Exhibits aren't just for looking at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. This is a place where children, typically up to the age of 10, can crawl, climb, draw, build, read, slide, pedal, design, create, feel and explore.
The site for the Museum was originally built in 1913. The Monroe School was, at the time, the largest elementary school in the West. In 1977 it was included in the National Register of Historic Places. The building was last used as a school in 1972, and was later purchased by the City of Phoenix.
Fast forward to 1998 when the concept for the Phoenix Family Museum was born. It operated without a physical location, traveling from school to school and engaging in community outreach, while supporters raised funds for a permanent home. Big financial names, funding from a voter-approved bond issue, and grants led to the beginning of renovations at the Monroe School in 2006. The renamed Children's Museum of Phoenix opened it's doors to the public on June 14, 2008.
The Museum focuses on early childhood education and school readiness by teaching through play. It will include hands-on experiential exhibits as well as static exhibits created by and for children.
Here's a tip: Children's Museum of Phoenix is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization.
A Museum for Families
Each different exhibit area on the three floors of the museum has its own focus and appeal. Colors, shapes and textures vary from exhibit to exhibit. The Children's Museum of Phoenix also offers daily educational programming for the adults on topics relating to parenting and child development. Pictured above, the Pedal Power area encourages kids (and maybe their mom) to ride a tricycle through the "trike wash."
There are about 15 exhibits in 70,000 square feet of space.
Here's a tip: For safety, accompanying adults are expected to supervise their children.
Ballroom, Market, Texture Cafe and Book Loft
My favorite area was probably The Grand Ballroom, because I've always been fascinated with mazes and any convoluted apparatus that can keep a ball rolling from point A to point B!
The Market is not only future shoppers, but also for aspiring check-out clerks and inventory managers. Children can stock shelves, make food choices while shopping, verify the weight of those melons, and check out in this market, but they can also visit the kitchen and create imaginary meals in The Texture Cafe.
The Book Loft is a quieter place, where adults and kids can take a break and read a good book.
Here's a tip: Adults visiting the museum must be accompanied by at least one child. The museum is usually the most interesting or exciting for children up to 10 years old.
The Place For Under Threes
Babies and toddlers can get in on the action at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. The Place for Under Threes is an area specially designed for young exploration. Park your stroller and leave your shoes at the door.
On the main floor, a soft playground, pictured above from the third floor looking down, seems to be quite an attraction for all ages. Parents beware...you might have to crawl in after them to get them to leave!
Here's a tip: You can't rent a stroller at the Museum. This is a place to get the kids OUT of the stroller. As a matter of fact, they encourage you to leave your stroller in the car if you brought it along.
The Art Studio
Resident artists in The Art Studio work with schoolchildren and family visitors. Activities include large collaborative efforts, 'take-home' activities and projects such as creating your own Vincent Van Gough’s "Starry Night." The results of the young artists at work are often displayed in the Studio and Hallway, as well as throughout the Museum.
You'll want to check the calendar to see what time there might be special activities at the museum.
Here's a tip: There are staff members located throughout the museum to help children with activities and to provide general assistance.
Birthday Parties and Corporate Events
The Children's Museum of Phoenix offers several packages for birthday parties at the Museum. Private party rooms and museum time for up to 15 kids (a minimum of three adults required) with or without catered food and special treats means fun for the kids, and minimal hassle for you.
The facility is also available for rental for holiday parties, corporate events, fundraisers, weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs ... if you can think of a reason to have a party the Museum might be your perfect location.
Here's a tip: Children's Museum of Phoenix is a green enterprise. They make choices for the buildings and the programs that support environmentally friendly initiatives.
Location, Admission, Hours
The Children's Museum of Phoenix is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Check their calendar. The Museum may even be open on certain Monday holidays.
Admission for nonmembers is $11 per person, seniors (62+) are $10 each. Children under the age of 1 are admitted free. (11/2016)
Children's Museum of Phoenix Address
215 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
The Children's Museum of Phoenix is located on 7th Street between Washington and Van Buren in Downtown Phoenix. It is on the east side of the street.
- From North Phoenix/Scottsdale: Take the Piestewa Peak Parkway (SR 51) south to I-10 West. Exit at 7th Street. Take 7th Street south to Van Buren. Turn left on Van Buren to enter parking lot.
- From East Valley: Take I-60 west to Interstate 10 west. Exit at Washington/Jefferson Street. Take Washington west to 7th Street, 7th Street north. Turn right on Van Buren to enter parking lot.
- From West: Take I-10 east to 7th Street. Exit at 7th Street and drive south south to Van Buren. Turn left on Van Buren to enter parking lot.
By Valley Metro Rail: Use the 3rd Street/Washington or 3rd Street/Jefferson station. This is a split station, so which station depends on which direction you are going. Here is a map of the Valley Metro lght rail stations.
The entrance to the museum is actually not the side you see off 7th Street. The front is, well, at the back! Go east on Van Buren at 7th Street about 1/2 block and you'll see a nice, big parking lot. Parking is free.
There is a snack bar on the premises. You may also bring food into the museum and use the and picnic area. The Museum Gift Shop is a great place to stop before you leave, with fun and educational items. Don't miss the Arizona-themed book section!
Do you have more questions? You can contact the museum by phone at 602-253-0501 or visit them online.
Here's a tip: If you live in the area, consider a membership. It's a good deal if you'll be visiting more than four times in a year, and a terrific deal if you think you'll go once per month. Hey grandparents, I'll bet you know a family who would appreciate a gift of an annual membership!
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.