Don’t be fooled by the name, the Young at Art Museum isn’t just a great spot for the kids, grown ups can have fun too. Located outside of Ft. Lauderdale in Davie, the modern museum hosts an afternoon’s worth of activities to get your creative juices flowing. The YAA’s ultra-modern structure is anything but chilly. The colorful exhibits draw you in and begs you to shout, “play with me”.
The public library shares the space and both take advantage of the other’s existence. Glass windows allow little ones to peep into the library and check out ways to learn more about artists.
There is an area for younger children based on Alice in Wonderland. Crawl through a tea pot or snuggle into a book in Alice’s Reading Forest. There are lots of opportunities for pretend play and a few soft spots for adults to sit down and watch. My kids loved the water room. Decorated with an intricate mosaic of a woman. We spent at least 15 minutes – hours in kid time – using plastic dividers to manipulate the water to push boats around and creating waterfalls. Little did my kids know that they were getting a lesson in hydraulic engineering.
|Learn about water pressure and water movement in this awesome exhibit|
The Stomp room is a dream come true for the child who loves to bang on pots and pans and who you promised to never buy a drum set. Adapted from the Broadway show Stomp, kids can bang on anything, even things bolted to the walls. Trash can lids, PVC pipes and wood blocks are all fair game. And, they can scream while going down the slide (insert ear plugs here and wave).
|What? I can’t hear you!|
My kids really loved the puppetry room. The museum has all the supplies you need to make your very own puppet and a stage to act out your “show”. We spent at least 30 minutes creating and it was a great place to take a load off. Even I got inspired!
|Bins full of materials like papers, fabrics, plastic, and scraps of any ‘ole thing are perfect for puppet making.|
|My son showing off his work. And, don’t worry he isn’t really a lifeguard, just a wanna be. The lifeguards at Palm Beach are well-trained.|
If you have climbers, they are going to love this play structure inspired by the Japanese print, The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai. Not only is it beautiful but according to my kiddos, the view from the top is “super cool”.
|A great place to get the wiggles out and to see the whole museum.|
|A description of the piece that inspired the play structure.|
There are other examples of culture-specific art forms in this room including hands-on opportunities to weave, do stencils, fold origami and do rubbings. One of my favorites was a display of Japanese wallpaper.
|I may need one of these for my powder room.|
This isn’t just an art museum where you look at paintings on the wall, kids can try their hand at creating different types of art. They can make a moving picture or mini movie.
|Draw your picture over and over and over again and then insert it in the circular wooden piece and watch it come to life.|
Sculpt a masterpiece out of clay, practice figure drawing and even curate their own gallery.
|Literally get your hands dirty and try your hand at sculpting.|
|There is an art form to arranging pieces in a gallery.|
A couple of nice touches for parents or extra curious kids. The museum does a great job of including images of classic and modern art on the walls so if your kids are happily playing, you can take a minute to learn something yourself. Some of the artist spotlights have an option to learn more about their biography and their work via a QR code. What a great way to use technology and save paper!
Take a break in the open-air courtyard and enjoy the vibrant colors and warm southern Florida breezes. Pack your own snack or enjoy the munchies from Super Duper Grub. They even have veggies. I love how they have veggie sticks with most of their sandwiches. My kids loved the Rock n’ Rollup – Nutella, strawberry preserves and banana rolled in a tortilla. They did not forget about the grown ups, they have healthy and delicious offerings. Don’t miss the afternoon milk and cookie happy hour. This happy hour is kid friendly.
|It’s hard not to feel inspired eating lunch outside of the Super Duper Grub Cafe.|
If a quick visit to the YAA doesn’t get your right brain synapses sparking then you may need to check out some of their more intensive art classes or camps. We poked our heads into some of their art classrooms and just wanted to do something to get our hands dirty. And when we got home, not one electronic device turned on. The kids rode that creative high and played for another hour or so. Now THAT is how art impacts life. Get inspired!
Tips for busy moms
1. Children of all ages will find something fun to do at this museum.
2. Broward County residents get a discount on entrance tickets.
3. Give yourself 2-3 hours
4. If you are a Broward County resident, bring your library card and you can check out books and return them to your local branch
5. If you are lucky you may catch live music playing on one of the stages.
6. This is a slam dunk birthday party for a budding artist, call ahead to reserve.
7. There are traveling exhibits so check their web site to see what is on display before visiting.
8. There is an outside play area and you know what I say about being outside! Don’t forget your sunscreen.