Story Trail and Tot Land at the Crocker Art Museum

By Alyssa Green

Last week my boys and I were thrilled to attend the Crocker Art Museum’s launch of two amazing new programs for kids and their families.

I have to admit, although an art lover myself, I have shied away from taking my loud and rambunctious boys to the museum.  Every time the thought entered my mind, it would abruptly be shoved out due to trepidation.  How would I teach them to love and appreciate art while at the same time keeping them quiet and making sure they don’t touch a thing?  No, it was always decided in the end, attending the museum with my boys could not possibly end well.

Sadly, here we are, with my boys being 7 and 10, and neither one of them ever having stepped foot in the Crocker Art Museum.   Imagine my surprise to hear of programs being developed specifically for kids.   And imagine my surprise when upon arrival, all the kids in attendance were encouraged to play, interact, talk and laugh.  They were actually expected to behave like children!

Tot Land is an interactive play gallery, geared towards children up to 5 years of age.  The gallery is chock full of fun things for toddlers to do.  There are learning games, puzzles, creative play stations, books, an arts and crafts table and the highlight of Tot Land, a huge interactive touch screen or “Interactive Living Art Wall” as it is called at the museum, that uses gaming software to create a truly unique art experience for kids.  Although this is located in the “tot room”, my boys found this the highlight of the tour.  They loved, loved, loved this touch screen!

Story Trail is an actual tour families can take with their children through the museum.  Upon arrival, make sure to check out a storybook called “Birdy’s Museum Adventure” from the administration desk and follow the story with your kids as it takes you throughout the museum to certain works of art in the permanent collection.  As you stop at each work of art, the children are encouraged by the story to find  images and shapes within each specific art piece.  The tour is easy for the kids to follow and drops them off in Tot Land at the end.  This tour is a perfect blend of exposing older children to the museum experience, while still keeping it fun, interesting and moving it right along.

As with so many of our outings, this one ended in the gift shop where there are plenty of  educational and fun items for adults and kids alike.  I could hardly get the boys out of there! 

In the end we all agreed that the Crocker Art Museum is a super fun (and cool) place to visit.  We will be back very soon, and next time my kids will try their hand at actually creating works of art through one of the many children’s art classes offered at the Crocker. 

For more information on all of the children’s programs offered at the museum, click here.  Happy creating!


6 thoughts on “Story Trail and Tot Land at the Crocker Art Museum

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  2. Thanks for your post. I manage an technology learning center for kids in the United Kingdom and I was inspired your description of the Crocker’s new Tot Land. So much so that I managed to get to Sacramento earlier this year to see it in person. The interactive “Living Mural” was equally enjoyable for adults!

    • Thanks Shelley – we are so glad you were able to visit us here in Sacramento! We love the Crocker’s Story Trail and Tot Land, and we also agree that the interactive Living Art Wall is great for adults. 😉

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