Photo courtesy of www.kckidsfun.com
Instead of taking a nap or going to a movie last Sunday afternoon, I visited the museum at Prairiefire–the new shopping center in Overland Park. Prairiefire is a well-developed large entertainment center with restaurants, shopping, movies, bowling and of course, the museum.
They are currently hosting the exhibition called “The Horse”. It sounds vague, but it’s basically an exhibit on anything you could ever dream of knowing about horses. Prairiefire displays the evolution of the horse from 50 million years ago to today where they are used for anything from racing to rides at the petting zoo.
As I walked through the double doors I was immediately welcomed by the sound of thundering hooves. I was a slightly disappointed to find that there were no actual horses, but just recorded sounds. The atmosphere was dark and fairly quiet, other than the running horses playing through speakers somewhere above me.
The exhibit was interactive with the viewers–this helped me stay focused on the exhibit, which is useful for those who are easily distracted, like myself. But it was more than horse facts and sounds: videos played throughout and both mannequin and skeleton horses were scattered through the rooms. There was even a display of horse teeth that you could feel. I learned that what the horse liked to snack on determined whether their teeth were sharp or worn down.
At the end of the exhibit, there was a section geared towards children. At one miniature table was a stack of horses outlined on white paper, accompanied by crayons. Another table held microscopes for examining horseshoes and horse hair up close. Don’t be fooled. . . although there is the option of coloring for children, I would not advise as a place to take the kids you are babysitting. Think about it, you are paying money to let the kids color in horses. Take them bowling instead.
The fee for the neon yellow bracelet allowing admittance through the double doors is $14. Now if you have actually no interest in horses whatsoever, then this price is $14 too high. I do admit that I am not the biggest horse fanatic, but the displays helped me learn everything and more that I needed to know about horses and was worth the price for how quality of an exhibit it was.
After exiting my educational walk-through of the day, I decided that I’d check out the rest of the museum, which I might add is not horse related. The Discovery Room is a hands-on activity center for children ages three to 12 to come learn the basics of science for only eight dollars. I obviously was a bit too old to partake in those activities, but I got the low-down from Emma (a friendly worker at the front desk) when I first arrived. She handed me pamphlets on every activity offered, and sent me off into the “The Horse”.
The Great Hall is free to all, and is basically a series of exhibits ranging from Tyrannosaurus Rex to the inhabitants of the sea. This is also quite interactive with the viewers. Through videos and hands-on activities, learning was made enjoyable.
If you are looking for a fun afternoon with friends, this is probably not the place to spend it. I went to the museum alone, which forced me to concentrate. I was also the only person there at the time who was under the age of 50, and over the age of four. Unless your friends are as focused on learning about horses too, I’d stick to going to the movies.