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BEST CHILDREN'S MUSEUM Minneapolis 1998 -

The giant anthill at the Minnesota Children's Museum is by itself worth the price of entry. (Museum admission is free for infants and members, $3.95 for toddlers and seniors, and $5.95 for those aged 3 to 59.) Not only are the human-size catacombs a fantasy come true for young children who love to crawl through boxes at home--they're also a carpeted metaphor for parenting. Crawling through the tunnels after your children, you encourage them along, wait for them to get their bearings, follow them, wait for them, and come out more than a bit disoriented. Either that or you let them belly-crawl to their heart's content while you wait outside, anticipating their point of exit. (You're usually wrong.) For older kids, the museum has just as many stimulating and safe play 'n' learn stations, ranging from a TV and music studio to a giant water table--water and gravity being two of the best toys around, if you ask us. The museum's new location of the past couple of years affords it an abundance of space over four floors, but the imagination behind the construction seems just as expansive. Kids can be harsh critics, but they won't be bored here.

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