On any given day at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, you’ll find toddlers riding trikes and preschoolers pushing child-sized shopping carts. You’ll see children climbing, reading, exploring, making art projects and interacting with hands-on exhibits featuring everything from flying scarves to rolling balls.
But come next Friday night, you’ll be able to experience something entirely new at the museum: grown-up time without a child or teenager in sight.
Taking your date out for pasta is so passé. Better to hit the “no cal” noodle forest at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, where oodles of pool noodles hang suspended from the ceiling.
The first-ever Children’s Museum of Phoenix “Play Date” takes place from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, June 29. Grown-ups 21 and over can attend with I.D. and inner child. Tickets are $15 at the door but just $12 in advance.
The museum calls the historic Monroe School, located at 215 N. 7th St. in Phoenix, home. For a time it was the largest elementary school west of the Mississippi. The school operated from 1913 to 1972, and alumni include artist Jackson Pollack.
Slinkies weren’t around until the mid-1940s, so Pollack never got to send one cascading down the building’s grand staircase. But grown-ups who hit next Friday’s play date can race the wiry retro toys with wild abandon — and enjoy all sorts of classic games and toys. The museum also promises a huge Atari 2600 video game wall. Plus three floors of interactive exhibits, including the jumbo climber.
Salsa lessons for the super-adventurous start at 10 p.m., which has me imagining salsa flash mob reunions for grownups who dare to go there. Tamer activities include making your own “Play Date” button and saying “Cheese!” inside the free photo booth. Food trucks are rolling up with fun fare and the museum will have a cash bar on site. But don’t expect to find martini olives in the make-believe grocery store. The museum will be ready to turn over to the wee ones the next day.
The museum’s June calendar for children includes all sorts of art, music, dance and movement. Also “brain time” for babies and toddlers, plus several safety-related activities, including “Dial and Write 9-1-1.” Click here for a full calendar, and here to get your grown-up “Play Date” tickets. The event won’t happen if too few grown-ups seize the play, so buying tickets now will make the museum’s day.