The DoSeum will open on June 6, 2015 as San Antonio’s new children’s museum, and will celebrate its Grand Opening over the June 6-7 weekend. I’ve been inside the building for a hard-hat tour and, more recently, for a sneak peek with my blogger friends. My family and I have a charter membership and look forward to many visits this summer to get acquainted with the new exhibits. In the short run, I want to help you get ready for your first visit to The DoSeum.
If you live in or around San Antonio, or are visiting the city this summer, you’ll want to bring your kids to the DoSeum. It’s an ambitious learning experience, but everything is built around play and discovery. Compared to the downtown facility, the DoSeum is much larger, brighter, and more inviting. It has free parking, a cafe, and outdoor play areas.
Your kids’ old favorite exhibits are back, including Molly Trolley, now in Little Town.
The ball factory is back, too: refurbished, moved upstairs, and integrated with a broader exploration of engineering. Good thing, too: in a stubborn act of synecdoche, my kids always used the term “ball factory” to refer to the entire downtown children’s museum.
The DoSeum is located at 2800 Broadway, just south of Mulberry Avenue, with easy access from Highway 281. As we have driven by on our way to or from downtown, we’ve watched the building rise up from the ground. After the installation of the giant play structures in the west yard of the Big Outdoors, my daughter, G.N., commented:
The new ball factory is like the old ball factory, but with a playground.
My son, F.T., will turn 8 this summer, and I was worried that he would soon outgrow the activities at a children’s museum. On the contrary, the DoSeum has many exhibits geared towards F.T.’s age, and up to tweens and teens.
For example, Spy Academy looks like you’ve walked into the set of a spy movie. As you look closer, you can see the activities have underlying elements of logic, spatial reasoning, and abstraction. I think F.T. will enjoy creating a profile and coming back to Spy Academy to keep making progress on his challenges.
The Innovation Station understands that the heart of engineering is the iterative process: design, build, test, refine, repeat.
Sensations Studio explores the physics of light and sound. The exhibits are artistic, but with scientific underpinnings. They include fun tools and materials that you might not have at home: for instance, my kids have their own triangular prism, but not a masked light source, or a set of prisms and lenses in all kinds of shapes. What better way to explore the different wavelengths of light?
The Grand Opening festivities will be Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday, the DoSeum is hosting a free outdoor celebration with entertainment—music, dance, theater—and food trucks. The outdoor celebration will fill up the parking lot, so visitors will need to park by the AT&T building at Broadway and Hildebrand and catch a free shuttle, running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
To enter the museum during Grand Opening weekend, you will need to get timed tickets in advance. You may order tickets online or buy them in person at the DoSeum box office, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Grand Opening tickets are $5 on Saturday (thanks to sponsor H-E-B) and $10 on Sunday. Members can attend the Grand Opening for free, but will still need to get timed, advance tickets. Try to arrive 15 minutes before your ticket time and have your tickets ready to scan.
After Grand Opening weekend, the DoSeum will be open for summer hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission will cost $11 per person, except that infants under one year old get in free. Members get free admission, and I expect our membership will pay for itself quickly. Join online, in person at the front desk, or call DaLona Niland at 210-212-4453 x635.
In addition to free admission for a year, members get extra benefits. The DoSeum will open an hour early on Sundays at 11 a.m. for members only. Members get a 10 percent discount at the DoSeum Store, plus discounts on birthday parties and camp registrations. And, the DoSeum will host members-only events and programs.
This summer, from June 8 to August 21, the DoSeum is offering week-long camps for a range of ages and topics ranging from STEM to the arts. In July, look for A Night at the DoSeum, an after-hours, adults-only party. At Summer Science Sundae, a celebration of National Ice Cream Day, on Sunday, July 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., members can learn how to make ice cream the old-fashioned way, with ice and rock salt, or the high-tech way, with liquid nitrogen.
In the fall, the DoSeum will change its schedule, closing at 5 p.m. Members-only hour will continue, Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon. And the DoSeum will offer free evenings twice a month.
Little Doers, a program of weekly activities for 3 and 4 year olds, will begin in the fall. Classes will meet once a week, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, for nine months. A DoSeum membership is required. For more information, call Tabbetha Greco at 210-212-4453 x664.
The DoSeum continues the tradition of hosting leading speakers on education and child development for the Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon. Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, will speak on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. at the Tobin Center. Ripley followed a group of American exchange students for a year as they experienced high school in Finland, South Korea, and Poland—three global education superpowers. Her book will change the way you think about the changes that need to happen in our education system.
I hope you and your family can experience the DoSeum, San Antonio’s museum for kids, during Grand Opening weekend, over this summer, and beyond. To stay up to date, follow the DoSeum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Tag your photos #thedoseum to be part of the conversation.