Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Crayola Experience Review

Disclaimer:  I received tickets to the Crayola Experience complimentary along with a gift card to cover gas expenses to drive there. As always, my opinions are my own.

I was thrilled to hear a few weeks ago that I won tickets to visit the newly refurbished Crayola Experience.  It was a place that my little one had been asking to go to for a while but we just had not gotten there yet.

We decided to take a day trip to to Easton, Pennsylvania along  with some friends. It was a fast drive through NJ and The Crayola Experience was right in the cute little town of Easton. I was pleasantly surprised at how much Easton been revitalized. There was a a beautiful farmers market going on in the center of town on a sunny Saturday and lots of new shops, nice cafes and restaurants. I knew it was going to be a great day with fun entertainment for the kids and good food for everyone, how could it not be?
I was impressed with the Crayola Experience building. It was colorful and modern... totally impossible to miss. Parking was a breeze on the street and very inexpensive.  I think we paid $3.00 for 3 hours.  Hubby had to go back and feed the meter though but no big deal...

We thought that 3 hours would be plenty but you can spend a whole day there. We ended up staying about 4.5 hours and we didn't get to see everything. There is tons to do and the kids spent more time in some areas because they really enjoyed it a lot. Next time we go back we will have a better sense of time...we just got hungry after that much time and wanted to check out some of the local restaurants too.  We noticed there was also a cafe inside the Crayola Experience but we didn't get to check it out.

The Crayola Experience has four floors of different shows, entertainment and kids activities that are fun for kids of all ages including moms (Glamamama included...okay, hubby was laughing at me but I had fun too!). Most of the activities are included in the ticket price ($15.99) but a few are extra like the Puffy Paint ($5.00).  I wish that all of the activities were all included though.  It always makes it difficult with kids to keep saying "no" because you know you can't say yes to everything. I hope Crayola rethinks that aspect for parents.  Otherwise, I have to say Crayola was very generous. Each admission got you a bunch of tokens that you could use to make a custom crayon, buy a mini-box of crayons or marker from a Crayola vending machine or other activities. Speaking of vending machines, I was impressed to actually see a healthy snack food vending machine too.  That was a nice touch to see some healthy snack options--Go Crayola!

We started at the at the Crayon Factory live crayon theatre show which demonstrated how crayons were made.  It was animated and had a "Crayonologist" staff member interacting with two animated crayons on a large screen.  The Crayonologist showed how they actually make crayons with a machine and at the end of the show the kids received a crayon of their own.
The girls then ran out to the Wrap It Up! where they could customize their own crayons with a personalized label.  It was kind of cool but there were not a ton of machines so there was a bit of a wait. The machines had several different colors including Cornflower Blue, and Apple Green that day. I think the colors change daily.  One of the yellow machines was kind of wonky and wouldn't print the label correctly.  I quickly located a Crayola employee who was really nice. He gave the girls like 10 extra tokens and grabbed a tech person immediately to repair the issue. I thought that was very generous. The girls made labels with their own names then also made a few for us and friends.  They could choose a picture to go next to the name too like a peace sign, a heart, an alien or other fun option.  

We realized later that we missed the Marker Mania where you make your our own marker and Modeling Madness.... aaah, we didn't get to sculpt some Model Magic creations to take home which we were sad that we forgot. A tip:  don't be like us, look at the map and info sheet they give you periodically so you don't forget a fun area. There is a lot to see! 
Water Works was a fun area that was very different.  This was a cool interactive exhibit where you get to navigate colorful Crayola log flumes through a real canal with locks that you can open and close. The kids really seemed to enjoy this alot.
The kids and Glamamama really loved the Drip Art design station below.Glamamama the Kids were so excited to see the Drip Art area too which was like a Crayola version of Spin Art.  There was a little wait there too, but probably about 5 minutes. 
You get to choose two different colored crayons and there are Crayola employees there to help you get the big old machine going. Glamamama the kids needed a little bit of help to get it going.  You put in each crayon at a time and control how fast or slow the machine goes. That changes your design too.  You can see below how cool my daughter's came out. I think we will mat and frame it for her room.  It came out pretty gorgeous, right?

After the Drip Art the kids wanted to check out the huge play area. It was colorful with lots of tubes to climb in and run around. It wasn't too crowded and they had some fun in there. You can see everything so I felt very secure.

There was another area called Meltdown where you use melted crayons and drip them onto paper into a cool design of your own choice. There were several different colors to choose from and lots of open stations. There were long sticks that you dipped into the melted crayon and onto your paper.  My daughter and I did dotted designs and her friend used a drawing technique. It was fun. 

We also enjoyed making our own treasure boxes in another area.  This is my little ones creation in the making. There were plenty of materials and lots of tables to hunker down and create.
We enjoyed the Puzzle It! area where we got to make our own puzzles and cut them out with a special machine.  There were tables and blank white cardboard squares on the tables along with crayons. We had fun making our puzzle creations and then cranking the special machine to cut out the pieces.  Little ones will definitely need help with cranking the machine and removing the pieces though. 
There are a lot of benches dotted around each floor, in brightly colored Crayola colors so you can rest your tootsies when they get tired too. I was surprised at how much the girls really enjoyed it. I was thinking before we went that it was more for younger kids but I think even the 8-10 year old crowd will have a great time. It was a great day trip for us.
There was also a light studio, where you could draw with special markers on a light board, a huge crayon themed jungle gym, lots of coloring and craft stations and a

Our trip to the Crayola Experience was a success!

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