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Children’s Discovery Museum

San Jose, Calif.'s, museum for kids lets the little ones touch everything.

Tape Scape at Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose, image
Photo caption
Children frolic in the Tape Scape, an environment constructed from packing tape.

Once upon a time, in the heart of San Jose, Calif., there was a museum where kids could touch any object they wanted. And, actually, it's still there.

Every nook and cranny of the bright purple, 52,000 square-foot Children's Discovery Museum is filled with hands-on exhibits. There are more than 150 in all, including Boing, which is all about things that wind, wiggle, and stretch—from rubber band race cars to life-size marionettes. In Streets, kids can climb into a real fire truck, ambulance, and Model-A Ford. In the Wonder Cabinet, a 3,500 square-foot space specifically designed for toddlers, little ones can finger paint, walk through a child-size kaleidoscope, or perform a puppet show. At the Crawl-Through Tunnel, babies can play with mirrors, dioramas, and an aquarium in the floor. Older kids can experiment with a ham radio set.

You'll need a couple of hours to really experience the museum; however, if your time is short, so be sure to check out Oh Seuss! Off to Great Places. Created by the Children's Museum of Manhattan, this traveling exhibit celebrates Dr. Seuss's 100th birthday. Kids can build a life-size throm-dim-bu-lator, unschlump a 10-foot-tall Borfin, or climb aboard the Green Eggs and Ham train.

If this leaves your stomach growling, head to the café for kid-friendly fare such as grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Photography courtesy of Oleg Alexandrov/Wikipedia

This article was first published in November 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.