The Grammies and Grampies had left. Most of the Thanksgiving leftovers had been eaten. It was Saturday and we had the itch to get out of the house for a while. My husband decided it would be a good day to visit The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology in Newark, OH. I had my usual initial reaction of doubts and questions — is this really a good place for kids? Can we afford it? Will we have to spend all day in the car to get there? I guess he answered those to my satisfaction because before I had time to put on any make-up we were piled in the van and on the road.
The first thing I noticed about Newark was that it had a Kohls. If I had known that I would have brought that bag of returns I needed to make. Probably not the best time anyway with Black Friday leftover shoppers and all.
Next, we noticed all of the construction downtown. But it was not a big deal to get around and find the place we were looking for.
The Works is advertised as “central Ohio’s only hands-on learning creating and doing place.” Well, I am not sure if it is the only one in central Ohio (as we have been to at least two others) but it definitely outclassed the others.
There are two floors to The Works. On the first level were discovery/play stations for children of all ages including a special corner just for children ages 6 and under. All sorts of Science principles could be observed and interacted with at these different stations. Definitely HANDS ON which is a major plus in our book.
Also on the first floor is the glass blowing room. We were able to get in on a demonstration. You may need to take off your sweater before you go in because it is quite warm! The glassblower proceeded to turn the hot gooey substance into a water goblet before our very eyes. You can register for lessons if you are interested in roasting in front of a 2,000 degree oven for a 1/2 hour or so.
The second floor was more of a museum layout with a focus on Licking County history. One of the especially interesting sections was the area featuring Jerrie Mock — the first woman to fly solo around the world. She was from Newark! They have a Cessna plane that the kids can climb up into and some video simulators that teach you to fly.
Does anyone remember rotary phones? You can show of your skills dialing on one and making a “real” call to another person across the room.
We hope to come back in warmer weather as The Works has several outdoor exhibits.
The Works is part of the ASTC program. If you are a member of an ASTC museum, you and your family can get into other ASTC museums free or discounted. There are over 300 of them in the U.S. It cost 70.00 for a family membership good for one year. To get into this museum alone would have been 33.00 for our family.
There is a restaurant on the premises, but we were disappointed to see that it was closed Saturdays (the day we visited). We hiked it to the recommended Wendy’s instead — all the way across the parking lot and down an alley. In the museum, there was a sign indicating you could bring some of your own food, so that might be an option too.
The Works was great because it had something for all ages. Whether you are 6 or 66, you can find something to enjoy for a while. Our kids were even able to do many things themselves (as we supervised). If you are pushing around a stroller or wheelchair, there is an elevator available and the parking lot was very close to the main door of the museum. No mile walk from a parking garage!