Fairbanks Museum Without Walls a Perfect Family Day

What fun to have AKontheGO correspondents across the state! Today we hear from Meadow Bailey of Fairbanks, PR pro and mom to two girls. Meadow and her crew are fans of the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, a “virtual museum” receiving rave reviews from Interior families. Why? Read Meadow’s review, and see if you don’t want to hop a plane and head north. 

On a recent Sunday morning in Fairbanks, the temperature was a balmy -17 degrees with dreary gray skies. My two elementary aged girls cooked breakfast, did a brief stint outside in an attempt to wear off extra energy, colored, played on the Wii, and sang karaoke. Cabin fever, we’re all fighting it, up here. But on this day, a special activity waited to provide just the diversion we needed; the Fairbanks Children’s Museum’s “Museum Without Walls” was here.

Held monthly, Museum Without Walls events are a discovery day for families, featuring activities full of exploration and creativity. In a town without a permanent children’s museum, a group of dedicated volunteers have worked for 10+ years to bring such a place to Fairbanks. Recent efforts have led to the monthly activity sessions, held at various locations in Fairbanks and surrounding communities. Part fundraiser, part informational awareness, the events are a great opportunity to introduce Interior families to concept of children’s museums.

While Museum Without Walls events are geared towards children ages one through eight, my 10-year-old loves to go. When she wasn’t drawing in shaving cream—or experimenting with baking soda and fizzy fun, she was helping younger kids explore the Bernoulli Blower, or digging her hands into a pool full of small squishy water balls in search of hidden toys.

That is the beauty of the Museum Without Wall experience. Fun, play-based learning experiences, for sure, but also plenty of opportunities for good manners and cooperative accomplishments, too. At a clever demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle, for instance, children hoisted a collection of foil balloons in the shape of crabs, dinosaurs and dogs into the blowing air – exploring, but at the same time taking turns collecting dropped balloons and apologizing for random body bumps.

After three hours, my two girls explored every inch of the museum’s temporary space, and we left curious: my seven-year-old wanting to know if a magnet would stick to the car, a direct result of interacting with one of the activities. A little worn out, a little hungry, but a lot wiser, it was a true cabin fever reliever.

Over 300 children attended the February Museum Without Walls event, 53 pounds of baking soda was used for fizzy fun, and almost $2,000 was raised towards opening a permanent Children’s Museum in Fairbanks. Not bad.

Cost: $5 per child or $15 per family, grown-ups are free

Who: Children age 1-8 (older siblings and parents will enjoy too!)

Where and When: The museum locations and days change each month, visit www.FairbanksChildrensMuseum.com or find them on Facebook to learn about upcoming locations, dates and times.

March events: Museum without walls is going on a road trip next month!

  • Saturday, March 16, 11:00 a.m., Delta/Fr. Greely, Aurora Community Activities Center
  • Sunday, March 17, 12:00 p.m., Tok School
  • Saturday, March 30, 11:00 a.m., North Pole, Ticasuk Brown Elementary

What to expect: The event always has a fantastic turnout, so enjoy the company and be involved with your family. Exhibits and interactive play stations include shaving cream on Plexiglas, gigantic foam blocks, the Bernoulli Blower, magnets, a farmer’s market and much, much more.

Our family favorite–the Deconstruction Station. Electronics or appliances like computers, VCRS, toasters and tape players are lined up, and kids in safety glasses use pliers, wire cutters and screwdrivers to explore the inner workings. All electronics are items that were donated to Interior Alaska Greenstar for recycling; the kids help the process by deconstructing.

Tips: Food is not available, so it’s wise to pack water and snacks. If kids are especially prone to messes, bring an extra clothing.

Posted in Fairbanks and Interior Alaska, Indoor Fun and tagged , .