Kaleideum: North & Downtown Locations
By Meg Brunson
When visiting Winston-Salem, NC, we were on the lookout for a place where we could go to escape the heat of summer and allow the kids to learn and play. Kaleideum has two locations in Winston-Salem, one is Downtown (formerly the Winston-Salem Children's Museum) and one is North (formerly Sci-Works).
We have some friends up North, so we started off exploring Kaleideum North with both families. We could definitely feel the presence of science as we made our way through the museum. The first exhibit we explored was PhysicsWorks. The kids were able to learn about motion, forces, and simple machines through a bunch of interactive exhibits. All my kids especially loved the chair that they were able to ride up about six feet with the push of a button!
Moving through the museum there were mindgames and puzzles that even kept the grown-ups occupied and searching for answers, plus they had an amazing exhibit called North Carolina: Mountains to the Sea where we were able to learn about the nature and wildlife that is unique to North Carolina. This was especially interesting to us, since we're visiting from Phoenix where the environment is very different! There were live fish, turtles, and other small mammles and insects - plus fossels, artifacts, and displays of animals from all over the world. Kids are even able to use microscopes to observe tiny details like insect wings and flip through relevant books as well.
Kaleideum North also has an exhibit focused on music - the kids loved the walk-on piano and invisible harp - and another area that was dedicated entirely to health and the human body.
The last exhibit we experienced was a ton of fun - opportunities to make paper airplanes, build with KEVA Blocks (they are these big building blocks that allow you to make really cool forts!), and even race around a race track on Roller Racers!
The museum has a large outdoor area that we did not venture into, but I do wish that we had. They have other animals outside in their environmental park and outdoor science park - and when we return to the area we'll definitely check it out! Kaleideum North truly had something for everyone!
The next day, we decided to venture downtown to see what Kaleideum Downtown had to offer, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was an entirely different (though equally fun) experience!
Kaleideum Downtown really reminded me of my "home" Children's Museum: Strong National Museum of Play. If you've visited The Strong, you know what a compliment this is! The first floor of Kaleideum Downtown houses the outdoor (covered) area with this amazing crochetted play structure - the kids loved swinging on it and climbing in it. There is also a climb/slide structure that the kids enjoyed as well as a beanstalk that the kids can climb up to the 2nd floor (parents can comfortably take the stairs). The beanstalk is also a neat transition into The Enchanted Forest Exhibit, where you'll find representations of your favorite fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
Upstairs you'll also find their kid-sized Food Lion grocery store, and (my kids' favorite) kid-sized Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory. My kids spent a TON of time (and probably could have spent all day) with the Doughnuts - cooking them, frosting them, boxing them, and delivering them. We've never lived near a Krispy Kreme, so my kids don't even know what they're missing - but after this visit, we're going to have to find one so they can experience the "Hot Now" Doughnuts!
We also loved the Ice Ventures exhibit - the kids got to go "ice" skating in their socks and play with plush snowballs. At the Amazing Airway maze, kids can stuff scarves in watch them whip around and then fly out of the maze! They had a ton of fun playing with the valves, guessing where the scarves would fly, and finding their favorite paths to use again and again.
Before leaving we also explored the prop shop on the first floor. This area is adorable and has a working curtain and some costumes for kids to put on plays. There are craft supplies and magnetic building blocks for them to create the props needed for their performance.
As a parent, I loved that as we were exploring we also observed staff cleaning everything from the large surfaces to the little pieces of puzzles. It's one of those things that I always assume is done - probably after the doors close for the night - but it's reassuring to actually see someone disinfecting things!
My kids currently fall between the ages of 4-12 and they all had plenty of fun, and learned a ton, at each of the Kaleideum locations. So, if you are trying to decide between the two - good luck! They each provide unique experiences that are fun and educational... try to squeeze them both into your next visit to Winston-Salem!
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2019 Meg Brunson
Thanks to Kaleideum for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four daughters who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!