It was hard for me to decide whether or not I liked the Omaha Children's Museum. My daughter seemed to enjoy herself, but I did not feel the same excitement. At first I attributed my dislike for the museum to the fact that I was not a child and the designers did not create it with my age group in mind. However, this rationalization just did not satisfy my discontent. Maybe it was the two million runny-nosed super-hyper kids screaming and bouncing off of the walls that soured my experience (well maybe not two million but it seemed like it). But you have to expect a lot of kids with energy at a children's museum. Right? It could have been the steep price to get into the establishment. Or was it all of the broken equipment? I couldn't figure it out. It took me forever to figure out what had made me hate a place that seemed to bring smiles and laughter to "two million" kids in downtown Omaha everyday (500 S. 20th Street). It wasn't just the price, the extremely crowded play areas, or broken equipment. It was all of these factors combined that made me feel like an evil father that wants to board up an establishment as innocent as the Omaha Children's Museum.
Now don't get me wrong. I was very pleased about how much fun my daughter had at the museum. The museum offers many activities and toys to keep your child busy and mentally stimulated. Reasonably-safe playground equipment, tunnels, a water station, and a kids supermarket are some of the many activities for the little ones. There is even a carousel upstairs for the kids to ride for a small fee. For those parents with one-year-olds, there is a separate room for the babies to crawl around and explore in a safe and padded environment. Also, the museum has a traveling exhibit upstairs that changes throughout the year. Clifford the Big Red Dog was in town during our last visit. My daughter absolutely loves Clifford and was extremely anxious to see him. She wasn't disappointed. We spent most of our time upstairs with Clifford. In my opinion the Clifford exhibit was by far the best part of the museum which doesn't help those who want to go to the museum after Clifford leaves town.
One of the exhibits with the most potential is the air tubes/plastic balls station. The kids put a plastic ball in different holes and watch it travel across the room in a network of tubes. There are many different variations of this procedure that would keep most kids enthralled for hours. However, half of the tube stations did not work properly or had an inconvenient "out of order" sign. In other words, it was a giant bust.
Did I mention the slobber? Most parents are not effected by their own kid's slobber, but it is a totally different matter when you pick up a plastic piece of corn in the museum's supermarket that is completely soaked in some other kid's slobber. Every inch of the museum seemed to have either some form of snot, slobber, or drool on it. I was completely surprised when my daughter did not come down with a severe case of whooping cough or cholera after our visit to the museum because of all of the bodily fluids passed around. Plus some of the parents release their kids into the museum and park themselves on a bench and never raise their eyes from their cell phone to make sure their child isn't hanging upside down by a shoestring from the jungle-gym or swallowing a plastic strawberry whole. Basically, it is Omaha's version of some Darwinism experiment; "Only the strong shall survive!" I digress.
Omaha Children's Museum website
MY RATING (out of 10):