Staying at home all the time is not the most fun experience for a kid. You may often find yourself at a loss for fun activities for our children that can also be educational. However, you are in luck! There are many fantastic things to do here locally in Mount Laurel. Take a look at our list of cool educational destinations around Mount Laurel.
“Adventure Aquarium Shark” licensed through CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Jim, the Photographer
Kids love nothing more than visiting an aquarium. It is both exciting and educational, except the best part is kids do not realize they are learning while they look at the sea life. The Adventure Aquarium is mostly indoors and sectioned off into zones. Zone B is outdoors and has penguins.
Zone A is the shark exhibit with the Shark Lab, where your kids can learn shark facts. The ever-popular Touch-A-Shark is also in this zone, for those brave enough actually to touch a shark! Zone A also has many presentation programs such as Meet the Divers and “Who wants to be a Fishonaire?” You and your children can look at amazing fish in the tanks, Shipwreck, and Under the Boardwalk, if your child is partial to turtles. You can spend some time watching rescued turtle Seamore swim around his tank.
At Penguin Island in outdoor Zone B, you can watch the penguins swim. If you’re lucky enough, you may catch them while they’re being fed. The Stingray Beach Club is also in this zone with tanks filled with stingrays your children can touch. Smaller children can go over to the junior area so they will be able to reach the stingrays.
Zone C is the KidZone, perfect for children aged 6 years and under. Little ones who have spent a lot of time in their stroller will be able to get out, run around, meet the AquaPals, see a touch tank, and learn what makes frogs croak.
The final zone, Zone D, has the Adventure Aquarium with hippos Button and Genny. They are fed four times throughout the day, giving you plenty of opportunities to watch them eat. You and your children can also watch them swim from the underwater viewing tanks or the lookout above. Walkthrough the Shark Tunnel to see many different sharks and sea life. They have the most extensive collection of sharks in the Northeast and over 15,000 aquatic animals.
Please Touch Museum
Children are used to being told not to touch anything when they visit museums. However, the Please Touch Museum takes a different approach. Since children under the age of 5 primarily learn through play, this museum emphasizes activities that encourage their social, emotional, and cognitive development. The museum was opened in 1976 by a Montessori educator Portia Sperr. What started as a 20,000 square foot exhibit has undergone many renovations over the years and is now in Memorial Hall, making it one of the leading children’s museums in the United States.
The museum has two different levels. On the main level, they have:
- Adventure Camp
- Happy Camper
- Imagination Playground
- Please Touch Garden
- River Adventures
- Roadside Attractions
- Rocket Room
- Storytime Cabin
Their lower level has the following exhibits:
- Healthy Me
- Centennial Innovations
- Cents and Sensibility
- Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace
Each of these areas offers hands-on experience letting your child learn about that space and all of its components through activities and stories.
New Jersey State Museum
The New Jersey State Museum is the perfect place for a family outing. The museum has many exhibits for the entire family to enjoy. One of its many attractions is the museum’s planetarium. Listen to a sky talk, watch a show, and participate in a Q & A with one of the museum’s educators.
Visit the Discovery Den, which is best suited for kids aged 8 and under. Enjoy pretend play, art-making, puzzles, building sets, and scientific inquiry. All of the activities on the Discovery Den focus on the natural world. There is even a small explorers area for those aged 6 months to 5 years old to play and learn. The museum offers stories, crafts, and theme play. Each session lasts 45 minutes and is on the third weekend of every month on Friday and Saturday. The program is free to attend.
Garden State Discovery Center
The Garden State Discover Center offers a wide variety of rooms for you and your children to visit. There is something for everyone, from the hands-on climbing wall and the treehouse to many different craft zones.
If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, head over to the dinosaurium to learn more about the dinosaurs who roamed the Earth long ago. The Discovery Theatre is the perfect spot for watching live theater. They bring stories to life and make stories more interesting for children. This also exposes children to the arts, some for the first time. Watch programs such as Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Dino Tales, and The Frog Princess.
If you want to take your kids somewhere just to let loose and play, take them over to Jake’s Place for some playtime. Kids learn best through playing, and some old-fashioned time on the playground can give way to all sorts of learning opportunities.
Jake’s Place is an all-inclusive playground, meaning every child can play there regardless of their disabilities. Everyone has access to each part of the playground. Emphasis is put on sharing, making friends, and being kind to one another, all valuable skills for children to learn early in life. Pack a picnic lunch and head over to the park for quality family time and fun. There are plenty of shaded areas and tables to eat at.
Learning is so important for children, and while we teach them so much at school, outside activities at museums, aquariums, and parks are crucial to their development. We hope you enjoyed our list and give some of these destinations a try. Do you have a favorite educational spot near Mount Laurel? Crème de la Crème of Mount Laurel, NJ would love to hear about it! Drop us a note and let us know where you and your family love to visit.