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Children's Museum of Oak Ridge Review

Playing a xylophone
Playing a xylophone
Emily L. Goodman

For many Knoxville residents, the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge may seem like a long haul trip that might or not be worth it. After all, museums in general are pretty boring for kids. They might keep their attention for a little while, but sooner or later, you’re going to end up hauling everyone home and regretting even making the attempt in the first place. Plus, you’ll leave questioning whether or not they actually learned anything from this particular field trip.

The Children’s Museum is well worth the trip, well worth the cost of admission, and well worth more than one visit. In fact, if you were considering a membership, go right on ahead and acquire it, because you’ll find yourself wanting to come back again and again. Have a full morning or afternoon free to spend there? Go for it!

There are rooms and exhibits for everything, from the old-timey exhibit complete with tools that kids can reach out and touch to the puppet room with a puppet stage for the kids to put on their very own performance. There’s a water room, where the kids can learn about how dams and water locks work, and a jungle room, where kids can go on a rain forest exploration. There’s a giant dollhouse—just the right size for your kids—and a bird room, where the kids can see how long their wingspan might be and explore different nests. Each room is highly interactive and has plenty of things for the kids to manipulate. If something isn’t touchable, it’s behind glass, where there’s no need to worry about even the littlest ones getting their hands on it.

After hours in the museum, even knowing that it was nearly lunch time, it was hard to drag the kids out the door—and then, right across from the museum, they found a bright, colorful playground full of things to climb, slide, and run on.

The big kid verdict: This is really cool! Can we come back?

The toddler verdict: I don’t want to leave!

The Mom verdict: This will definitely be a repeat trip. It would be an amazing way to spend a rainy Friday during the school year, when everyone is bored and just needs to spend some time outside! This was a great trip with the entire family--plenty to do; the spaces are relatively confined, so no one could escape; lots to look at and learn.