- The Magazine
- Current Issue
- Events & Shows
- Web Extras
- Yellow Pages
Las Vegas’ Lied Discovery Children’s Museum puts the fun in education.
Photo: PR (above); Jon Fortenbury (below)
Kids love to have fun. Parents love when their kids participate in educational activities. Everyone loves a win-win situation, which Lied Discovery Children’s Museum achieves by combining the two elements.
“We like for kids to learn by using the exhibits and having that hands-on approach,” says Tifferney White, director of programs and education. “We know that they’re having fun going from one exhibit to another, but as they have fun, they’re also picking up knowledge.”
Located in downtown Las Vegas, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum features nearly 100 exhibits in the arts, sciences, and humanities. With so many children’s museums having an arts focus, White thinks this one goes beyond the norm. “Our second floor feels a lot like a science center, and our first floor feels a lot like a children’s museum,” White says. “I think that makes us unique.”
The Junior League of Las Vegas and Allied Arts Council founded the museum as a private, nonprofit educational institution in 1984. The museum moved to its current location in 1990, sharing space with the Las Vegas-Clark County Library. The property has ongoing, featured, and traveling exhibits.
The current featured exhibit, “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” is on display until January 3, 2010. The attraction teaches children about the science behind necessary bodily functions of a healthy person, with an emphasis on the not-so-pleasant functions. It includes a burp machine and a lesson from Professor Nigel Nose It All on mucus.
“Torn From Home: My Life as a Refugee” is a Lied innovation that is currently on a museum tour across the country. The 1,500-square-foot exhibition takes kids on a journey into the lives of children forced to leave their homes and find new ones. The exhibit returns to Las Vegas in 2010. “It’s presented in a way that lightens the topic a little but still gives kids exposure to refugees,” White says. “We just want to raise awareness on the issue.”
Even with “Torn From Home” torn from its Las Vegas home, there are several ongoing exhibits at the museum. “It’s Your Choice” highlights the importance of health. “Green Village” is a mini city, teaching children everyday lessons by way of a grocery store, bank, and more. The exhibit also teaches kids how to shop green. “Jacob’s Ladder” lets kids create a surge of electricity. Desert Discovery, an area designed for children five and younger, teaches shape identification and the tendencies of nocturnal wildlife, common in the desert. There’s even a puppet show and a crawling area for infants.
Donna Popp-Bruesewitz brought her two- and four-year-olds to the museum during her visit from Osage, Iowa. She heard great reviews about the museum and wanted to see for herself. “It’s been interesting and very hands on,” Popp-Bruesewitz says. “There’s lots of stuff for this age group to do. It’s been a good experience.”
Laura Ward and her two children, ages two and six, also had a positive experience. The Las Vegas family got free museum tickets from the summer reading program at the neighboring library. “I’m glad they have something like this for kids,” Ward says. “It’s easy to get to, affordable, and a great family event.”
The museum hosts many celebrations, including birthday parties—the available themes are classic (exhibit based), slime time (science based), and bubblemania (art based). Cake and ice cream are provided, among other goodies. “We like to think that we’re the best place in Las Vegas for [children’s] birthday parties,” says Brock Radke, marketing and public relations manager.
All age groups can participate in many different programs and volunteer opportunities. One is the Youthworks Program, which provides high school students with job-skill training, homework support, career and educational guidance, and museum discounts. The museum offers a number of memberships. As well as access to members-only events, members can visit the museum for a year free of charge. The family membership even earns participants reciprocal membership to other museums throughout the country.
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
833 Las Vegas Blvd. N., Las Vegas
Admission: Adults, $8;
Children (1-17), $7
FAMILY MEMBERSHIP FEES
Limit of six persons allowed per membership
• $55 for two family members
(1 Adult & 1 Child)
• $60 for three family members
• $65 for four family members
• $70 for five family members
• $75 for six family members
(Immediate family members only)
MORE KID-FRIENDLY NEVADA ATTRACTIONS
The Adventuredome Theme Park
Rides such as Canyon Blaster, Rim Runner, Sling Shot, Chaos, Inverter, Lazer Blast, and SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D.
Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park
Educates visitors about rare and endangered species of plants and animals.
Features museums, galleries, botanical gardens, and an interpretive trail system.
A 38-acre wildlife sanctuary and nature center northwest of Reno.
The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada
Provides exhibits and programs that focus on the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Sierra Safari Zoo
Nevada’s largest zoo and the only zoo in Northern Nevada.
Wild Island Family Adventure Park
A waterpark, go-karts, mini-golf, bowling, birthday parties, and group parties.
Nevada Northern Railway
Features themed rides such as the Polar Express, a holiday favorite.