VIAGGI – FAMILY TRAVEL
We had been on Disney overload for a week, and my husband and I were experiencing a food hangover after Disney Deluxe Dining (also known as the triple D), replete with its three-course dinners, character buffets, and zillions of snacks. So, we were looking for something low-key to do while we killed time before leaving for the airport for our flight back to Newark. And my sister had the.best.idea.ever. Seriously.
She suggested we head to the Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall. There, we found 25 interactive exhibits dedicated to art and the wonder of color. It was the cherry on top of a perfect vacation, and it made me wish Crayola would open one up in our neck of the woods. (There are only two others – in Easton, Penn. and Minneapolis, Minn. – but not in my NYC or Paramus, N.J. Just sayin’.)
For the cost of $18.99 (for anyone ages 2 and up, including all the adults in your party and only if you buy the tickets online ahead of your visit), you receive tokens and a plastic bag to stash all your art work. We came away with some great souvenirs, including spin art made with melted crayons, my son’s drawing cut into a puzzle, and numerous crayons we made ourselves in the shape of cars, seahorses, and sharks. At the start of our journey, we also made a traditional crayon that my son was able to customize; he picked red and named the color Spiderman Enzo. He even got to watch the crayon get wrapped. Older kids might also enjoy getting a tour of a crayon factory. But I can’t attest to how good an exhibit that one is because we skipped it.
What was most interesting to me were all the options for combining art work with technology. Early on in the day, we colored on a touch-screen and when we were done, our images were projected onto the wall with those of other people in the room. Together, our coloring book pages made a scene in outer space that was simply riveting to watch, especially the rockets as they blasted off. Later on, we colored cars and fashion models, and then we watched the cars race and the models strut their stuff on the runway. We also created print outs of coloring book pages with our own faces in them, and awesome digital images featuring characters we colored, backdrops we chose, and our own faces in the scene, which we were able to email to ourselves and friends and family (see photo above).
All this and my son was able to use the tokens to purchase markers and modeling dough, which he used to make dinosaur fossils and could even color on the walls and the dog (relax, it was a dry erase statue) without repercussion. Plus, he nearly killed mommy when she chased him through the tunnels and slides in a rainbow of color.
Needless to say, my boy threw a fit when it was time to leave. It was no wonder. He had to say good-bye to my sister, his beloved Zia, and all the wonder at the Crayola Experience, not to mention the Disney withdrawal. At least for one more day, we were able to color our world with fun.