures as part of our exhibits as often as possible. Some of the newest friends include: five Yellow Rays, two Queen Angel fish, and two Scrawled fish. Besides all the sea life, there are thematic days coming including Hawaii Day, July 21; Sharks After Dark, Aug. 18; Pirate Ports, Sept. 15; Spooky Shores, Oct. 20; Thanksgiving Fun, Nov. 17; and Holiday Happenings, Dec. 15.
Union Station/Science City (www.unionstation.org) – Union Station Kansas City is 100 year old and it is considered to be one of the region’s finest educational and cultural resource committed to the preservation and interpretation of Kansas City’s regional history and the promotion of innovation, research and discovery in science and technology through the development of collections, exhibitions and other educational programs. To develop and nurture successful and financially sustainable museums and attractions within Union Station Kansas City and to ensure those facilities serve as the destination of choice for local residents and visitors.
For families, the Discovery of King Tut at Union Station Kansas City is around through the beginning of September. Named one of the country’s 25 best science centers, Science City provides over 200,000 visitors annually with an engaging environment ripe for exploration, experimentation and discovery. The tomb and treasures of Tutankhamun have been faithfully reconstructed to scale, giving visitors a realistic impression of the overwhelming opulence of the offerings meant to serve the king on his magical journey into the Underworld. More than 1,000 replicas of the most important finds have been reconstructed by master Egyptian craftsmen using traditional techniques, and can be admired at the exhibition.Named one of the country’s 25 best science centers, Science City provides more than 200,000 visitors annually with an engaging environment ripe for exploration, experimentation and discovery.
Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City (http://www.wonderscope.org)– The mission is to spark a lifelong love of learning through the power of play. We provide fun, dynamic exhibits and programs that integrate the arts, sciences and literature for children ten and under, their parents and teachers from across the Kansas City area. Our members and visitors today enjoy our exhibits and programs in our museum facility in Shawnee, Kansas, as well as in our Wonderscope Live and Wonderscope on Wheels outreach programs throughout the metropolitan area. In the future, we will be building a new, world-class children’s museum for the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Newly renovated in June 2011, the ARTWorks exhibit has 4 distinct areas: PaintWorks, ChalkWorks, ARTWorks main area, and the design station/face painting area. The walls are decorated with murals painted in the style of Modern artists: Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet, Roy Lichtenstein, and Wassily Kandinsky. Each mural has a small sign describing the artwork and artist with some suggestions for what to do and notice. The philosophy is “With young children, creating a specific art product is not as beneficial as experimenting with the process of making art. ARTWorks is intentionally open-ended so that children learn how to develop their own creativity and art skills. It gives them a chance to try and do whatever they can think of- to mix media, experiment, and use the materials without someone limiting their experience.”