Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum

October 1, 2013
by piedfam

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A fun place to pass the time on a rainy afternoon?
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Submitted by PFM reader Tina Utt

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester, Virginia, is a wonderful place that is more imaginative playground than museum. The exhibits are completely hands-on so that children can learn interactively while having a ton of fun. The museum inspires learning by encouraging visitors to explore, observe, imagine, and ask questions. The museum offers many ongoing exhibits and special classes and programs that focus on the sciences and mathematics, the humanities, and the arts.Discovery Museum

My four year-old son, Lahsen, loves visiting the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. His favorite exhibit is Simple Machines, where he can play with the lifts, levers, and incline planes while he is collecting and moving apples in an orchard setting. He is having so much fun that he does not realize he is learning about how mechanics and tools help him complete tasks more easily. He revels in pulling and tugging on ropes and gears as he transports his apples from one location to another. He occasionally crashes an apple cart, which I am sure has nothing to do with his desire to be a monster truck driver.

Lahsen also enjoys role-playing in the Emergency Room and Ambulance exhibit. He can pretend he is an EMT as he steers the wheel of an ambulance, or a doctor as he examines real X-rays. And he always manages to find his way to the physically engaging rock wall before we leave.

The Shenandoah Discovery Museum is great for children of all ages. It is a bit smaller than other area children’s museums, but it packs a lot enjoyment into one level of a building. The size of the museum strikes the perfect balance for many of us parents: it is small enough to do in an afternoon or a morning. My son and I have visited the museum several times, and we are looking forward to seeing what explorations lie ahead for us when the museum opens its new location in 2014.

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