You know something that really irks me? When you head out on an adventure and you’re totally wrong about what you’ll face. I wouldn’t so much as call it false advertising, so much as not being prepared for an experience. The Glazer Childrens museum in Tampa was one such adventure. I was expecting red velvet rope, artifacts buried under three inch protective glass, and armed guards. This is not what we experienced at the Glazer Childrens museum! Ok all jokes aside, the name is a bit deceptive. A “museum” really isn’t the most appropriate description. It’s not so much a museum, as a two floors full of interactive, fun, and imaginative play and learning areas.
The family and I recently spent a few days exploring the Tampa area and jumped at a chance to visit the Glazer Childrens Museum. Our little guy is finally mobile and loves to explore and get into everything! This is the perfect spot for kids to play and explore.
The very first thing we noticed when we stepped through the doors is that this is a very popular spot in the Tampa area! There was a bit of a line where we had to purchase tickets, but it was very swift and the staff was great. We also found out that if you are a member of the Glazer Childrens museum, you may get to skip going through the line. Staff is pro active to keep the line short and actually seek out repeat visitors to assist through the line. We paid a reasonable admission charge for what would turn out to be hours of fun and exploration. Something of great importance I wanted to point out is that there are signs everywhere that adults must be accompanied by children. So not in those words exactly, but since this is a Childrens Museum, Glazer will only allow visitors with children to explore the museum. That means, no unattached adults creepily staring at you or you kids like at your local Chuckie Cheese. All adults get a wristband, so it’s a great safety measure.
So we were then released into the wild to checkout out the Glazer Childrens museum, now what? Well there are two floors of fun! The pictures really speak for themselves. I don’t want to spoil any of the fun of exploring for you, but the basic layout is that there are roughly 12 distinct play areas, each with a different theme. As your little ones explore each of the exhibit areas, they will be encouraged to not only play and learn. One key focus is imaginative play. Each area has costumes and accessories that your little one can be immersed in the action and interact with other kids. A great example is in the Kid City exhibit. There is a Publix grocery store that is set up just for kids! I’m still very new at this parenting thing, and learning as I go, but I was amazed at how kids who were complete strangers played so well together. In the Publix area, aprons are provided so if your kiddo wants to be a cashier they can really get into character! One little girls was absolutely an amazing cashier, and never once broke character! I was amazed at this 7 year old’s customer service skills as she checked us out with all the store items my little guy piled into our kid sized grocery cart.
The pretend play isn’t just limited to shopping! The Glazer Childrens Museum also features a pretend fire house, and all sorts of other locations you probably experience in your every day life. They can dress up as firemen, a doctor, and even a construction worker! At first, I thought this was a bit strange and honestly a bit gross, with kids swapping costumes, but my wife was quick to point out that the staff was constantly cleaning. They also have baskets specifically for dirty or soiled items, costumes, or objects that need to be sanitized. Kudos go out to the Glazer staff for supporting clean play. After all you want to come out and have fun, not deal with the sniffles for a week after you visit.
Something that really struck me as AWESOME was that each area also had books. Not a big deal? You can read at home? Well, where else can you read with your kiddos about building a home, then actually show them the inside of construction of a house? What about reading about being a crane operator, then actually operating a gigantic crane! There were lots of little areas where you could do some “side learning”. I mean that you could take a few moments read a book with the little ones and actually reinforce learning. It’s not just a free for all playground for kids to run a muck, you can actually learn all about everything around you! This is great for parents with different aged children of if you just want them to take a break from the hands on. I also think this would be a key factor in deciding if you would like to become a museum member. You would want each visit to be unique to maximize the fun!
Another great feature is their on-site Subway location. You know I’m a huge fan of bringing along a picnic lunch to minimize the costs of an adventure, but you may not need to. Subway prices are reasonable already so you won’t break the bank dining out. You’re still more than welcome to pack a cooler lunch though. In fact there are great picnic spots right outside that would be a great spot to sit and relax with the family. Either way, you’re not forced to plow down an over cooked cheeseburger. You have healthy options which as a fairly new parent I appreciate.
I invite you to check out all the pictures below to really get a feel for the Glazer Childrens Museum. If the family and I lived within an hour or so away from the childrens museum we would certainly become members! There is so much to explore, and as my little guy gets older he would be able to experience more and more with each visit. An annual family membership starts out at only $100 which would allow up to 5 members of your family to come back time and time again for an entire year! Lets face it, a one day adult ticket to The Mouse can be $95 or more, so an annual membership to the Glazer Childrens Museum is a deal! So what are you waiting for? Start planning your tip now!
UPDATE: September 7th – 30th 2013 Enjoy $5 per person admission in celebration of their 3rd birthday!
Glazer Childrens Museum Details:
Children under 1: FREE
Military & Seniors: $12.50
The DYETT Factor : 2
Assuming a family of 4 (2x Adults, 2X Children) One trip to the Glazer Childrens Museum would be $49. A Family Annual Membership would be as low as $100. That means you would need to visit at least twice per year for the least expensive annual membership to be worthwhile. Technically 3 times, but it was only a few cents, so I rounded to two.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
Monday – Friday: 10am-5pm
New Year’s Day
Glazer Childrens Museum Address:
110 W. Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602