Thursday, August 29, 2019

Have a COLORFUL Day!

The last week of summer is the perfect time for day trips. This year, we kicked it off with a trip to the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA.

I was provided with tickets by Crayola for the purposes of this review. Our experience is, as always, unique to us! This post also contains affiliate links.

The Crayola Experience has been on our list for a while now. Crayola is one of the few products where I'm a true brand snob. I love you Target, I promise, and don't leave me, but Target crayons and markers don't cut it for me. When I was teaching, our school purchased everything in bulk from a school supply company, so I shopped  the back to school sales to make sure that we only had the good stuff in my classroom (and I wasn't alone in this). I'd heard from some Pennsylvania friends that this was a great day trip for all Crayola lovers, but for some reason, we just never made it happen until this summer.

We got to Easton right when the experience opened at 10:00. I will say, it's not hard to spot once you get close!

When we got our tickets, we were each given a bag to hold all of our artwork, with two tokens to redeem and a voucher for a Scribble Scrubbie (the newest attraction). The employee who helped us gave us a map and gave us some advice for where to start based on the crowds.

We opted to start at the top - this is the floor that we heard would develop long lines because it was the smallest.

This floor was all about melting down crayons and using them again. We recently used our own Crayon Melter for the first time, so the girls were primed and ready for this. Their favorite activity on this floor was making their own shaped crayon. Both chose to make a ring, and they liked getting to put their choice of crayon in and watch the process. The other two activities were making spin art with two melted crayons and drawing with melted crayons.

The only complaint the girls had about this floor was that the colors were too limited. Both are very particular about their favorite colors, and neither was totally satisfied with the options. Later in the day we discovered another flaw - these creations don't keep well. The melted crayon flakes off very easily, and although it leaves a shadow of what you created, the girls were both disappointed that their artwork didn't last (and I didn't love finding chips of wax on the floor of my car later). Next time, we'll know that and can temper our expectations - this floor is about the act of creating, not trying to preserve the final product.

The third floor is where Reagan probably could have lived. She loved the massive climbing structure and spent almost all her time there. Madison isn't as adventurous when it comes to things like this, and thankfully, the entire structure is surrounded by creating space. When we were there, the theme was all about "secret agents", and Madison painstakingly created a secret decoder and spy bag, using crayons, markers and watercolors.

There are some additional activities that we didn't participate in, for an additional fee. You can make a wax hand (or hands), and pan for gems. However, we did do the photo booth that put your picture into a page to color! This area is where the toddler climbing structure and light panel were located, as well as a water exhibit where you steered a boat down a canal (very appropriate for this part of PA!)

This floor was also home to some interactive games, but the girls were less interested in this. Both love their screen time at home, but they really spent almost no time playing these games at the factory. It's worth noting that these were the least crowded areas the entire time we were there.

The second floor is where you go to spend your tokens and redeem your voucher for the Scribble Scrubbie. The two places to spend your tokens are making your own crayon label, and choosing a package of Model Magic. There were eight colors of crayons to choose from for labeling, and each had a short line.

The Model Magic packages were in vending machines. The tables intended for coloring the Scribble Scrubbies and working with Model Magic got extremely crowded, and we ended up taking refuge in the Color Alive room until some space opened up for us to sit (this one was a good balance of technology and creation, and my girls really enjoyed taking the dragons and fairies they colored into the world!)

The Scribble Scrubbie area is the newest - and my girls absolutely loved it. Little animals that you can color, wash clean, and re-color were a big hit. Right now you get to choose between a rhino and a puppy, and my husband and I each let the girls have our vouchers so they could get one of each. 


AND this floor also housed the show about how crayons are made! You got to watch the wax being stirred and poured and then how the completed crayons go through the machines to be labeled and boxed.

Overall, we were astounded at just HOW MUCH there was to do and make and create. This is a full day trip that was just packed with quality.

Key Tips:

  •  Go early to beat the crowd. We arrived right at opening, and were advised to start at the top floor because the lines could get long up there. Within an hour, the crowd was enormous and we were glad to have some of those long line activities finished. Obviously summertime and weekends are the most crowded. 
  • Food is available on site in the Crayola Cafe, but there are plenty of options within walking distance in downtown Easton, some of which will even offer a small discount with your ticket stub or re-entry stamp.
  • Parking is available on the street (metered - two hour time limit) or in a garage. The garage we used was $3/hour. There is a $2/hr garage as well, but we chose convenience over price in this case. The one we used was directly next to the building.
  • Plan to stay at least a few hours. We arrived at 10:00 and didn't leave until close to 4:00. 
  • It gets LOUD. If you have highly sensitive kids, be aware. My husband had a few optimistic hopes of being able to sit on a few calls while the girls explored, but there was really no way to do that. It's just a big open space and that space filled with sound quickly! 
  • It is easy to miss exhibits - and you don't want to do that! There were a few rooms we didn't find until our second pass through. Take the map you're given and check off what you've seen and that way you'll know if you're missing anything. And if you can't find something you're looking for, ask an employee!
  • Unless your kids are far more amazing than mine at limits, plan to purchase a few extra tokens (they're 50 cents each). My girls each "needed" another few colors of Model Magic to make their creations, and they both wanted a few colors of crayons to label. I didn't mind these little extras, and ended up giving them another $3 worth of tokens each. You can purchase tokens on the second floor.
  • The gift shop is open to the public and has a good balance of souvenir style products (stuffed animals, t-shirts) and art supplies, but the prices are consistent with most gift shops we've seen, and that adds up VERY quickly. If you have kids who love to shop, it's a good idea to set a budget before you turn them loose to explore. 

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