LaCrosse Children’s Museum
207 5th Ave. S, LaCrosse, WI. 608-784-2652. www.childmuseumlax.org
$4, free for infants. ACM membership reciprocity. Parking on-street or in nearby garage. Stroller accessible. Restrooms available.
As children’s museums go, we’re beginning to call ourselves experts as we’ve been to quite a few. We definitely have our favorites, and some non-favorites as well. Unfortunately, the LaCrosse Children’s Museum is on the second list.
Located in downtown LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the museum has some unique exhibits, like the giant teeth that kids can sit on and learn about oral hygiene. There is a special toddler area, although our toddler preferred to be with the big kids. And there are activity areas, like the pretend store, that are found in many museums. This is where the LaCrosse museum set itself apart.
All of the kids playing in the store loved taking things off the shelves and playing cashier. But while we were there, there was only one other family who made any sort of effort to put things back on the shelves when they were done. Playing store isn’t much fun when all of the goods are on the floor behind the checkout counter. While kids at the museum were running and yelling, their parents were sitting and chatting with friends, talking on their cell phones, or studying. There was very little parent-child interaction, and museum staff were not on the floor monitoring activities.
Like I said, we’ve been to a lot of children’s museums, and I’ve never seen this kind of behavior take place before. I don’t know if it’s the parenting style in LaCrosse to let kids run wild, or if it was the lack of staff presence on the museum floor, but our visit to the LaCrosse Children’s Museum wasn’t very enjoyable because of the behavior of other patrons.
Another note–if you’re not familiar with downtown LaCrosse, be sure to get directions before you go. The streets didn’t make a lot of sense so we ended up calling the museum when we got close (read:lost) to have them give us turn-by-turn directions to the parking area.