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Madison museum just right for children

Interactive exhibits combine learning with plenty of fun

Published: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 1:34 a.m. CDT
(By Dave Martin)
The Bone Bridge is part of the Wildernest exhibit at the Madison Children's Museum. The museum is suitable from children 12 and younger.
(By Erin Moore Photography)
The Brand Log Cabin is a restored, late 1840s structure. During the winter, it is not open regularly, but it's a warm weather favorite open from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for scheduled programs. This exhibit is part of the Madison Children's Museum.

MADISON, Wis. – Children 12 and younger can learn and play at a museum just for them.

If you are in Wisconsin's capital and have kids along for the ride, don't pass up the Madison Children's Museum. It is sure to delight.

Several exhibits are ready for young explorers:

n Jim and Susan Bakke Art Studio: This is it – a place where children can be creative and have fun with various media, such as painting, weaving, sculpting, making textiles, and pottery. They also can act and dance. Of particular interest is an interactive paint wall where they can paint and no one yells about it; and the shadow room, where they can try to catch their own shadows.

n The DeAatley Community Concourse knows how to be interactive. There are water exhibits, public art, ball runs, and gear exhibits. Known for its surprises, the concourse boasts a "squashed" house. Food and snacks can be purchased at the Roman Candle Sparkler, which is in the area.

n The Brand Log Cabin is a restored log home similar to the dwellings of early Madison settlers. It sits in the corner of the museum parking lot and attracts area third-grade classrooms looking for a dose of history.

n Possible-opolis is another interactive area. This one is for ages 5 and older. The exhibit is big on invention and solving problems. Some of the highlights are a two-story climber that was made of recycled products; a cow hoist; a gerbil wheel that uses kid power; and a wayback machine, an electronic play spot.

n Rooftop Ramble is above it all. In spite of winter, the area is usable in all four seasons. Here, urban ecology and weather reign, along with the sky above. It has homing pigeons and a children's garden.

n Wildernest suits children from birth to age 5. With a village look, it features textures, colors, and light. Activity huts offer activities, and it is even fun to move around. The Bone Bridge, for example, invites exploration. Look for a raised platform and a tree house, and be ready to try the climbing wall. Even parents have a spot to go here – the Cozy Cottage offers early learning resources for them.

No matter what exhibits catch the eye, this museum is a good destination for families.

If you go

What: Madison Children's Museum

Where: 100 N. Hamilton St. on Capitol Square

When: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, Labor Day to Memorial Day

Cost: $7.95, adults and children; $6.95 seniors and grandparents; and free for children younger than 1

Information: Visit or call 608-256-6445.

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