By Guest Bloggers from Kaleideum Staff
Winston-Salem has a wealth of cultural and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors! Deciding where to spend a vacation day can be a happy challenge. Kaleideum provides an option that will afford your family a full day of fun without breaking the bank.
Kaleideum was formed in 2016 by the merger of The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and SciWorks. The goal was to establish a single organization with a mission to “inspire wonder, curiosity, and lifelong learning in our children and community through interactive play and discovery.” Kaleideum broke ground on a new museum in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem in August 2021. The expected completion date will be late 2023. In the interim, the museum’s existing locations — Kaleideum Downtown (formerly The Children’s Museum) and Kaleideum North (formerly SciWorks) — continue to meet the community’s needs.
During the school year, Kaleideum North is open Tuesday-Friday from 9am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, and Sunday 1-5 pm. Kaleideum Downtown is open Saturday from 10a – 5pm and Sunday 1-5 pm. During the summer, both locations are open from 10 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday and 1-5 pm on Sundays. The museum’s offer endless opportunities for young people – and adults – to play and discover!
Kaleideum Downtown’s most popular permanent exhibits include several structures that visitors are invited to climb. Kids can enjoy the colorful, crocheted outdoor Kaleidoscape. Another is the famous giant Beanstalk Climber (which links the first and second floors). Lastly, they will love the Lucky Climber in the lobby. Kids make a beeline for these climbers and spend hours crawling and lounging in these exhibits.
Also on the first floor is The Prop Shop, a 1,000 square-foot “maker space.” Visitors can create, invent, and tinker using real tools and an abundance of materials – from buttons and beads to fabric, wood, cardboard, and much more. The Prop Shop includes a toddler area with a small slide, so the young ones can play while the older kids create.
There are other fun and educational exhibits as well. One is the Enchanted Forest, a so-called “forest village of folklore, fantasy, and fairy tales.” Another is the Food Lion Supermarket exhibit where children can shop for fresh (felt) fruits and veggies, try out the (non-heating) ovens, and practice counting at the cash registers. This space includes a seating area, so it’s a great place to rest your feet while the kids play. Similarly, the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory offers seating, as well as a padded “Baby Doughnut.” This is where little ones can play while older siblings work in the factory. The older kids can send plastic doughnuts through the conveyor belt system, collect the doughnuts in boxes, and take them to the delivery truck.
If you’ve had a morning of play at Kaleideum Downtown, grab lunch and then make the 10-minute drive to Kaleideum North. It is accessible via US 52 or by taking University Parkway from downtown. This expansive museum sits on 31 acres and offers experiences in the physical and natural sciences. It has eight indoor science halls, a 119-seat Planetarium, and an outdoor Environmental Park. (Whether you start your day at Kaleideum Downtown or Kaleideum North, you just have to take your receipt to the other location to gain free admission!)
Exhibits are divided into theme areas: physics, health, sound, Mountains to Sea (about North Carolina environments), and the ever-popular live animal displays. Most exhibits are hands-on and interactive, allowing participants to learn as they play, which is always a plus! KidsWorks is an exhibit space specifically for ages 5 and under. The L. David Mounts Agile City Room is a changing exhibit hall that includes space for robotics teams — exhibits range from Engineer It! to Toy Time or IceVenture. The Planetarium offers shows about space, as well as laser specials for an additional small fee. The Outdoor Science and Environmental Park includes exhibits, a nature trail, and a children’s garden where kids can dig in the dirt. There is also a butterfly and hummingbird garden.
Kaleideum admission is $10 per person for ages 1 and up. The museum is also part of Museums for All, a program that allows families with EBT cards a $3 per person admission price. For specific information about hours, pricing, special exhibitions, and daily activities at both locations, visit kaleideum.org.
View our list of other TMoM Day Trip Ideas here!
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