If your kids love Mr. Potato Head …

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Being a traveling mom, I’ve seen my share of children’s museum exhibits across the country and, let’s not mince words, some are downright lame. Off the top of my head, I can recall one on Star Wars (adult geekfest), Titanic (a documentary movie? That’s it?) and frogs (yawn). So I wasn’t jumping for joy about taking my 3- and 5-year-old to the “The Adventures ofMr. Potato Head” exhibit when it recently debuted at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Wis. I pictured little more than a tub full of plastic eyes, spuds and arms, messily scattered across alarge carpeted play area. I could imagine my shy children getting pushed around and thenscreaming  “Mom! Look!” 100 times, while I feigned excitement. But this exhibit ended up being so cool, so fun, that I played with most of the displays. I even made myself the most awesome bookmark using the spud imprint machine. You slide your bookmark under a letter, push down on a plastic potato, and voila! A print of a work that starts with that letter. My bookmark, which I love and use, features a pair of underpants, water, and a zebra. (I wasstanding at the end of the alphabet).

Yay for the spud man!
Yay for the spud man!
There were several non-spud aspects to this exhibit, such as snorkeling simulation area (youlay on your tummy, look into a mask and see video of colorful fish) and the most toddler-friendlyrocket ship display I’ve ever seen, with video monitors, countdowns and lots of buttons to push. Not sure what this had to do with potatoes, but the kids dug it as much as they do a big heap of french fries. (ahhh!) The centerpiece, naturally, was a massive tub of Mr. Potato Head parts surrounded by firmlyplanted potatoes at the children’s eye level. We ended up spending 2 hours at this exhibit, prompting moans of “Can we come backhere?” when we left. That, of course, it the highest compliment one can give a children’s museum exhibit. “The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head” has just begun a 4-year, 11-stop tour to children’s andscience museums across the U.S. It’s now at the Strong National Museum in Rochester, N.Y. until May 10. For the rest of 2009, it’ll be at the Orlando Science Center from May 23-Aug. 9 and at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh Kids Musem from Aug. 21-Jan. 10, 2010. And now, a round of applause for me for writing this blog without using the phrase “Spud-tacular!” Oh, wait, I just did.

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About The Author

Jamie Bartosch is an award-winning journalist in suburban Chicago. She loves to travel, and blogs for TravelingMom.com from the viewpoint of a “typical suburban mom.” Her goal is to provide honest, useful information to help families save time, save money, and make the most of their family vacation. A married mother of two, Jamie grew up in the Chicago suburbs, lived in the city for 16 years, and is now back in the suburbs raising her two kids. Learn more about her at www.JamieBartosch.com

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