When winter temperatures are frigid and school is cancelled, I look for alternative ways for the kid to learn and have fun at the same time. Our go-to spot for education and frivolity is The Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History!
Located on Forbes Avenue in the heart of Oakland, Carnegie Museums feel like an old friend to my family. It’s a wonderful feeling to walk through the large, glass doors and ascend the giant steps to the visitor’s desk. We love the smell of the museums and the way the colored glass paints bright, colorful hues onto the walls and guests.
There are several areas that are particularly family-friendly. The Bonehunters Quarry is a dinosaur lovers dream!
Donning freshly sanitized goggles and child-safe chisels and brushes, your wee ones can excavate a dinosaur quarry replica. Bone casts are buried throughout the quarry and give a hands-on approach to paleontology.
Once your kiddos have worked up an appetite in the quarry, head to the bottom level of the museum to Fossil Fuels, a cafeteria-style restaurants serving all of the favorites: pizza, sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits. Vending machines are also in Fossil fuels for families wanting a quick snack or drink.
Another of the kid’s favorite areas of the History Museum is Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. With exquisite lighting, beautiful displays and priceless cut stones are just a sample of the quarried pieces you will spy. A florescence/phosphorescence show is the highlight of Hillman Hall and teaches both children and adults about glow-in-the-dark stones.
The museum’s lower level houses the Children’s Discovery Basecamp- a touch and grab learning room. Live aquatic species, taxidermied animals, and tons of learning activities like microscopes and skill-builder stations will teach your kids about native animal species, geology, and Egyptology. Adventurous families can sign out museum challenges and go on quests to discover hidden treasures!