Children's Discovery Museum - San Jose, California - Place to Crank, Prod, Test, Listen, and Tinker

The Children's Discovery Museum fosters learning through interactive displays that allow children to touch, explore, manipulate, and experiment in a safe environment. Since its opening in 1990, the museum has greeted some five million visitors with more than 150 exhibits and programs related to the arts, sciences and humanities.

Both semi-permanent and travelling exhibits fill the museum's two floors, which have a combined area of over 28,000 square feet. Included are two performance spaces, the outdoor Cadence Amphitheatre with two stages and an 8,600-square-foot courtyard and the intimate Lee and Diane Brandenburg Theatre measuring 40'x40'. These serve as forums for dance, theatre, music, film, cultural festivals, and other performing arts.

Among the museum's permanent exhibits are the Wonder Cabinet learning laboratory for infants, toddlers and preschool children under four years of age, Current Connections focused on electricity, Bubbalogna for play with bubbles, and the Art Loft filled with materials for creative activities.

At the Rainbow Pizza and Market display, children learn how to make a colorful healthy pizza and shop at Rainbow Farms. Visitors learn how produce moves from "farm to fork.'' There is also an authentic 1950's Post Office, a Secret of Circles exhibit, and a play area called "Streets,'' where urban sights, sounds and textures can be explored.

Water Ways let's children interact with the movement of water by using colorful plastic balls. And a new section of the museum, the Kids' Garden, gives access to the outdoor world of growing things.

Among the museum's many facilities are restrooms on both levels, a dedicated baby care center on the first floor, and handicapped parking in the loading zone off Woz Way. All galleries are fully wheelchair accessible. Strollers are also allowed throughout the museum, with the exception of the Lee and Diane Brandenburg Theatre, the Wonder Cabinet, and the West Wing.

When visitors get hungry, the Kids' Cafy has a menu of reasonably-priced food items and beverages. Picnicking is permitted in adjacent Guadalupe River Park. And with advance reservations, birthday parties for groups of up to 24 children can be arranged in a private room with gift bags, activities, and catering taken care of by the staff.

The Museum Gift Shop offers a broad selection of unique quality toys and educational materials for sale. Among items available are music CDs, puppets, puzzles, bath items, pretend foods, and space-related toys and games. Gift cards are sold here, too.

The Children's Discovery Museum is closed on Mondays and open from 10am to 5pm on Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 5pm, although there is a special museum members' hour beginning at 11am. General admission costs $10 for individuals aged 1 to 59, $9 for seniors aged 60 and over, and free for infants less than one year old. Payment by credit card is accepted with valid picture identification.

The Children's Discovery Museum is located at 180 Woz Way, San Jose, California 95110. If coming by car from Interstate 280 North, take the Bird Avenue Exit and turn right. Continue on Bird to Auzerais Avenue and turn right again. There is an attended parking lot on the right here. Another machine-gated lot can be found down the street by turning right onto Woz Way. The machines take $1 and $5 bills and credit cards. The Museum does not, however, offer parking validation.

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