Nestled in the heart of Erie, the Experience Children’s Museum is a sanctuary of learning and creativity for children. With its rich array of interactive exhibits and imaginative play spaces, the museum promises an educational journey woven seamlessly with fun.

This article unfolds the unique facets of this institution, offering a glimpse into a world where every corner is engineered to ignite the spark of learning and imagination in every child.

Erie’s Family Paradise

Erie has carved its reputation as a city where family moments are not just created but are celebrated. The Experience Children’s Museum stands as a gem in this city, located a stone’s throw away from the iconic Erie Art Museum. Celebrating over two decades of infusing education with entertainment, the museum opens a world where children can delve into interactive activities spread across three dynamic floors and an imaginative outdoor space.

The Explore Floor

Children stepping into the museum are greeted by the Explore Floor, a universe of interactive play. The centerpiece, a large, innovative water table, is adorned with features like heat-sensitive fountains and whimsical rubber ducky slides, offering children a hands-on exploration of water dynamics.

  • Innovative Cave Exploration:
    1. A cave, brimming with details about geology, archaeology, and paleontology, inviting children to a world of discovery.
    2. Illuminated by small lanterns, offering a mix of adventure and learning.
    3. A slide exit, adding a touch of fun to the educational journey.

Imagination Unleashed

Ascending to the Imagination Floor, children are ushered into spaces that transform imagination into a tangible experience. This floor is a harmony of educational play zones, each echoing the subtle melody of creative and cognitive development.

  • Interactive Zones Include:
    1. A stage for blossoming performers.
    2. A replica pizza shop for aspiring chefs.
    3. A model railroad igniting the engineer’s spark.
    4. A Wegman’s grocery store simulation, complete with realistic food items and a working conveyor belt.

The Outdoor Ensemble

Nestled in the heart of the Experience Children’s Museum, the Outdoor Ensemble is a masterpiece where nature and innovation intertwine. This space breaks free from the norms of traditional playgrounds, unveiling a universe where each element is meticulously designed to infuse learning within the play.

  • Musical Marvels:
    1. A diverse array of musical instruments, from xylophones to unique wind instruments, each meticulously crafted to foster auditory skills and introduce children to the mesmerizing world of sounds.
    2. The instruments serve dual purposes – igniting musical interests and enhancing sensory development.
  • Nature’s Classroom:
    1. Surrounded by lush greenery, the outdoor space becomes a living classroom where children explore biology and ecology firsthand, understanding the intricate balance of nature.
    2. Designed seating areas for discussions, storytelling, or guided educational sessions under the open sky.
  • Interactive Installations:
    1. Structures that encourage physical activity are infused with educational elements, ensuring every jump, run, and climb is a step toward learning.
    2. Seasonal workshops utilizing the outdoor space to teach about nature, weather patterns, and the environment.

The Creativity Floor

The Creativity Floor, though not fully revealed, teases a world where art and science converge. It promises an odyssey where colors, textures, and technologies create a mosaic of learning opportunities.

  • Art Oasis:
    1. A space adorned with an array of art supplies encouraging free expression and the exploration of artistic potential.
    2. Periodic exhibitions to showcase the young artists’ creations, instilling confidence and appreciation for art.
  • Science Corner:
    1. Hands-on experiments and interactive modules simplify complex scientific concepts, making learning intuitive and fun.
    2. Collaborations with local scientists and educators to host workshops and demonstrations.
  • For the Little Ones:
    1. Specially designed for toddlers and infants, ensuring safety while maximizing exploratory and sensory experiences.
    2. Activities align with developmental milestones, nurturing cognitive and motor skills in the early years.

The Grand Expansion

The $18 million project marks a renaissance for the Experience Children’s Museum. Every square foot of the additional 19,000 promises a junction where innovation, education, and entertainment will meet.

  • Lake Erie Inspired Floor:
    1. A space that mirrors the majestic Lake Erie, introducing children to its ecosystem, geographical significance, and conservation needs.
    2. The handicap-accessible climbing ship becomes an icon of inclusivity, ensuring every child is a part of the adventure.
  • Water Table Exhibit:
    1. At 45 feet long, it’s more than a play area; it’s a hydrodynamic exploration where principles of fluid dynamics become child’s play.
    2. Interactive sessions to teach water conservation and the science behind the flow.

