Kids LOVE Underland and The Climber! New Outdoor Play Spaces open Friday at Providence Children’s Museum

[ 3 ] June 10, 2010 |

Join the celebration of these exciting new play and learning environments June 11-13 and look for special programs throughout the summer. Read details below.


After transforming its native Children’s Garden with two new artistic play and learning environments, Providence Children’s Museum opens Underland and The Climber to the public on Friday, June 11, 2010. If you have watched the construction, you understand what an amazing addition this is to the museum. And if you have not visited recently, you will be delighted when you return.

The museum invited Kidoinfo for a sneak peak on Monday to test out their new exhibits. I invited a dozen children (ages 4 – 9) to play and tell us what they thought of the new play spaces. It was clear upon pulling into the parking lot that our well-loved Children’s Museum has only gotten better. The new green 22-foot climbing sculpture stands like the leaning Tower of Pisa and is reminiscent of something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The playful new structure fits right in to the garden, inviting children to come play at the museum just as Nori the dragon has done for years perched on the rooftop.

I had a chance to interview Chris, the exhibit designer. Watch the video about the making of the new exhibit.

Although I had hoped to interview the children and capture what they thought about the new play space on film, they did not stand still long enough for this to happen. Instead they were busy climbing, exploring, and squealing with delight, and no one wanted to leave when the museum closed. Seems clear that the kids love the new environments.Chandelier

The Climber
This safe, artful, and challenging climbing sculpture was designed by nationally acclaimed artists and architects Tom and Spencer Luckey of New Haven, CT.  The father/son team has designed dozens of climbing structures across the country–including the one at Boston Children’s Museum–but this is their first major outdoor installation. Tom had a serious fall in 2005 and is paralyzed from the neck down, but he is still able to design while his son Spencer stepped in to take an active role in managing their business. Watch the trailer for the inspiring documenatry about Luckey.

This artistic “underground-like” environment is the work of several talented local artists — sculptors Chris Kane and Marly Rogers and metal smith Lu Heintz. This space features a host of natural materials collected from all over Rhode Island by the museum staff. Kids explore this tactile world while pretending they are underground – dressed as  animals in costume, crawling through tunnels, and discovering hidden surprises along the way. Underland promotes gross motor exploration and dramatic play.

Together, The Climber and Underland will encourage active exploration, discovery, and a deep appreciation for the natural world, and it will make Providence Children’s Museum’s outdoor environment a signature destination.

The Details:
The-MusicFor more information, visit

New Play Spaces Open!
Friday, June 11.  Museum open 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Ages: All ages
The Museum is open free from 5 to 8 PM for MetLife Family Friday, sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

Preschool Friday
Friday, June 11,  from  10:00 AM – 1:30 PM. 30-minute sessions.
Preschoolers dig in to the book “An Earthworm’s Life” by John Himmelman and get the underground scoop on worms.
Ages: 3 – 5
Cost: $8 fee above Museum admission.  Discount for series pre-registration. Call (401) 273-5437 ext. 234.

Worm World
Saturday, June 12,  from  1:00 – 3:00 PM
Worms rule the Museum on a day dedicated to these crawling creatures. Kids watch closely to learn how they wiggle, wear worm suits to squirm through a maze, and get their hands dirty digging through a wormy habitat with the Worm Ladies of Charlestown.
Ages: 3 – 11
Cost: Free with admission

Meet a Worm
Sunday, June 13,  from  1:00 – 3:00 PM
Make friends with some worms! Meet red wriggler composting worms in their habitat and hold a giant night crawler.
Ages: 3 – 11
Cost: Free with admission

Category: kids, museums, preschool, special events

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (3)

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  1. Anisa, you amaze me – I LOVE your descriptions of kids’ reactions to our new play spaces. It was great to have you here for a preview!

    For anyone who wants to learn more about The Climber and Underland, we have some great videos:

    Kid testers trying out the play spaces:

    An awesome time-lapse video of the construction of The Climber:

    And there’s more about our process on the Museum’s blog:

    We can’t wait to see more kids exploring these new spaces!

  2. Elyse Major elyse says:

    super cool (but i think i’ll pass on meeting a worm) 🙂

  3. calendar katy says:

    beautifully done, PCM!

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