A Free Museum Exhibit
I’m always looking for fun activities to take my son to when the weather permits (not so much now sadly). Last Spring and Summer, we basically did “something” nearly every weekend. This was largely because I feel like getting out of the house and experiencing things is very important for someone his age. He was between four and five years old during peak Covid-19 lockdowns, and I feel that it robbed him of a bit of important time to be around other kids and experience the world. I suppose a bit of it is me trying to battle my own secondhand FOMO on his behalf, even though he is largely content with whatever we do. If you recall, I made it a goal in 2021 to stop making future plans like “man, I’d like to go to that museum” that are never resolved, from now on I go to that stuff, as much as I can.
My son has seemed to enjoy all of the little adventures we went on, and despite what some of my Facebook friends think, many of them are not too expensive at all. Most of the museums and outings I have been posting through my History Tour and the older History Boy Summer blogs have next to no cost attached to them, many of which were free or very cheap. The simple cost of gasoline (which SUCKED this year) and some souvenir money was all one had to be concerned with. You can’t go wrong with FREE, and today’s article is about one of the more overlooked free kids activities in Kansas City – the exhibition space at Crown Center, one of the city’s more beloved shopping centers. During the late Summer and Fall, the venue was packed full of fun and educational activities for kids to learn about one of the more endearing literary characters – Curious George.
Curious George – Let’s Get Curious! at Crown Center; Kansas City, MO.
“Children will have more fun than a barrel of monkeys as they explore the world of Curious George in Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! This interactive exhibit presents key STEAM concepts and invites visitors to learn like George – through curiosity, experience, and mischievous fun!”
Curious George is a popular children’s book character created by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey. The character first appeared in an unpublished book called Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys in 1939, later re-tooled into “Curious George” in 1941. The story follows a curious monkey named George who gets into various adventures and mishaps after being brought from his home in Africa to live in a city with a man in a yellow hat. Curious George has since become a beloved character and a cultural icon, with the books being translated into numerous languages and adapted into various media including television shows, movies, and video games. The character continues to be popular with children and adults alike, and new Curious George books are still being published today. The Reys were German Jews who fled Paris during World War II, which was the reason that the older version of their book was left unpublished. The Reys eventually emigrated to the United States, and thus Curious George was translated into English from the original French. The rest was history!
There’s really no better way to experience this character than to read the original books, and users of Kindle Unlimited are in luck because all of the original storybooks are on the service for free HERE,
“All the original storybooks featuring the cheerful, resilient monkey—and the mischief he gets into—in one special volume. In this collection of George’s best-loved adventures, fans young and old can follow along as he is captured by the Man with the Yellow Hat, who brings him to a zoo in the big city—and eventually, takes him home to live at his house and helps him out of a few sticky situations. With an introduction by critic Leonard Marcus, a retrospective note by publisher Anita Silvey, and a cataloged history of the Reys by curator Dee Jones, this volume includes:
Curious George Takes a Job
Curious George Rides a Bike
Curious George Gets a Medal
Curious George Flies a Kite
Curious George Learns the Alphabet
Curious George Goes to the Hospital”
Sadly, this exhibit has long come and gone, but I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out for the quarterly new exhibits and play experiences that always go in the storefront. Prior to this, there was an educational rainforest exhibit, and after it was a Christmas display, so it’s always something different and always a bit of free family entertainment. We actually did this as a third leg in a two-part trip to Lego Land and Sea Life Aquarium, for which I was able to score an amazing deal on combined tickets through my job. We went into the main shopping area to have some delicious Indian food for dinner, and saw signs for this everywhere, and knew it would be something to round out the night.
The exhibit appears to be something that travels around, and is about half games and half something of a miniature museum on the history of Curious George. For my son, the star attractions were a miniature grocery store with a replica register and fake food that the children could play pretend in, it was the sort of thing you see in just about every Children’s Museum I’ve ever been to. Next up was a huge factory play area with hand-cranked conveyer belts and foam blocks that kids would move around. He had a blast, and it was actually somewhat hard to get him out of there without making him upset.
We went at a somewhat busy time due to a holiday weekend, but despite that fact, there was plenty for every kid to do. Some of the smaller play-pieces were well-worn, and if this is a traveling exhibit as I suspect it is, a refresh of a few of the items might be in order at sometime soon. Despite that, this sort of thing is highly recommended, and has put this on my radar as something to keep an eye on. While you are there, stop at the Indian restaurant as well, it was awesome!