Wonderscope shoppingKansas City has so much to offer young families. Wonderscope Children’s Museum is our latest stop. It has some wow factors, but could use some improvement.It’s a Children’s Museum just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. It’s a great place to visit once your child starts walking. However, Wonderscope Children’s Museum needs some updating.

Small children will love Wonderscope

Wonderscope KC wet roomWonderscope sits in an old elementary school building just behind Shawnee’s business district. The classrooms feature different exhibits including a grocery store, raceway, painting room where you get messy, water tables, veterinarian care, nursery, and farm. There’s also a small place to eat and play in the big gym.

Museums are new for our daughter. She’s able to walk on her own, so it’s time to explore without worrying about her hands touching the floor. With a small child, it’s hard to find good activities especially indoor ones. I wasn’t sure if she would be old enough to enjoy the exhibits. Within seconds, Wonderscope’s exhibits erased any doubts. Wonderscope is a great option for new walkers.

Our daughter spent most of her time in the grocery store and farm. This room is perfect for all ages. Younger children practice their independence pushing around a shopping cart and throwing food into it. Older children practice their math skills ringing up purchases at the checkout.

Wonderscope KC shopping cartOverall, I recommend Wonderscope for children once they start walking. At 13 months, our daughter loved the museum. There is enough to keep her busy, although, she wasn’t able to fully experience every room. In a year, she will get so much more out of it.

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In my opinion, the messy room is just plain too messy for a 13-month-old. Until your child can hold a crayon at home, this room is a waste of time. You’ll spend more time cleaning up than painting. There are smocks to help keep clothes clean, but the smocks are huge on little kids.

A crawling baby may enjoy some of the exhibits. Wonderscope Children’s Museum has a small gym for children under age 2. However, I’m glad we waited until our daughter could walk. I would not want to chase around a crawling baby fearing she might get trampled by a kid in the process.

The museum says the exhibits are designed for children up to 8 years old.

Visit water table (H2Oh!) room last

Wonderscope KC wet room visit lastThe water tables are so much fun. There are several options, some more sophisticated than others. There is even a place to fish with little fishing poles.

Our 13-month old enjoyed splashing in the water.  Our daughter had no problem reaching into the water table. If needed, there are even step stools to help them reach inside and make a mess.

While there are smocks to keep the kids dry, our daughter still got soaked. Visit this room on your way out, and bring a change of clothes for the ride home.

 Wonderscope Children’s Museum cost

Our daughter loved Wonderscope Children’s Museum. I loved it too, but I think the price is a little steep. The cost is $7 for adults and kids 3+. Children under two are free.

In comparison, The Magic House in St. Louis, charges $10 for ages 1+.

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The St. Louis Children’s Museum has much more to offer children. I have not been, but I’m anxious to take our daughter as I’ve heard nothing but wonderful reviews. There are 15 exhibits featured on the museum’s website. It’s larger, has more to offer, and it’s only $3 more per person.

The Omaha Children’s Museum is $12 per person for kids 2 years and older.

Look for deals on sites like Groupon to save on admission at Wonderscope. A former Groupon deal to Wonderscope sold for $14 for four tickets. That’s a deal!

A family membership helps cut down the cost of Wonderscope. It costs $60 for three people. You’ll pay for the membership in just three visits. It’s worth it if you plan on visiting often.

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Why it’s good to be back in Kansas City

Kansas City Children’s Museum needs updating

No doubt Wonderscope is a great asset to our community and the cheapest Children’s Museum around. However, the facility is not amazing. Imagine an old school building with updated flooring. Some of the exhibits feel old, and in need of a fresh coat of paint.

I also think Wonderscope needs a deep cleaning. If you look closely, there is dirt throughout the building. The mats in the gym are dirty, along with the slide. We’ve been to other kids play yards, and I know they are tough to keep spotless. However, Wonderscope could be wonderful with just a little elbow grease now and again.

Wonderscope also needs a little more daily attention. On a busy day, the rooms are ransacked by the afternoon. Toys are scattered on the floor. Parents and their kids are to blame for that mess.

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In the water room, there are puddles of water pooling on the floor. There are mats, but there’s still water on the tiles. If an employee spent five minutes mopping, it would do wonders to reduce the slip hazard for a young child who is clumsy on his feet.

I still consider our visit to Wonderscope a positive experience. However, I feel the price is too high considering the number of exhibits and the facility condition. I imagine the exhibits get old after a few visits. Like any new toy, it’s exciting the first time.

It’s definitely a place we’ll visit again. It’s a Children’s Museum in our backyard, and it’s fun. We’re definitely eager to try the other museums for children in the region to see how they compare. It’s nice to have a museum so close, so I hope improvements arrive soon.

Wonderscope moving

Update: Wonderscope is moving to Kansas City. The new state-of-the-art museum will be in the Red Bridge Shopping Center in South Kansas City. The organization is raising $12 million to pay for the move.

The new building will be 30,000 square feet.

I can’t wait to visit. A much-needed upgrade that will give me another reason why Kansas City is so great.