Review and photos of Mindbender Mansion exhibit at Strong Museum through September 6, 2010
A great reason to bring older kids to Strong National Museum of Play
by Debra Ross, Publisher, KidsOutAndAbout.com
My kids are 9 and almost-11, and we still have a family membership to Strong National Museum of Play. For the past year or two, I keep thinking to myself that maybe it will be the last year that I purchase the family membership--but then each time we go, my ever-growing kids have such a wonderful time that I pat myself on the back yet again for having been so wise as to have renewed our membership for another year. It's cliché, yes, but Strong really does have something for everyone.
When out-of-town guests visit as they did this past weekend, we always bring them to Strong, partly because they've almost certainly already heard about it, and partly because we look like such heroes when we do. Our friends' kids are 5, 8, and 10, so Strong was the natural first choice for showing them the best of what Rochester offers kids. We spent much of our time at Strong's Mindbender Mansion exhibit, which will continue on the first floor near Wegmans through September 6.
The video on the Strong web page devoted to Mindbender Mansion shows mostly younger kids enjoying the games and puzzles in this marvelous traveling exhibit. But I would say that kids who are a bit older, say age 6 to 12, get the most out of it. You really have to be able to read to gather all of the hidden clues and secret passwords that come from solving the puzzles. Solving the mystery took our kids, working together, about 45 or 50 minutes, and then they felt so satisfied. I love when something that is fun for my kids is also an accomplishment! All of the kids left feeling like detectives who were eager to take on their next challenge. Which, of course, warms a mom's heart like almost nothing else.
And there's something else about Mindbender Mansion that distinguishes it from other traveling exhibits: Doing the puzzles is also satisfying for adults. Sure, it takes us somewhat less time to figure them out, but they're definitely an enjoyable brain exercise. So, when you bring your kids, don't just sit in a corner with a book! And remember, there are those wonderful extended hours on Friday and Saturday -- until 8pm!
Here are some of our photos from the exhibit so you know what to expect:
(This one got ALL of the adults stuck, so if you figure it out, can you please email me the secret? Thanks. Even Candace, puzzle wizard that she is, didn't solve it.)
© 2010, Debra Ross