Unwrapping the Future

Anticipation is the melody, contributing to the symphony of growth at the Experience Children’s Museum.

  • Technology Integration:
    • Introducing augmented reality, virtual explorations, and interactive tech to transform learning into a futuristic experience.
    • Periodic tech upgrades to keep pace with the evolving educational landscape.
  • Community Collaboration:
    • Strengthening ties with local educational institutions, organizations, and experts to enrich the learning resources and experiences offered.

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum is not a static entity; it’s a living, breathing organism echoing the vibrancy, curiosity, and endless potential of every child that steps into its realm. Every nook, cranny, and corner is a narrative, a detailed story where education isn’t imposed but is as natural as breathing.

  • Silent Narratives:
    1. Each exhibit tells a story of meticulous planning, of the unyielding commitment to converting every touch, look, and interaction into learning moments.
    2. Collaboration with global museums to bring diverse learning modules, making it a global educational hub.
  • Echoes of Growth:
    1. Every laughter and gaze of wonder is testimony to the museum’s success in transforming learning into a joyous, sought-after journey.
    2. Periodic reviews and enhancements, ensuring the museum evolves, mirroring the dynamic needs of modern education.

In the midst of colors, sounds, and endless explorations, the museum stands as a solemn pledge. A promise that every child, irrespective of their background, is deserving of an education that’s as boundless, as imaginative, and as infinite as their potential. In this sanctuary, learning is not a structured path but a horizon where skies blend into the oceans, where limits dissipate into possibilities, and where learning is, indeed, an experience.

The Architectural Marvel and Safety Measures

The Experience Children’s Museum is an epitome of intricate design and strict adherence to safety measures. The architectural ingenuity of Weber Murphy Fox is vividly displayed in every corner of the museum, showcasing a harmonious blend of aesthetic appeal and functional design. Here, the key focus is not just on engaging the young minds but also on ensuring their safety, a dual commitment that defines the museum’s essence.

Climbing Ship: A Detailed Overview:

  • Design: The climbing ship, one of the museum’s primary attractions, is engineered with precision to ensure safety while igniting the imaginative powers of the young visitors. The design intricacies go beyond visual appeal, integrating safety features that minimize any risk of accidents.
  • Cushioned Floor: A closer look at the cushioned floor reveals the thoughtful integration of shock-absorbent materials, meticulously laid to cushion any falls and provide a safe playground for children to explore without restraints.
  • Safety Protocols: Every structural design, from the handrails to the climbing platforms, is subjected to rigorous safety checks. The museum’s dedication to safety is reflected in its adherence to international safety standards, ensuring every visitor enjoys a worry-free experience.

The Thematic Exploration

The Lake Theme Magnified:

  • Educational Insights: While the Erie Canal, agriculture, and Lake Erie’s climatic influence are thematic focuses, the museum employs interactive tools and exhibits to make the learning process engaging. Children and adults alike are introduced to these themes through visual, auditory, and tactile exhibits, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience.
  • Interactive Climbing Structure: The five iconic land lighthouses of Erie are not static displays but integral parts of an interactive climbing structure. Children are encouraged to climb, explore, and discover, each step unveiling historical and geographical facts associated with these lighthouses.

Engaging Details Enhancing the Visitor Experience

The Lobby’s Magic:

  • Interactive Donor Display: Names of the museum’s benefactors are not just inscribed but are a part of an interactive gear system. Each turn of the gear unveils a name, making the recognition of donors an engaging experience for visitors.
  • Photo Sessions: Diverse backdrops for photo sessions ensure that every visit is memorialized in unique frames. The museum offers a range of themes, each designed to resonate with varied interests and fantasies.

An Aquatic Journey:

  • Aquarium’s Uniqueness: Unlike conventional displays, the aquarium at the Experience Children’s Museum is a portal to the underwater world. Each species of fish, including those popularized by “Finding Nemo,” is presented with detailed insights into their habitat, behaviors, and ecological significance.
  • Interactive Features: The aquatic journey is accentuated by interactive features allowing visitors to engage with the exhibits, eliciting a deeper understanding of marine biodiversity.
a young boy touching a starfish tank

Detailed Insights into Aquatic Life:

  • Species Diversity: The aquarium is home to a myriad of marine species, each chosen to provide insights into the diverse aquatic ecosystems. Informational plaques and interactive sessions offer detailed explorations into the life, habits, and conservation of these aquatic beings.
  • Conservation Education: The museum takes a step further to integrate conservation education into the aquatic displays. Visitors are not just introduced to the mesmerizing world of marine life but are also educated on the ongoing conservation efforts and challenges, instilling a sense of responsibility and awareness.

