Hill Country Field Trip: McKenna Children's Museum
Last week, Big Girl had her class field trip to the McKenna Children’s Museum. And thankfully, for the second year in a row, my husband’s wonderful parents were able to watch the boys so I could go! The museum is about an hour from Boerne and I chose to take the slightly faster route into San Antonio then back up to New Braunfels, but the buses took Hwy 46 straight there and honestly, we arrived pretty much about the same time…maybe five or ten minutes apart. Next time, I think I’ll opt for the Hwy 46 route to steer clear of the city traffic.
Tickets are purchased in the gift shop, so I headed there first. This place is full of educational toys, games, and souvenirs for the little ones to take home once you’re done exploring for the day. And look what I found you guys…Mad Libs! I haven’t seen those in ages!
Once the kiddos arrived, the grownups followed everyone inside and that is when I discovered that I was chaperoning FIVE first-graders, y’all. FIVE. I quickly found out that that’s not so easy to do in a museum as chock full of fun toys, activities, art projects, and playscapes as the McKenna. But, we survived, even if I didn’t get quite as many pictures as I had hoped for.
But, I managed to snap a few of the kids’ most favorite activities, so check it out:
We started in the Wonder Shop where we did a fun science activity using different shapes of pasta and rice to represent the different stages of the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly:
We also painted here…both on our faces and on paper. And Big Girl chose to go for abstract art with a bit of splattering that day, much to the dismay of the other chaperones standing nearby. Uh…sorry?
Next, we took a trip into outer space at the Destination Space exhibit—with spacesuits, a space potty and all! This place was DARK, you guys. There was no getting pictures in there, even if I tried. But the stars were beautiful and the kids asked to go through it several times…definitely a favorite.
Next up was the Amazing Airways exhibit. Here, we placed foam balls and scarves into the tubes and watched them get sucked all around and eventually spat back out to bop us on the heads or give us something fun to chase after. We ended up here a couple of times over the course of the day and that was fine by me because it was enclosed…and well, did I mention I was chaperoning FIVE first graders??
There was also a Town Square, Grocery Store, and Kids Clinic but what really caught our attention next was The Great Outdoors! This is an outdoor play area with a giant playscape, water table, musical instruments, foam blocks, and so much more. It’s covered, which is great, and there are places to sit and relax while the kiddos play.
Once we were sufficiently exhausted from all the outdoor play, we went back inside to enjoy the Hill Country Campgrounds exhibit. The favorite here, by far, was the bat cave and bat wings. They took turns putting the wings on and “flying” all around, chasing the other campers.
And the last thing we did for the day was enjoy our sack lunches together in what we called “the big green room”, but there’s also a cafe on site, if your family would like to have lunch there.
This was really a great trip and I am looking forward to returning so our boys can have fun as well. I love that it’s not a huge place; it’s just big enough that you can really explore all the exhibits in one day without rushing or feeling like you’re going to miss out on something.
I also love that there are different places for coloring and painting spread throughout, so you get the hands-on science activities, but a bit of creative opportunity as well. And you just can’t beat having a restaurant on-site for when folks get hungry!
Honestly, if we lived closer, I think this would be somewhere we’d buy a membership to. It’s the perfect place to play, with both indoor and outdoor fun, for those days when you just need to get out of the house—and it would make for a great meet-up space for playdates too!
You’ll find The McKenna Children’s Museum at 801 W. San Antonio Street in New Braunfels. Detailed exhibit and pricing information can be found on their website and you can also follow the museum on Facebook or Instagram for the latest announcements and events.
Have you been to The McKenna? What are your favorite exhibits or memories there?
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