There’s a reason the Crayola brand has been around for over 100 years: It is simple yet innovative, and gives kids the tools for unleashing their wondrous artistic creativity. The same could be said about their attraction in Easton, PA, the Crayola Experience. Formerly the site of a Crayola crayon factory, it was redesigned in 2013 as a family activity destination that will delight young artists and non-artists alike, especially those between ages 2 and 10. With 26 interactive exhibits and more than 60,000 feet of creative adventures, plan to spend the day expressing your own inner artistry along with your little scribblers.
Getting to The Crayola Experience
At only an hour and a half away from Manhattan, it’s the perfect day-trip distance for New York families with young kids. Parking is easy, with either street meters ($1/hour, maximum 2 hours) or the lot right behind the Crayola building ($3/hour). If you’d prefer to take public transportation, a bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to Easton, PA, will bring you within short walking distance. Bus fare is about $30 for kids and $50 for adults, and the trip generally takes between 90 minutes and two hours.
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Admissions to the Museum
The fun starts even before you enter the building, where the children can play on and pose with the enormous marker and crayon sculptures in front of the building. Inside, there’s a coat room to dump your stuff (jackets, snacks, etc.) before you get started. Regular tickets are $19.99/person, and it’s free for kids under 2; a quick internet search before you go might get you coupons or discounts. Either way, buying tickets online in advance will save time. Each ticket gets you one “goodie bag” containing two tokens that you’ll need for two of the activities, and the bag will hold all the cool stuff the kids make. Additional tokens are available for purchase at vending machines near the activities.
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Highlights of the Crayola Experience
It’s good to have a plan as you head in, because during peak times or seasons it can get crowded, which makes it harder to move quickly between all of the exhibits. Plus, the exhibits vary by wait time, energy level, and cool-factor. So while you might be tempted to do each activity in order on every floor, here are some attractions to prioritize, in order to get the best out of your visit:
The Crayola Factory on the second floor is a good place to start to get the kids excited and offers a bit of a Crayola education. Crayola keeps the factory-visit spirit alive with a cute theatrical show featuring two animated crayons and a live Crayonologist who teach the kids about how crayons are made with fun facts and demonstrations.
Right outside the theater is Wrap It Up, where they can “buy” a crayon with their token, name it with a custom label, and then wrap it with a special tool. On the third floor there’s a large space for non-structured art and play time. Kids can cut, color, paint, and glue at the Activity Studio and Paint Palette, where staff regularly rotate the projects, and then switch to the Color Playground in the center of the room to burn off some energy climbing and sliding. (The younger set can play safely at Toddler Town on the second floor.) Kids can use the provided chalk to draw on the floor of the playground, or use dry-erase markers to decorate the whiteboard-material animal figures.
Next door, the dimmed lighting at Doodle In The Dark will help bring their energy level back to normal as they experiment with light, color, and interactive media. Kids can doodle on light boards with neon markers, dance in front of a special screen that displays an animated crayon guy mimicking their every move, or play on the floor screen where the projected objects move when stomped on.
Lunch Time: Cafe Crayola on the 1st floor is quick, easy, and tasty as long as you’re ok with typical kid-friendly fare. There’s also the option to bring lunch and picnic on site, or if you’d like to venture out to one of the restaurants nearby, make sure you get your hands stamped for re-entry.
After re-fueling, the second floor has high-tech activities to satisfy your post-millennial Picassos. Your older ones will love creating a computerized 4-D animated adventure of their own drawing at Color Magic, and you can bring the little ones to Be A Star, where they can make a coloring page using their own image. Down the hall they can get their sensory groove on at Modeling Madness, which features Crayola’s unique foam-like version of play-dough. Token and cash vending machines sell the Model Magic in almost every color, and they can sculpt away at tables set up with tools.
If You Have Extra Time
The highlights explored above usually have little or no wait time involved, which any parent of little kids knows is paramount. But if they have the patience to wait on line, the fourth-floor activities are fun, too. At Melt & Mold they can turn a crayon into a keepsake (a ring, dinosaur, or crayon guy), and the Drip Art station is good ol’ spin-art using melted crayon wax. The third activity on the floor generally has less of a line, so if you have another adult with you, it might be worthwhile to split up and have one wait on one of those lines while the other comes to Meltdown with the kids, where they can paint with melted crayon wax.
If you still have some steam left, and the thought of bringing your kids to a store doesn't make your head explode, visit the Crayola Store on the first floor. Along with their ubiquitous branded products they sell cool Crayola souvenirs unique to the site, customizable crayon and marker sets, and t-shirt ands puzzles made from creations you colored earlier.
At the end of your Crayola Experience, the goodie bags are filled with projects and keepsakes, you've all majorly scratched your coloring itch, and you can still make it home in time for dinner.
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