Children's Museum Gets a Do-Over

We've never figured out the point of the water table at the former Science Place. Doesn't seem

I never understood why the missus took the kiddo living in our house to the Dallas Children's Museum at Valley View Center--see, right there, those are words that should never go together. "Museum" and "Valley View." Thanks, but unh-unh. While I am vastly overstating things here, Valley View's good for three things: the food court, the AMC theater and the arcade. In other words, it's still the only mall in town designed with the stoned teenager in mind, just like it was when I was in junior high. (Talk about a children's museum.)

Besides, it's not like the actual Children's Museum was actually a museum. It was more like some rich kid's messy playroom--lots of chewed-up drawing utensils and broken toys strewn about the joint, not to mention a grocery store replica that I've always believed was there solely to teach kids how to spend their parents' money. In short, the place was as useful and instructional as The Wiggles, which is to say, not very. Now, the missus takes offense at this characterization, insisting it was just fine for 1-year-olds and their mommies who needed to do a little shopping. She took what's-his-name there all the time; loved, loved, loved it. Besides, there's the giant soft indoor playground at Valley View, so when you got tired of playing with the broken toys you could always take the kid to get some actual exercise. Fine. I am always wrong.

Now it's a moot point: After Sunday the place will be closed till October, when the Children's Museum will re-open in the space currently used by the Museum of Nature & Science's Kids Place in Fair Park. According to an annoucement made just about two hours ago, it'll now be known as the Children's Museum at the Museum of Nature & Science, and while that sounds like an improvement over the Valley View facilities, the missus frets that it just won't be as convenient anymore. And, ya know, no more playground and food court.

But Museum of Nature and Science officials promise there are going to be considerable improvements made to the former Science Place, which has always promised a little more than it has delivered (in a word: maintenance). And there's "a lot of stuff" coming to the museum, including...well, they can't say for a couple of weeks. "It's big," says Amy Corenblith at The Richards Group. Eventually--by which I mean, when they raise the necessary millions, which is a long way off--the Museum of Nature and Science is supposed to move to a proposed downtown location at Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street. You can't see this, but I am so holding my breath. --Robert Wilonsky

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky