What it is: Kidzu is a great kids' museum for preschoolers and young kids located in Chapel Hill. It has relocated several times, and this is actually the 4th version of the museum that we have been to. Each one has been fun in its own way, but I feel like this one might be the best yet. It definitely holds the interested of my 5 year old better than that last version.
When we walked in we immediately saw a wide open space ready for some active play. They had a new treehouse ready for climbing which my son loved. They also had some of the old standby's that I recognized from previous versions of Kidzu including a great play kitchen and the ball contraption, The Gravitron, where kids can move balls up to the ceiling and back down through pipes they can arrange on the walls-always one of their favorites. One of my son's new favorites was the rock wall. This wall leading up to the ceiling definitely appealed to some of the older kids there. That wide open area also contained a block area with a variety of blocks for kids to play with.
Another great area at the new Kidzu is The Makery. The Makery is open for several hours in the morning, closed for a break around lunchtime, and then open again in the afternoon. This spot is a great place for little ones who love arts and crafts. There are tons of creative materials there available for arts and crafts projects. The great thing about The Makery is that it is always staffed by Kidzu employees who help children complete the art projects which is nice.
The back of Kidzu contains a spot where you can eat your packed lunch of or other snacks, and then a quiet book nook. The book nook was one of my kids' favorite spots. It's usually pretty empty and quiet which is nice. There are tons of books, puzzles, a puppet show, and these great hanging chairs which are meant for relaxing, and I spent a long time convincing my boys it was not for swinging.
Kidzu also has a variety of fun programming including kids' yoga, messy mornings, storytime, and much more. Check the website for scheduling details
What we liked: This version of Kidzu still has all the great components of Kidzu that we love, but they have a lot more space and room for kids to spread out and play actively. I felt like my boys had outgrown the old Kidzu but I would happily take my five year old back. While it is great for older preschoolers, it is also appropriate for their barely walking little brothers and sisters and other little ones with plenty to occupy all preschool ages including a separate area for the littlest nonwalkers.
What we would change: There's not much I would change about the newest version of this spot. It's a bit hard to find when driving around University Mall, so I guess I would recommend outdoor signage of some sort. Look in the pictures below to find the right mall entrance to enter to find it. (Near Alfredo's Pizza and the old Dillards that is under construction.) Also, it is probably not the best for older kids, I feel like preschool age is really the best age for this museum.
Website and other important information:
Address: 201 S. Estes inside University Mall
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
(the book nook)
(the open space)
(an outside view of Kidzu from the mall)
(the closest mall entrance to Kidzu)