The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA. What a Great Family Day!

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@VisitCrayola #VisitCrayola #magicofcolor

Who doesn’t love arts & crafts? In my family – from the age of eight months to thirty eight years, we all love creating. Upon booking our first family ski trip to the Poconos, we knew immediately the best place to stop enroute would be the Crayola Experience, in Easton, PA!

Back in 2012, on our first visit (and prior to the expansive renovations), we ventured to the Crayola Experience as an easy day trip from Manhattan.

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Since moving to the suburbs, and subsequently having two more children, we have been looking for an opportunity to return. The timing could not have been better. My seven year old and three year old went to town, while I enjoyed the baby friendly facility (including a nursing room on the 2nd floor!). There was literally something there for everyone.

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Bursting with four floors of color, we began our creative journey at the top.  While I waited on the short line for Melt and Mold, my kids were at Meltdown. Think painting directly from the belly of a giant Crayola crayon – the kids dipped brushes into melted wax and “painted” their creations.

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Next, it was Melt and Mold time. Here the kids put a crayon into one of three machines and watched it melt, drip down, and mold into a dinosaur, ring or Crayola swirl. My kids thought this was fascinating! We spent a good amount of time here and made souvenirs for pretty much everyone we know.

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Our last stop was Drip ArtCrayola’s take on spin art. As a child, spin art was my jam, so I eagerly awaited my turn right behind my kids. Yanking the throttle to control the speed of the spinner, my son pretended he was on a rocket ship as the crayon wax dripped into a beautiful circular design. It’s safe to say this exhibit was a winner.

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Feeling like we successfully conquered the fourth floor, we headed down to the third floor where my kids had tunnel vision to the jungle explorer in the Activity Studio. A HUGE two story jungle gym with twist, turns, slides, and climbing galore meant they were in heaven (and I could sit down for twenty minutes – yay)! I watched them have the best time and even ran back up to the fourth floor to snap a quick picture of them in one of the clear lookout bubbles.

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After some begging, I got them to move on to the Doodle in the Dark area. This great (dark) space provided large neon doodle boards on the walls, an animated dance floor, and an interactive dancing experience where a Crayola crayon copied your moves. Let’s just say Mr. Purple pulled out some impressive choreography!

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Heading down to the second floor, we found ourselves mesmerized by the Art Alive area – where your iPad creation magically transports  into a live animation on the wall.

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But once they saw the Molding Madness area they started running. Loving the vending machine and the crafting equally, they put in the provided tokens and picked their Crayola Model Magic colors.

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If your kids are like mine and seek out shows and character meet and greets, this is the floor for you. We not only met Mr. Green, we saw crayons being made at the Crayola Factory show and were transported into the two dimensional world of a coloring page in the Be A Star studio.

Favorites of ours on both visits, these are all not to be missed.

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As our grand finale exhibit, we created custom crayons by picking a color, logo, and name at Wrap It Up! Once the label printed out we used the machines to attach it to the provided crayon making it an official Crayola color. Woot!

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As our time at the Crayola Experience came to an end, and we exited through the colorful gift shop – loot bags in hand – we once again agreed the “Experience” was a success.

Perfect as a day trip or enroute to one of the many fun things to do in the Poconos, the Crayola Experience is a great place to spend the day. If you live in the area, check out their special events. Wish I could do a Mom’s Night Out here!

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****Giveaway****

Know what’s even more fun than coloring? Winning an annual pass to color as much as you want! The nice people at the Crayola Experience have offered to giveaway 2 annual passes to The Mint Chip Mama readers!

To win comment below:

What is your favorite arts and crafts/creative thing to do with your kids?

Winner chosen Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 5pm EST!

(Drum roll) the winner is Jen H! 

But even better – everyone is a winner! Follow this link to save $3 off  your admission tickets! The code to access the tickets is: Chip. With the school break next week it’s a great time to go!

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I Come From A Diggerland Down Under. America’s 1st Construction Themed Amusement Park!

