Knock Knock Museum in Baton Rouge {Know Before You Go}

This is going to be the partner review to my BREC Baton Rouge Zoo trip review. Why? Because it is the other family fun time Baton Rogue activity that I’ve recently tried during my daughter’s field trip “adventure week” for her Pre-K class. And also that’s just how my brain works so we’re going to roll with it. If you hadn’t already heard, my daughter’s school (due to COVID restrictions or otherwise) felt it would be a good idea to slam four field trips into one school week. Maybe I’m just inexperienced, but that just felt like a lot. Do other schools do that? Is that a novel coronavirus special? I don’t know. But I do know that by the time the year was almost over, the state had given our school permission to resume field tripping around town. And we had to make the most of our time. So that’s a step towards normalcy. A BIG weeklong step but I guess we’ll take what we can get at this point. Day 4 of adventure week was the Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge. When chaperone forms came home in the teacher post, the main idea was I’d take one trip my husband would take another and that would be sufficient. My mom and I grabbed the zoo trip at the beginning of the week, my husband told me he was going to handle the museum. Great. He did not inform me that he also signed me up as a chaperone for the museum with him. Chicken. (Obviously I didn’t invite my mother along because I was scared. Absolutely not. Not me.) 

How Far is the Knock Knock Museum from the Northshore?

After Monday I was just relieved that the museum was indoors with air conditioning. I had recently been on a Children’s Museum excursion in New Orleans with Northshore Parent, I was a seasoned veteran, and I was feeling confident. The ride out to the museum wasn’t nearly as grueling as the zoo had been, the facility is actually right off the interstate in City-Brooks Community Park. We pulled up a whole 20 minutes early, caffeinated, and prepared to take on the day as we waited outside the building with the other parents for the school buses to arrive. It’s probably about twenty minutes from the Hammond area, about an hour and twenty from Mandeville. Upon arrival the staff handled the registration madness with ease, we caught up with our classroom, met our tour guide, and were paired off with our daughter and her best friend. One hour on the first floor, one hour on the second floor, eat lunch, two against two; we had this in the bag. What could possibly go wrong? 

Turns out after his five-minute speech, our friendly red-clad tour guide disappeared and unleashed chaos onto the building. The museum set up is quite simple: two floors partitioned off with different learning stations. The structure itself is impressive: it’s gorgeous, it’s got amazing natural light and like all children’s museums it has the same science-y, meant to be educational centers set-up so ideally the children will travel around the rooms calmly and ready to learn, waiting with bated-breath to listen to their adult read the neatly displayed factoids on the walls, and curiously engage in each activity fully comprehending and understanding the wonders of science and the natural world. I said ideally for a reason because that is not how these things tend to progress. I think my daughter and her friend visited each center for approximately 6 seconds each, manically running from one side of the room to the other, completely forgetting that we were even present on this planet with them for the duration of the trip. Other, more seasoned parents plopped their butts in the middle of the room and let the chaos consume them. Why fight the motion of the ocean when your child is within eyeshot and they’re not going to stay in one place for very long anyway? This is a level of unbothered I have yet to achieve. My husband and I proceeded to chase these two children around the museum attempting to engage them in scientific conversation for two hours. Like amateurs. If your kid is under the age of eight, I don’t really recommend trying to keep them still for very long. They’re going to enter into a brain state called “Children’s Museum Hyper Drive.” At this point and they won’t be able to hear you. Their only interest will be moving through each activity at an inhuman speed, scream-talking at each other, touching literally everything aggressively, and descending into sensory overload. Don’t worry–they will learn something. It may not be low-level physics like you had hoped, but it will be something. 

Beware the Climber

The Knock Knock Children’s Museum sports one chaos element that I hadn’t planned for. They didn’t have this at the Children’s Museum in New Orleans so I wasn’t ready for the “Storybook Climber”. This activity gets its own red-clad bouncer employee, and for a good reason. The only way I can describe this thing to you is, it’s a climb-able sculpture consisting of platforms made to look like storybooks. The entire contraption is suspended by wires and surrounded by netting (I assume to keep the children inside). It’s reminiscent of the tube tunnel they used to have at many fast food establishments, but this isn’t very enclosed and it requires quite a bit more climbing action. It IS accessible to adults and we quickly learned why. On the “off chance” that your child climbs to the very tippy top (which extends up to the second floor) and decides that they’re stuck, there’s really only one way to get them down. To go up yourself.  You can try to scream up to them but they’re actually not going to hear you. Not because of their childlike selective hearing, but because it’s actually a pretty far climb and the noise level in any Children’s Museum is astronomical. Like screaming into a wind tunnel. Lucky for us my child and her class friends decided to be cool, climb to the top, and park themselves up there like they were having some kind of board meeting. They were up there for a really long time and since I don’t possess the physical prowess to get inside the Storybook Climber…my husband was the candidate for this job. If you’ve ever met my husband, you know he’s a very large man. He’s about 6’5” and not exactly a rail. At this point I’m worried he’s actually going to get physically stuck, and the Storybook bouncer looks nervous. In the end we had to send another child to smoke out my daughter and her group of cool kids from the top platform, which was enough of a panic attack for that day, thank you very much. I needed to write an entire section about this experience to adequately warn you. 

Field Trips at the Knock Knock Museum

Of course, I am writing this from a field trip viewpoint. I imagine if you take your kids alone, or with a couple of their friends, it might not be as intense of an experience. I cannot promise you they won’t render you helpless on the ground as they climb to the top of the building on a staircase of books, but it will be a learning experience. For everyone involved. Maybe less kids equals less chaos? I’m saying that but as I’ve mentioned, Northshore Parent and I took a visit to the New Orleans Children’s Museum with exactly two kids in tow and it was still pretty tumultuous. Thus is the nature of the game, I suppose. Even so, I would definitely return to the Knock Knock Children’s Museum on my own with Lily.

Would I Recommend the Knock Knock Museum?

The facility is absolutely five-star amazing, beautiful, clean, and well thought-out. Each center was crafted to be a well-rounded learning experience (whether your child chooses to use it as such or not) and is meant to thoughtfully engage with. If your children are a little older they will benefit from the purpose of each activity, which are all STEM-based. And even if your child isn’t old enough to really appreciate the introduction into the world of science, they’re still enjoyable for all ages. There are plenty of opportunities for real-world inspired play like the classic grocery store and café set up but also the addition of the car garage area. Knock Knock also sports a very nice outdoor playground with a few exhibits such as the flower shop and giant chess set, and the old bicycle dome, which was a nice touch. I feel like I wasn’t really able to absorb the fullness of the experience because we were on a field trip with so many other children but does anyone ever get the fullness of the deal on the first try? I suppose not. It’s something that if you live close enough or if you’re willing to do the drive, it can be cool to visit once or twice a year. I do believe my child has now sampled all the children’s museums our area has to offer, so we will need to venture out a little more going forward. Knock Knock’s hours are a little weird, being closed both Monday and Tuesday, so if you’re planning a summer trip, be mindful of that. All visitor admissions are $14, which isn’t extremely pricey when you compare it with other parks and activities. The Knock Knock is also special needs accessible and details their accommodations along with a description of each of their “learning zones” on their website so you can plan your trip ahead of time. I would definitely make a point to visit the Knock Knock if you’re into children’s museums. It’s definitely one of the better ones I’ve ever been to.  Even with the Storybook Climber debacle.

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