The "Amazeum" opened up in Bentonville a few weeks ago. Thought I'd share quick review from my first trip.
The Amazeum is a children's museum located on the grounds of the Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Art Museum. It was built mostly from the Walton Family foundation and the Lee Scott Family (former Walmart CIO and current board member). Unlike the Art museum....it does have an entry cost of $10 per person to get in. I'm assuming that allowing a free cost (like the Art Museum) at a place that these would be had to manage. I've been to a few other children's museums like this one and $10 is the best price I've seen.
I have family in town the week and in a last minute decision I took 3 of my own kids plus one cousin to the museum last Saturday afternoon while my wife and other kids/cousins attended older pool party. So I had 4 kids between 4-11 with me to experience the new attraction.
The building is nice and new. Ironically I didn't find anything about it 'amazing' but it was done well. Most of the experience is in one large room separated into different sponsored sections. Most of the same stuff I've seen at other children's museums where around. Play places with air tubes...conveyor belts that moved blocks around...'kid' sized walmart grocery store with the play food, checkouts, shelf's, homestead cabin house, tornado sim, big climbing tree structure, fake cave to walk through, lots of hands on stations to touch and do little experiments.
They have a water area that included some overhead water showers. I've seen water sections/rooms at other childrens museums but they always just used water tables/hoses that kind of restricted how wet you would get. This place has sprinklers from the ceiling for you to dodge (I guess)? I told my youngest (4yo) to stay away from them and not get wet but.....of course....he was playing at a water table got excited about something and walked backwards right under a shower. In a matter of seconds he was soak (diaper included). I just don't get why they have them here? I pulled him outside and had to change his diaper....very frustrating to me.
They also had an outside area that seems to only be 1/2 done so far. A few stations, a climbing structure, and a just planted maze.
Only a few things seem to stand out. The 'art room' had a small glass walled area for painting. They had water paint in a few colors with brushes and window washers. Kids could paint on the windows and then wipe it clean. Great spot for pictures and the kids had a lot of fun. Kids also like a table that had sand and turn tables....they could create stuff in the sand as it turned. My 7yo loved the air tubes and balls by the spongebob display. He went to town with connecting pipes and see how he could change the way the foam balls moved and shot up in the air.
Museum also has a Hersey's lab that required a ticket (no charge) that was already sold out so we didn't get to try. Not sure what that is about.
Overall we spent about 2.5 hours there and I think saw everything and that was with me trying to take it in slowly. The oldest who had never been to anything like it before had a lot of fun and got in a few smiles (a rarity for her). My kids all enjoyed a few of the things but my 9 and 7yo both thought other places we had been where better. It was packed when we went....parking was full and overflowed down the street to the church and other direction in to the Crystal bridges parking. It probably would have been better with a smaller crowd too.
I think it is best for younger kids 3-11 yo range. The older ones will probably be bored. If you in NWA with that age range I would highly recommend it for a couple hours of fun. Parents....come expecting to play with the kids....that is part of the experience. Was kind of sad see some of the parents just standing around staring at their phone while their kids watched other adult and kids to figure out what to do
BTW.....The Magic House in St. Louis is by far the best children's museum like this I've been too. Their is one in Jackson Mississippi that is pretty good too. I'd rank Amazeum right behind them at this point. It will be interesting how this place changes over the next few years....because of it's location and funding I think it has the potential to actually grow to be a lot better.