30 Centre Square
Easton, PA 18042
(20 minutes from Allentown, 1.5 hrs NE of Hershey, PA)
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that can get messy.
$17.99 per person 2-64 years at the door
$15.99 online at http://www.crayolaexperience.com/ but look for online coupons and save even more
Parking deck right across the street; $2 per hour
Street parking, if you can find it, metered Mon – Saturday; $1 per hour
Since my daughter’s current obsession involves lots of craft supplies, I decided that a visit to Crayola Experience might be worth a weekend trip to Pennsylvania. I did zero research before heading there, since a good friend had already recommended the kid-friendly attraction.
From the moment we drove up, there was no mistaking the Crayola theme, and my daughter was already excited before we even got in the door. Huge cartoon-crayon murals decorate the entire building from the side we approached. From the other direction, you could see giant crayon sculptures from the traffic circle.
Once inside, we were able to skip the ticket line and go straight to the entrance with our pre-printed tickets. We had gotten $3 off per ticket the night before, directly from the Crayola Experience website. They also have special offers periodically on their social media sites.
I had initially thought the ticket price a little high, but there are so many free activities and crafts that I felt the value was there by the end of the day. In addition, we each got 3 free tokens that could be used for the make-your-own-stuff activities. I saw vending machines for additional token purchases in several places. We could not possibly do everything in one day in this 4-story interactive craft-fest, and my daughter already wants to go back again.
We started at the make-your-own-crayon area and my 7-year-old was hooked. There were five different colors available and kid-height computer terminals let her choose an icon and a name for each crayon in a very simple 2-step process. Click “yes” if you like your layout and the label comes out one place, and a naked crayon comes out another. I don’t know if she had more fun using the crayon terminal or putting the sticky labels onto her new crayons.
From there we passed through an area where kids were using Model Magic to make creations but I was glad to skip that since I knew any masterpieces would get squished throughout the rest of the day. We looked at the make-your-own-marker area, but since there was no pink available, we skipped that, too. One little girl showed us the two-tone marker she had made and I thought it was great that kids were learning basic color blending through mixing the primary colors.
I was very pleased to find valuable lessons in history, physics, and the arts buried within the fun and crafting. At the Water Works area, there are little tug boats that the kids can take through an 85-foot long water way. It has actual locks that you can use to lift and lower the boats. Don’t get me wrong, lots of the younger kids just dragged their boats through the water by hand, but the older ones really got the idea and would work together to open and close the lock doors in the right order. Small plaques throughout the water way explained the process and how it impacted Crayola. The staff and the other parents were all very relaxed and patient while 30 – 35 people were boating at the same time.
From the 4th floor we could see the top half of a two-story enclosed jungle gym (think Chik-Fil-A on steroids) but since we could smell melted crayons, I was able to get my daughter to make a few of the free crafts before looking for the entrance to the equipment. The Meltdown area consisted of kids going from color to color, swirling melted wax onto their papers using long cotton swabs. Surprisingly, I didn’t see anyone get burned by the wax. There was no way to reach inside the containers and the swabs cooled very quickly.
From there we got a quick look at Melt & Mold area, where a simple crayon can get turned into a dinosaur, a car or some other shape of the day. This was also free but takes 4 minutes for the entire process. If you have extra adults in your group, let one stand by the mold while everyone else does drip art.
Back down to the 3rd floor to the Color Playground entrance and then I spent about 30 minutes trying to spot my kid among the dozens climbing in, up and around the equipment. This area was unsettling for me from a safety stand point, since there were multiple ways in and out of the jungle gym. There was just no way to keep an eye on a fast-moving child, so keep that in mind if you make it to that area.
Surrounding the playground was another free craft area with tables set up for cutting and pasting shapes and ribbons onto brown paper shopping bags. Sounds simple, but after being surrounded by color and action all day, we spent about 30 minutes just quietly crafting. It was great to see how many parents sat down and did these activities right beside their children.
Speaking of shopping bags… it was time to head out of the activity area and over to the Crayola store (hand stamps available if you plan on going back into the play zones). Really cool stuff in the store, and who can resist craft supplies and Crayola-themed t-shirts? There were items from 30 cents up to $99 for a giant stuffed crayon, and some really cute apparel for ages infant to adult.
Overall, the day was a great one. The staff were pleasant, helpful and easy to find when you needed one (“Where’s the nearest bathroom?!”). The atmosphere was festive and although there were a lot of people, we never had to wait more than a minute or two to get the activity we wanted. People were in a good mood and the kids were engaged at every turn. I recommend it for kids who are old enough to scribble with crayons and markers, all the way to 9 or 10 year olds who will like the high-tech options of turning their artwork into useful products while you wait. We will definitely go back.
Stuff we missed:
- Doodle in the Dark
- Café Crayola and the World’s Largest Crayon
- Live theater show of how crayons are made
- Colossal Caddy coloring station
- Art Alive! where your art is projected onto huge screens
- And even more stuff