The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is bringing winter fun indoors this month with its Frozen Over exhibit.
Best for the 5 and under crowd, the space, in the big room right behind the museum's admission desk, offers everything from indoor skating on a synthetic rink to daily snowball fights and an "icicle" forest made of 800 blue pool noodles. When I was there this week, lots of little ones were running around, having a blast and wearing themselves out!
The key here is fun, but it's also educational, said Molly Strayer, the museum's program manager for exhibit facilitation. Kids love running through the icicle forest. At the same time, they're learning a little something about spatial awareness.
As they maneuver through the suspended foam noodles, finding openings and enclosed spaces, kids can take home lessons about how their own body moves and fits into the world around them. It also builds confidence.
"Besides getting that enrichment, it's also a challenge to do something new," Strayer said.
This is the second year for Frozen Over. Two of the exhibit's original pieces are back - the synthetic rink, which you skate on with socks, and a quiet game area with blocks and a giant winter-themed felt board. The museum also has moved its popular large blue foam blocks to the space for some "igloo" building. The light blocks are perfect for young kids.
"It's really easy for small children to make big things," Strayer said of the blocks.
Frozen Over is free with admission to the Museum of Life and Science, which is $16 and $11 for ages 3 to 12. Museum members, as always, get in for free. Snowball fights (with pom-pom "snowballs") are scheduled at noon and 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 4:30 p.m., Sundays, through Jan. 31.
Frozen Over will run through Jan. 31.