What it is: Marbles is one of the largest indoor kids museum in the triangle. The first floor has many exhibits that are there year round including 'Around Town Gallery', 'Splash' 'IdeaWorks' and 'Art Loft.' On the second floor many of the exhibits rotate and change throughout the year.
'Around Town' is a kid-size version of our community that takes up most of the first floor. Here are a few of the highlights from this large exhibit: a real CAT bus; a red convertible; area for blocks; a stage and costumes to put on a play; 2 large train tables; a firetruck and fireman costumes; a mini-ambulance with scrubs, baby dolls and real x-ray machines; a grocery store and kitchen area; and a mail truck with conveyor belt and boxes.
'Splash' like the name implies, allows your kids to have fun in the water. There is a water table, a science submarine, a pirate ship and an outdoor kids garden.
'Idea Works' lets kids design, create and build structures from giant blocks, vehicles, simple machines and everyday products. You can build and race your own car, use real tools at the work bench to build things from recycled household materials or select a pattern to make clothes or accessories.
'Art Loft' like the name implies, allows kids to paint, draw, sculpt and explore various types of artwork.
Marbles also has their own story time on Wednesday and Fridays from 10:00-10:30am. I have not been to it yet so I can't really comment on it.
What we like:
There is so much to do in this museum, that it's really hard to see everything during one visit. Most of the exhibits are appropriate for toddlers with a few exceptions such as the workbench station. The 'Around Town' exhibit is one of my favorites as there are so many things to do within a large contained area.
Currently one of the rotating exhibits 'Moneypalooza' is one of my favorite exhibits. It is both educational teaching kids how to save, spend wisely and budget and also a lot of fun. Kids can carry a bucket of balls with them up a giant play structure and then decide what they want to do with the money. If they decide to save the balls get deposited into a giant piggy bank. When the piggy bank is full it spills out into a giant ball pit that kids can play in. They can then slide down the large green slide. Kids can also to try to shoot the balls into a giant basket to save their money. They can visit a teller to take out a loan, work at a pizzeria or lemonade stand and make their own budget out of large blocks.
What we would change:
Marbles can get really crowded especially on the weekends after 10:30am. So it is better to go either really early or during the week. It is best to call ahead during the week to make sure there is not a field trip scheduled that day as this usually implies a lot of big kids running around. But the museum is large enough that you could still enjoy other parts of the museum even if a field trip is scheduled for that day.
Website and other important information:
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday Members Play Early at 8:30am
Monday closed (with some exceptions)
$5 per person
Children 1 and under are free
201 East Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Fire truck at 'Around Town'
Train tables at 'Around Town'
Giant blocks at 'Idea Works' exhibit
Giant ball pit at "Moneypalooza' exhibit
Giant slide at "Moneypalooza' exhibit