Each section of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum is meticulously curated to offer a blend of education, engagement, and safety. It stands as a testament to the integration of architectural prowess, educational foresight, and safety commitment, ensuring that every visitor steps out enriched, enlightened, and eager for the next visit. The museum is not just a space but an experience, where learning is woven into every exhibit, and safety is the underlying theme that anchors the entire exploration journey.

Interactive Displays and Learning Platforms

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum is a sanctuary where learning transcends traditional boundaries, morphing into an interactive and engaging experience. One of the pinnacle exhibits includes an elaborately designed auto repair shop.

A Deep Dive into the Auto Repair Exhibit:

  • Practical Learning: The exhibit is not merely a display but a hands-on learning platform where youngsters can interact with various components of a car. It’s meticulously designed to offer insights into the mechanical and operational aspects of vehicles.
  • Quality Investment: With an investment of $56,000, the kid-sized car is a testament to the museum’s commitment to providing quality, detailed, and educational exhibits. Every element, from the engine to the exhaust, is crafted to mimic the real-life functionalities.
  • Educational Outcomes: Children learn about basic mechanical concepts, tools usage, and maintenance practices. It’s a blend of fun and learning where the complexities of automobile mechanics are unraveled in an engaging manner.

Outdoor Classroom: A Blend of Nature and Learning

The 9,500-square-foot outdoor classroom is a space that marries the tranquility of nature with the invigorating process of learning.

Features of the Outdoor Classroom:

  • Educational Gardens: Raised garden beds offer practical insights into botany, ecology, and the cycles of nature. Children engage in planting, nurturing, and observing the life cycle of plants.
  • Water Features: Designed not just for recreation but for educational explorations, offering insights into fluid dynamics, water cycles, and conservation.
  • Stage and Kitchen: An arena where culinary arts meet performance, offering a holistic learning experience that transcends academic boundaries.

Nostalgic and Imaginative Exhibits

The museum is a realm where the past and present coalesce, and the rope-controlled balloons are a picturesque representation of this fusion.

Exploring the Balloon Exhibit:

  • Visual and Sensory Engagement: Each balloon, meticulously designed, is not just a visual masterpiece but an interactive element invoking tactile and visual sensory stimulation.
  • Narrative Storytelling: Every piece narrates a story, echoing the bygone eras of the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, yet infused with modern interactive features.

The Journey Ahead

With the unveiling of the renovated space, a plethora of educational riches awaits.

Features to Anticipate:

  • Multifaceted Learning Hub: The space metamorphoses into a diverse learning environment, equipped with thematic exhibits and interactive classrooms.
  • Innovation Station: A realm where technology and creativity converge, offering hands-on experiences in robotics, programming, and technological innovations.

Flight and Construction Exhibits

Soaring Heights:

  • Aviation Insights: The flight lab is an intricate design of aviation wonders, offering hands-on learning about aerodynamics, aircraft designs, and the evolution of flight technology.
  • Construction Wonders: Children immerse in practical building exercises, understanding the correlation between theoretical designs and practical construction.

Recycling Display

In the era of environmental consciousness, the recycling display emerges as a beacon of sustainable learning.

Sustainable Learning:

  • Plastics Education: Detailed insights into the lifecycle of plastics, their impact, and the imperative recycling processes.
  • Interactive Learning: Children engage in interactive activities that underscore the significance of recycling and waste management in environmental conservation.

The Journey of Discovery

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum is not a destination but a journey, an odyssey of discovery where learning is an interactive, hands-on, and explorative process.

Unwrapping the Educational Tapestry:

  • Silent Educators: Each exhibit, intricately designed and detailed, serves as a silent educator. They are repositories of knowledge, offering learnings in science, art, technology, and environmental consciousness.
  • Future Citizens: The museum is committed to nurturing a generation that’s not just informed but also conscious, creative, and responsible. It’s a training ground where future scientists, artists, and leaders are molded.

