The Clay Center - Charleston, WV

I've heard people say that the Clay Center is awesome.
I had been there for a concert before,
but I was a bit skeptical that they would have things for our little ones.
I like for our kids to get out of the stroller and play. 
I think they learn best through hands on activities.

After my friend Ashley told me that there was stuff to do specifically for our little ones,
we took the plunge and bought a season pass.  Nothing like jumping in with both feet, right?

Do you know what that means?

When it 95 degrees with 95 percent humidity, I'll be freezing my tail feathers off
in the air conditioning this summer at The Clay Center!   Whoo hoo!

First off, the place is SO large, I couldn't bounce the light to get any decent shots.
Once I realized it wasn't going to be a photographic adventure,
and I stopped focusing on trying to get great pictures, we really started having fun.

For those of you who have never been, I'll try to explain some of the activities.
My pictures don't begin to do the place justice; it was AMAZING! 
  Copper musical instruments that make different sounds by simply touching them.
Super cool ball pit
Nolan likes balls now; he was in heaven.
This little center blew air and the balls hovered above the flowers; kind of cool!
There are all kinds of nooks and crannies for kids to climb in and out of.
Nolan spent quite a bit of time on the mini slide.
Crashing off was his favorite part.
They have a wobbly bridge; perfect for learning balance skills.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the walls.
They were so fun, fresh and funky!
Playing in sand and water.

Nolan never puts anything in his mouth... until now.
Yes, he ate a handful of sand!?!?
More water play.
Kensley's hands and face in pixels
With all the other new and different activities, Nolan still enjoyed coloring.
A building station in the space center.
I love how Nolan throws; notice the ball is going behind him. :)

 A huge magnetic wall and laser harp.
{The harp was one of my favorite things.  Red lasers were used instead of strings.
Run your hand across the invisible strings and listen to the beautiful music!}
Every kid loves a silly mirror, right?
 Do you see me?  The first photo was from a center that picked up on movement.
 Next, Kensley blew the LARGEST bubbles I have ever saw!
 Kensley liked the sound booth where you could make noises with different controls.
 Nolan's first introduction to Legos.
 I'm praying I have a few more years before these little things are littered all over our floors.
See the screen above Kensley's head?
You could make movies of yourself building
and then watch them played back in a movie style.

Since this was our first trip with the kids, let me give you some
tips and pointers for your visit to the Clay Center.

Bring cash - it costs $3 for parking. 
Thankfully I had extra quarters left over from my Random Acts of Kindness project.

Don't go when other schools are having field trips; it was crazy-crowded.

There's no need to bring a stroller.  As you can see, the kids get out and play.
It's just one more thing to keep track of.

Wear a backpack; leaves your hands free but gives you a place to store a few items.

Bring socks for your kids, but not white ones.
When you leave... they won't be white anymore.

Pack a change of clothes just in case.
Although it would probably be best to do the water stuff last,
I've yet to meet a kid who enjoys walking around in sticky, wet clothes.

Don't feel overwhelmed by taking your kids alone.
Their staff is super friendly and they have employees out and about at different
stations to help answer questions and make sure no children escape while playing.


For our family, it's totally worth the 2-hour round trip drive to have our children learn in such a fun environment. 
Kensley is already asking to go back, so I'm sure we will be visiting again next week!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Those are awsome pictures! Emma loves the air blowing the balls too, at COSI!