Recently our family spent some time at the Crayola Experience which opened at the Florida Mall in Orlando earlier this year. We attended a birthday party hosted there on a Sunday morning. When we first arrived, we were not sure exactly what to expect. We had friends from church who had gone to visit once before us and they loved it but their descriptions were limited.
Upon entering on the main floor we were directed to the ticket desk and checked in for the party we were attending. We noted that the entrance prices are $16.99 for adults and children (over age two) but the annual pass is only $29.99! We found the annual pass price to be more than reasonable and plan to buy them soon. Our friend (the party host) provided us with entry tickets and we headed up the massive stairs to the activity floor.
My first impressions were of awe and excitement. And I’m the grown up! There were many different exhibits and activity stations spread out across the massive floor area, some of which were high tech looking and quite intriguing. Along one wall was an almost ceiling height play gym with climbing areas and slides called the Color Playground. Our eyes were darting to and fro; with the kids squealing happily, Hubby and I had trouble focusing our minds on where to start. We decided to link up with our friends and the other party attendees in the Color Playground.
After pizza and cake in a party room we were set free on the floor to explore with complementary tokens. We first headed to the Wrap It Up station where the girls were able to decorate and label their own crayon label. There were simple machines that allowed the kids to perfectly place the label onto the crayon without much help. This station required one token.
After this we wandered to one of the many coloring stations in the center of the floor. Passing the Modeling Magic station (modeling clay “purchased” with one token can be used to play at tables with all sorts of cool gadgets and molds) we headed to the Art Alive corner.
In this corner one entire wall was a video projection of an undersea environment. At the tables were several tablets set up where the kids could choose to either color and decorate templates pictures of undersea animals or create their own designs on a blank template. When the pictures were completed and submitted electronically, the kids watched in wonder as they appeared miraculously on the projected wall, animated and floating about the ocean floor. I loved the look of wonder on each child’s face as the pics appeared on the wall; a mixture of pride and amazement at seeing their creations come to life.
We attended a brief show in the Crayon Factory auditorium which showed the steps of creating a batch of crayons in the factory. It was entertaining and informative, showing the history of the crayon making process and it was hosted by two perky animated crayons (Scarlet & Turk) and a live “Crayonologist”. The show was the perfect length (a little under 20 minutes) and the design of the program kept the kids attention the entire time.
The next stop were the Drip Art and Melt a Mold stations. These activities did not require any tokens but had lines to participate. In the Drip Art Exhibit, the girls chose two colors from a basket of crayons. With the help of the assistants, the girls placed the crayons into a machine which melted them and dripped them onto a spinning paper disk. The girls were able to choose the speed of the spin which in turn influenced how their art appeared. The Melt a Mold Station utilized similar machines but instead dripped the melted crayons into a chosen mold; the children could choose from a ring, seahorse, car or a shark mold. Both of the projects made super cool souvenirs. By early afternoon there were long lines to take turns in each of these exhibits. Fortunately there were staff members present in each area who kept the activities moving swiftly; we never waited more than 7 or 8 minutes to have a turn.
These were just a few of the main attractions available. There was also a dedicated toddler play area and a really cool blank slate “world” where children can color on the walls and props.
We spent about 4.5 hours of our Sunday there and we could have spent more as we didn’t see everything. We are planning to purchase the annual passes on our next trip. If you are in the Orlando area and are looking for a great indoor activity for the whole family that will keep you engaged for hours, Crayola Experience is the place to go!