The museum, in its architectural grandeur and educational richness, stands as a testament to the seamless amalgamation of learning and recreation. Every corner is a narrative, every exhibit a chapter in this unfolding book of discovery, education, and enlightenment.

An Array of Amusements

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum in Erie is a testament to quality transcending quantity. Though not sprawling in size, it is a domain where meticulously crafted displays, interactive exhibits, and a variety of engaging activities make every square foot a universe of exploration for youngsters. 

The attention to detail and the diverse array of exhibits ensure that children of varied interests and even adults find themselves immersed in an atmosphere of learning fused with recreation.

Diversification of Displays:

  • Holistic Engagement: Even within its compact space, the museum successfully integrates a broad spectrum of exhibits, each uniquely tailored to stimulate cognitive, emotional, and sensory development.
  • Weather Adaptability: The institution serves as a perfect retreat during inclement weather, ensuring that the learning and fun don’t halt even when the skies are grey.
  • A Break from the Outdoors: Located in proximity to the scenic beaches of Presque Isle, the center offers a refreshing and educational diversion, amalgamating indoor explorative activities with the natural allure of the outdoors.

Integrating Technology and Traditional Play

In the ever-evolving realm of child development, the expERIEnce Children’s Museum has mastered the art of blending traditional play with contemporary technological advancements. The center is a medley of classic and modern, ensuring every child, with diverse preferences, finds a world to immerse into.

a young female teacher with children looking at a PC monitor screens during a lesson

Key Highlights:

  • Interactive Tech Exhibits: These are designed to stimulate logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and foster an early interest in science and technology.
  • Classic Play Areas: These foster social skills, imagination, and physical development amidst setups that echo timeless childhood joys.
  • Educational Workshops: Regularly organized to provide in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience on various topics, ensuring continuous learning.

A Haven for Parent-Child Bonding

The museum isn’t merely a playground for children but a haven where parents and children embark on a journey of mutual discovery. It’s a space where familial bonds are strengthened and where parents witness the unfolding of their children’s potentials.


  • Parent-Child Interactive Zones: Specifically designed areas where parents and children engage in activities that foster teamwork, communication, and bonding.
  • Educational Resources for Parents: The museum offers resources that equip parents with insights to nurture their child’s developmental journey.
  • Community Engagement: Regular events that foster networking among families, building a supportive community for shared learning and growth.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Accessibility and inclusivity lie at the heart of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum’s ethos. Every exhibit and every program is crafted with a keen attention to ensuring that children of all abilities are not just included but feel belonged.

Elements of Inclusivity:

  • Adaptive Designs: Exhibits crafted to be accessible for children with mobility challenges, ensuring equal participation.
  • Sensory-Friendly Environments: Spaces designed to cater to children with sensory sensitivities, making the museum a comfortable experience for all.
  • Educational Programs: Tailored to accommodate diverse learning paces and styles, underscoring the museum’s commitment to personalized learning experiences.


The Experience Children’s Museum emerges not just as a center of varied exhibits but as an entity that embodies the holistic development of every child. With an ensemble of interactive displays, it ingeniously integrates learning with play, theory with practice, and observation with participation. The museum transcends being a mere edifice of artifacts and transforms into a dynamic space of endless discoveries, innovations, and explorations.

Each exhibit, crafted with precision and insight, is a chapter in the unwritten manuscript of a child’s developmental journey. Here, learning isn’t dictated but discovered; knowledge isn’t imposed but explored. In the museum’s silent corridors, amidst the echoes of playful laughter and the quiet hum of contemplative silence, an unspoken narrative unfolds – a narrative of childhood explored in all its vibrant hues, multifaceted dimensions, and infinite potentials.

As families step out of the enchanting realms of the Experience Children’s Museum, they carry not just the tangible artifacts of artistry and innovation but the intangible legacy of cherished memories, enlightened minds, and the invincible spirit of ceaseless curiosity. Every visit is not a conclusion but a commencement of yet another journey into the magical worlds of imagination, creativity, and learning. The museum, in its silent eloquence, is a testament to the unwavering commitment to nurturing the future – one child, one family, and one discovery at a time.