The Magic House Overview
The Magic House was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning while my wife was at work. It's not centrally located, so it took twenty minutes of driving through the suburbs to get there, and it cost $42 for the three of us, so it's considerably more expensive than the Saint Louis Science Center.
Based on the location and price, it's the kind of place we'd visit maybe once a year as the dynamic exhibits change. Membership for a family starts at $175, so if you live close by and will go about four times, it's worth it.
That being said, my kids love the place as there are too many exhibits to count, and they span the entire gambit of possibilities.
When we went this time, they had an outdoor petting zoo set up in the front with cows and goats for Halloween. And the special exhibit inside was Scooby-Doo themed. It was excellently put together, with displays to catch ghosts and check out haunted pictures. My older seven-year-old son thoroughly enjoyed the augmented reality game where you had to steer Shaggy through a haunted house.
The standard exhibits of indoor slides, science stations, and Wonder Works offer a fantastic base that kids will love.
Parking is simple in a dedicated lot. I've never had an issue parking there in the two or three times we've gone over the last four years.
The Magic House Exhibits
Oh boy, The Magic House has a lot of exhibits.
I'd say the best way to describe the theme of the entire place is a mix of a science museum and activity center. Every exhibit or station has a hands-on component and a unique way of teaching you about the subject matter.
The house is three stories high and has several wings and a basement, so you can go through any kind of labyrinth of exhibits you choose. I'll take you through our clockwise adventure.
The entrance has a gift shop and cafe with food. We quickly skipped past that and went to the Scooby-Doo-themed special exhibit. As I mentioned earlier, both my seven-year-old and three-year-old loved it.
Outside the special exhibit are some of my favorite exhibits - the Saint Louis mural made of crayons and a bunch of fun sound machines. The sound machines use balls, sticks, and simple odd machines to make music. My three-year-old spent a good ten minutes here.
After that, we took a trip down to the basement.
The basement has four main exhibits in my head:
US Government rooms
A LEGO Brick station
The Construction Area
Quickly, The LEGO Brick station is a bunch of LEGO bricks you can use to make whatever you want. The US government rooms are a mock Senate and Judiciary setting. The kids weren't interested in either.
airMAZEment, on the other hand, is aMAZEing. It's the perfect exhibit for three to five-year-olds as both my kids played here for twenty minutes and could have easily kept going. You put balls and scarves into a wind tunnel made of transparent tubes. It's objectively awesome.
The last exhibit down here is a pretend construction site with a half-built house. There's a mini rock pit and some fun pulleys to play with. It is suitable for another ten to fifteen minutes.
Off the basement is what I call the connector tunnel. It connects one wing of the house with the other. Besides the touchscreen TVs that teach science, the main draw here is the water patio.
Aimed at younger kids, the water patio has a water fountain/river feature outside. You can build damns, pump water, and have things float down the river.
The rest of the connector brings you to the science center.
The Science Center
I imagine these have official names I'm not using, but the science center is a series of rooms where you can do hands-on science.
My kids' favorite room was the maker room, where you can color cut-outs of airplanes, buses, or houses, scan them in, and then watch them appear on a projected screen. In all honesty, it was pretty awesome to see their little colored drawings turn into jets on the screen.
Other rooms of interest here include a magnet room, an arts and crafts room, and a microscope room.
The South Wing
After taking the steps past the science center, you end up in a math area. The math area was fun for my seven-year-old because you solve simple math games/puzzles, but my three-year-old ran past the math to the downtown.
The downtown contains everything you'd have on Main Street USA - a grocery store, bank, pizza place, veterinarian office, and power plant. I guess the power plant is a little out of place, but that was the most fun. You get to experiment with different types of simple power setups to make things beep, spin, and turn on.
We then doubled back to the indoor slide.
The Indoor Slide
The indoor slide is three stories tall and very fast. My older guy loved it and went down four or five times. My little guy was a little overwhelmed and instead stayed on the third floor playing with a set of ball exhibits.
The ball exhibits in essentially the attic of the building are very satisfying. You take heavy wood balls the size of squash balls and roll them down ramps. The exhibit creates a little roller coaster, slide, and Plinko machine for the balls to roll down. My little guy loved it, and I enjoyed playing with them.
From there, we skipped the $3 static electricity ball that makes your hair stand up and headed down to the second floor.
The Second Floor
The second floor had a sensory room where you learn about hearing, seeing, and feeling, along with a reflex test and a shadow room.
But the highlight of the second floor is the new Saint Louis City Football Club area. You can "train" to become a soccer player here with gym equipment and see a replica of the stadium's locker room. The most fun part was an augmented reality penalty kick. Both kids played with that until they scored a half dozen times.
Going back down to the first floor brings you to Wonder Works. This exhibit is a classic indoor play area with climbing apparatuses and a jungle gym. It was hard to corral both kids here, so we didn't spend much time in it, but if my wife had been here, they would have played there for thirty minutes.
This exhibit is one of the best in the Magic House and a staple of every visit.
Outside of Wonder Works was a bubble exhibit, which was a hit with both kids. You could make giant bubbles, tiny bubbles, bubble windows, and even try to incase yourself with a bubble.
Phew, A Few Last Noteables About The Magic House
The hours vary over the year but follow this pattern:
Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed on Mondays.
There are some pricing discounts:
After 3 p.m., it's $3 for everyone.
Free for active-duty military and immediate family.
Free for foster families.
Free family nights on the third Friday of each month from 5 to 8 p.m.
Parking is simple in a dedicated lot. I've never had an issue parking there in the two or three times we've gone over the last four years. There are overflow lots in the surrounding schools in the summer.
And finally, driving through Kirkwood can be an adventure, depending on what's happening in town that day. They were having a random parade at 10 AM on a random September Saturday, adding fifteen minutes of driving.