We took our first Summer 2010 Field Trip on Wednesday. We got discounted tickets from Groupon for The National Crime & Punishment Museum. With a 1-yr old that already carries a cap gun around saying “Bam-Dam” and with 2 sons that are in to ALL things guns, battles, wars, etc. (and in fact, one is outside right now playing cops and robbers), this was a perfect field trip. Don’t fret for my poor daughter; Sybella also had a great time- her favorite parts were the interactive stations and the “emergency vehicle driving simulator.”
I was very impressed with the museum. There are historical facts and tidbits everywhere along with plenty of relics, mementos, and memorabilia. The perspective of criminals, crime-fighters, victims, and the public are all presented in various forms. The displays are at a good height and kid friendly (my kids could read the descriptions on their own and they weren’t scary). The museum is now the studio location for the TV show America’s Most Wanted. And therefore education of children about cyber-bullying, giving out passwords or information, and personal safety are all highlighted throughout the museum using kiosks, multiple choice questions and McGruff the Crime Dog.
Other activities included: safe cracking, seeing a modern jail cell, riding a police motorcycle, being in an old-west jail, being in stocks, seeing a guillotine, and an entire CSI lab walk thru.
The older kids also got to pretend they were “SWAT” officers and shoot a 9mm in a gallery style game using a video- they entered a house for an arrest and couldn’t fire their weapons until they had a weapon pointed at them (think Hogan’s Alley game). The boys’ shots were all on target, 80% were lethal, and they never fired before having a weapon drawn on them. As a mom whose 2nd home is Texas, I am PROUD.
Age recommendation- 9 and older for maximum benefit *however, there was plenty of room for my younger kids to wander, touch, and play without breaking things or being in the way of other patrons-- and there were things that were fun for my 3 ½ year old
Content Recommendation- I was thinking as I walked through, this would be a great date night activity.