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Amusement parks are a place we go to see our kids have fun. If you’re a big kid like me you can often sneak some fun in for yourself too. I have to say of all the amusement parks I’ve ever been to Diggerland USA – the first construction themed amusement park in the US – was one of the most fun amusement parks I’ve ever visited. Even in the pouring rain.

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If you have a truck obsessed kid like I do – this is the place for you!

Remove your idea of conventional rides and enter the concept of construction vehicles as rides. Yep, that means instead of sitting in a tea cup, you sit in the driver’s seat of a backhoe. And get to drive it! I’m pretty sure I could have gone my entire life without ever driving a backhoe – something I never really put too much thought into before – but you know what? It was awesome! I was giggling like a schoolgirl the whole time. At the end I apologized to the attendant for my embarrassing behavior but he only laughed and said everyone had the same reaction.

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But the fun just starts there – to highlight a few of my favorites, there are mini-excavators turned into amusement park games (no prizes but included with admission!); the Dig-Around – Half Merry-Go-Round, Half Excavator, all Carousel; and my favorite – the Spin Dizzy – a specially designed spinning 3 ton high, torque JCB JS220! I love that they were constructed (too meta?) with the vehicle’s cab as the ride operator’s station!

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My daughter (at 44”) was too short to drive the full scale construction vehicles (a good thing as a five year old driving a huge truck is probably a bad idea) but she was able to join me as I drove them as well as ride all the kid rides. Her absolute favorite was the Mini-Land Rovers. She got to drive – and I mean drive, not on an attached track – herself. I had vivid flashback memories of me as a kid LOVING this exact type of ride and always begging my parents to go again and again. So I let her, because you know, I’m a cool mom.

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My poor son (at under 36”) who loves construction vehicles more than milk was very limited on what he could ride. However once we found the Barrel Train – pulled by a dumper truck that cruised around the park, little “driving” wheel included – he was set. For an hour.

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One of the other things really worth highlighting at Diggerland USA was the staff. Now, I’m an amusement park junkie and can’t think of any park whose staff ever did anything but sit there apathetically pushing a button. At Diggerland USA I said to my husband over & over again “he was so nice, he was so helpful”. I actually asked the head honcho – who was pretty amazing himself, where he found these people. He shared that most were local high school graduates, who worked here as their first job. It was important to the people in charge that their employees were very well trained – not only on their specific job – but on what it means to have a job, laying the groundwork for the tools they need in life wherever their paths take them. Yep, my mouth dropped open. Amazing. He said because the company wanted to invest in them the staff genuinely liked working there. They were happy. And it paid off! 85% of the staff returned this season – which apparently is unheard of in the amusement park industry. Sounds better than your job, right?

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Besides the rides and the construction vehicles to drive there was a stunt show, a really fun gift shop, an arcade, a huge playground (ropes course, rock wall, crazy slide), and of course what park would be complete without a goat cam?!

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Diggerland USA is located behind Sahara Sam’s Oasis Water Park in West Berlin, New Jersey. We visited on the second day of a little family vacation – the day before we were at Sesame Place. It was perfect. We said bye to Elmo and drove about thirty minutes to one of the recommended hotels in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. We had a delicious dinner at Cracker Barrel (mmmmmm!) and went to sleep nice and early. We woke up, stopped at the Lark Voorhees Diner for breakfast (which if you know me and how I feel about diners you can imagine how good it was that I’m even mentioning it) and arrived at Diggerland USA when they opened at 10am. We left at noon. I could have stayed at least another two hours.

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If your kids are really into trucks I highly suggest a visit. Even if your kids aren’t so into trucks I promise they will have a blast. It is so different from any park you will visit this summer. It is definitely worth the new experience! I can’t stop talking about what a nice time we all had.

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*GIVEAWAY*

Diggerland USA has offered to give away a family four-pack of tickets to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What’s the biggest or most unique vehicle you’ve ever driven?

Winner will be chosen Saturday, August 8th, 2015.

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