At Hospitality Health ER, we are all about family, community, and health. That’s why we want you to get out, get active, and get healthy. You’ve probably read some of our fitness blogs, like 4 Fun, Free, Fitness-Oriented Outdoor Activities in Longview, TX and The Benefits of Exercise by Age, but fitness also includes stretching your brain. And if you have kids, it’s even more enjoyable to partake in mind-bending exercises as a family. So we did a little homework for you and found seven places in Tyler and Longview with educational activities for kids. We’re sure there are many more but these are the ones that caught our attention:
Educational Activities for Kids in Longview, TX
1: World of Wonders (Longview, TX):
The World of Wonders was founded by a group of Gregg residents who envisioned a hands-on children’s museum for the community. There, you’ll find educational activities for kids that stretch the imagination through construction, play, and self-expression. The facility hosts an engaging mixture of permanent, rotating and traveling exhibits.
The Build-It Junior station, for toddlers and kindergartners, will promote your child’s use of imagination and motor skills as they design and build structures using DUPLO blocks. And when other kids are building with them, they get to practice their social skills like learning how to share, communicate, and take turns. At the Build-It station, older kids are challenged with building a car out of Legos to race on a race track. There’s also an Invention Garage that provides different components and workstations for your little Einsteins to create marvelous inventions.
To help them develop their artistic expression, your kids will love The Park at WOW. Get ready to get dressed for a little roleplaying on stage. Your kids can even engage in a puppet show or put together a symphony performance for an audience. So, if you’re looking to activate those critical thinking skills or Shakespearian talents, then The World of Wonders is well worth the visit.
2: Arts View (Longview, TX)
Did you know that music can calm neural activity in the brain, and that other art-based activities can produce positive effects on your mind and body? If you’re looking for educational activities for kids that offer positive psychological and physiological effects, encourage the art of self- at the Arts View Children’s Theater.
Your child will get to test their acting chops with a 1 to 2 week camp that ends with a performance attended by a ticketed audience. If your kid likes to be more behind-the-scenes, the theater also offers production camps for those who want to learn about production and the technical aspects of theater such as costumes, lighting, and sets. For toddlers, they have a one-hour “tots in the spot” class one Friday a month for storytime and crafts.
Educational Activities for Kids in Tyler, TX
3: The Center for Earth and Space Education (Tyler, TX)
Are your kids amazed by the moon and the stars? If so, get spaced out at the Center for Earth and Space Education in our very own city of Tyler, Texas. The planetarium features a 40-foot Spitz NanoSeam domed theater and exhibits in other areas of science. With real time NASA screen exhibits, you’ll be viewing live footage of space while learning about the stars, planets, and constellations.
The facility features a state-of-the-art high-resolution digital projection system, a huge new theater, new exhibit space, additional classroom and instructional space, and outdoor educational plazas.
4: Discovery Science Place (Tyler, TX)
To bring out the mad scientist in your kids, spend the day at the Discovery Science Place in Tyler, TX. This fun-filled facility is packed with educational activities for kids designed to incite curiosity, a passion for learning, and the joy of discovery.
The Kinetics Gallery contains a participatory sculpture that never stops moving. Watch your kids become mesmerized as numerous balls bounce, roll, slide, and spiral throughout the machine, creating visual effects and sounds along the way. This area also has multiple hands-on spaces where kids can play with golf balls and learn about force, motion, and gravity— including a magnetic wall where visitors build “tracks” out of PVC pipe.
The 3D Cinesphere allows student to don 3D red/blue glasses and experience a 15-minute animated movie about a baby dinosaur reuniting with his mother after a brief adventure.
The Cave (one of the center’s original iconic features) is a massive two-story structure visitors can walk through to experience everything from a simulated earthquake, to a volcano, to fluorescent mineral displays. Your kids can also expand their mind with information about caves, bats, fossils, and geology.
Orion is a gallery dedicated to space and space exploration. It features a simulated model of the Orion space capsule, hands-on activities related to the work that astronauts do in space, a Mars rover model that visitors can remote-control, and an International Space Station tracker that will show you views from the ISS and tell you where it is overhead at any moment.
And that’s only a small part of the museum! Feel free to explore http://www.discoveryscienceplace.org where they even have a 360 degree virtual tour available for many of the exhibits.
5: Historic Aviation Memorial Museum (Tyler, TX)
If you want to raise kids who can tell a good story when they’re older, encourage a love of history. Located on the grounds of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, this airplane museum exhibits real-life airplanes, aviation items, and memorabilia from the 20th century.
Together, your family can learn about the different aircrafts used during the Vietnam War and World War II, as well as the East Texans who served in World War II. Your kids will be in awe as they are taken back in time with the FJ-4 Fury, the TA-4J Skyhawk, the AD-5 Skyraider, and the Sikorsky Helicopter.
The museum also has a library consisting of hundreds of books related to aviation. The collection runs the gamut from fictional novels to non-fictional literature including biographies and reference books on planes. And for some fun, the whole family can take to the skies with the museum’s flight simulator. Even if the experience doesn’t convince your children to grow up to be pilots, at least you’ll get “Ooohs, Aaahhhs, and Wows” when you visit this museum.
6: Cotton Belt Depot Museum (Tyler, TX)
Next stop: Saint Louis Southwestern Railroad. From planes to trains, you can get a big dose of American history in Tyler, Texas alone. Better known to Tyler residents as “the Cotton Belt”, the train line was built to carry cotton and produce to the town of Big Sandy, Texas. Your family can enjoy a look back to the history of the railroad through artifacts, pictures, and memorabilia between the years of 1905 to 1956.
To complete the full Cotton Belt experience, catch a train ride just 45 minutes away at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad in Palestine, TX. Your kids will love the experience of riding in one of two beautifully restored trains, Puffy or Vinny. Both are pulled by two vintage locomotives from 1896 and 1953, respectively. Your kids will get to learn a little piece of history in a fun, interactive way.
7: Tyler Museum of Art (Tyler, TX)
If you’re looking to encourage a love for the arts, The Tyler Museum of Art is an educational and cultural center that celebrates the visual arts. Have a guide take you through the museum’s permanent collection of more than 1,500 works, which includes Mexican folk art along with early and contemporary pieces by Texas artists.
The Museum hosts family days every second Saturday of the month when children and adults are invited to learn about the different exhibitions through art activities, storytelling, treasure hunts, and more. This includes receiving free admission to all exhibitions.
⇒ For a good bite to eat while you’re out in the Tyler area with your family, check out 5 locally-owned restaurants that serve healthy meal options.