VIAGGI – FAMILY TRAVEL
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) are coming to a neighborhood near you. A traveling exhibit that allows your kids to see inside the turtle lair, try on ninja gear, and build sewer piping is scheduled for stays at museums through 2020. From May 28 to Sept. 5, 2016, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer exhibit is featured at Liberty Science Center (LSC) in Jersey City, N.J. Recently, I went with my 4-year-old son, 4-year-old nephew, and 6-year-old niece.
They are mad for the turtles, so we made it the theme of the week leading up to our visit. We did all sorts of projects, including making turtles with paper bowls and creating paper TMNT costumes for ourselves, in anticipation. My son wanted to sleep in the paper mask and shell. You can only imagine how much fun he and his cousins had at LSC. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in taking your kids to the exhibit:
Where are the TMNT? As of Sept. 5, which is right around the corner, the exhibit will no longer be at LSC. If you don’t live in the area or can’t get to the center in time, you can find a list of where to find the sewer next at the bottom of this page on the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Website.
How much does it cost? The cost depends on where you’re seeing it. Check with the museum in your area for prices. At LSC, it was included in the price of standard admission. It costs $21.75 for adults (anyone 13 and over), $17.75 for children (ages 2-12), and $18.75 for seniors (anyone 62 and over). There are other exhibits you have to pay extra for at LSC, but I found the standard fee provided more than enough age appropriate activities for the little ones. Some of the add-ons would have been over their heads.
What are the highlights? For my son, the mere thought of visiting the home of the turtles was enough to justify this trip. While some of it will be lame to mom and dad (dioramas of my kid’s toys with a spotlight on them are hardly anything special), the kids are going to go gaga. And there are a couple of aspects to the exhibit that are truly impressive.
Being able to launch pizzas at the likes of Shredder had my nephew doing flips, literally. Seriously, he caught the kid working the machine off guard.There is also a little play area with a staircase and some tubes the kids can shoot through for photo ops, which was a lot of fun for the littlest ones. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of trying to get through the maze of string ninja style. Even the adults and teens were trying to get under and over string without touching it.
There were a couple of opportunities to stretch the brain, too. One brain teaser had the kids trying to shoot tiny frisbees through a movable maze and into a plastic pocket. Another had them building pipes for the sewage system that is home to the turtles. One computer game had guests working together on four separate computers with each serving as Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. You each had duties to fulfill on the screen, so that the whole team could complete the mission. It was tough, especially for the 4 year olds. Another computer game was more their speed. I helped them answer multiple choice questions to determine which turtle they were. My son was proud to be Donatello, even though blue is his favorite color, so he was dressed like Leonardo. The other game, with an eye catching display, had pizza toppings lighting up. Like the electronic Simon Says, children would try to follow the lights by pressing the corresponding button.
Other activities were far more old school. There were puzzle pieces on the floor for kids to build a bridge. A cheese-shaped telephone allowed kids the chance to hear a message from Master Splinter. And a mirror and trunk full of ninja gear gave kids the chance to be just like their heroes. And two skateboards attached to a spring on the floor gave guests the chance to try and balance like the turtles might. Of course, the most enthralling part were the four larger-than-life statues of the Ninja Turtles that greeted visitors at the entrance of the exhibit.
Was it worth it? Really, the answer to this question depends on your child and where you go for the exhibit. My son is wild for the turtles and is still talking about our trip days later. Plus, entrance cost the price of admission and LSC offers lots of other educational and amusing exhibits and activities, including a Dino Dig and live animals, such as fish, lizards, and actual turtles.