An explosion of creativity

Paper mache creatures, dangling clouds, ever-morphing LEGO murals jutting out from the walls. We dare you to visit the Children’s Creativity Museum in downtown San Francisco and not feel giddy. You’ll be wishing you were Benjamin Button reverting to your pint-sized self, because this two-level building is a visual buffet of color and activities — introspective, physical and communal — to keep tots joyfully busy. It’s like a confetti explosion of, yes, creativity.  

“Often times young visitors will come in (to the Children's Creativity Museum) and be a little timid at first, and the moment they realize that no one is judging them, and that their own ideas have value, it's such a rewarding experience to be a part of,” Cathy Barragan, CCM marketing and public relations manager, told BARTable. “We know kids take that sense of creative confidence home with them and carry it with them for the rest of their lives.”

You might think a place that has allocated Stroller Parking might incite a yawn. Think again. Families find freeform play alongside facilitated workshops at this interactive art and technology museum located two blocks from Powell Station. Walk through Yerba Buena Gardens and stumble upon a historic carousel that marks the entrance at the corner of 4th and Howard. (Fun fact: The full-size LeRoy King Carousel was built in 1906 and has all original hand-carved wooden animals intact, except the one lion in the mix.)

While you can expect plenty of the traditional DIY arts and crafts scenarios, there’s so much more than painting and color putty and foam blocks. A green screen transforms a simple slide into a video of your little buddy floating downward in an underwater scene of dancing squid. An animation studio gives kids the chance to mold their own clay character and then film it starring in a stop-animation short spanning 20-seconds to one-minute long (which they get to keep via email).

Walk a spiral staircase that doubles as an art gallery showcasing multimedia artwork by young participants. At the top, an upstairs level hosts even more hi-tech activities signature of the Bay Area: There’s a room for coding moving robots, a music-video room replete with costumes and yet another green screen (surprise, Disney’s “Frozen” theme song remains the most popular pick), and a Mystery Box Challenge room that encourages spontaneous hands-on problem solving.

When the kids want a rest from making things, relax in a 200-seat animation theater to view movies and scheduled live performances. A storytelling room manned by charismatic staff is the spot for playful presentations of adorable plotlines, while the outdoor toddler patio outfitted with turf has games and an obstacle course to tire out the smaller ones.Denzel Russell, CCM marketing and development associate, added that visitors of all ages can find inspiration here, even the eldest of chaperones: “I’ve seen babies and grandmas and grandpas wanting to stay!”

To plan your visit, see the current schedule of workshops, events, and performances at www.creativity.org. Families can get a sneak peek at CCM activities by visiting the Instagram @creativitykids.

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