Location: The bottom floor of Crown Center by the Coterie Theatre. Crown Center is at 2450 Grand Blvd in Kansas City, MO.
Cost: Free! They can also validate your parking.
A few weekends ago, we ventured out to a play date at the Fairy Tale Village exhibit at Crown Center. It was definitely improved from the last time we saw a Fairy Tale Village there–the walking spaces were wider, and it wasn’t quite as cramped–but it was still an incredible mad-house, overflowing with children who clearly hadn’t been out of the house in a while. Lesson learned: skip the Fairy Tale Village on the weekends.
Peanut and Sprout ran around as wildly as the other children, and I think both enjoyed it. Peanut tossed his cane to his dad as soon as we entered the space and was off–although there are surface challenges in the form of stairs, small doorways, and bridges, he still navigated it all fairly easily.
As with most of the exhibits in this space, it’s largely vision-based. The buttons for sound effects generally don’t work, and the manipulatives tend to have a visual element: one can pull a cord to open the curtains shielding Sleeping Beauty, for instance, but both the curtains and the Beauty are behind Plexiglas, rendering them nonexistent for many B/VI kids. Truly enjoying the exhibit will require a sighted guide: someone would need to explain that the tool set you an play with is in the Three Little Pigs’ house, that the large eggs are painted gold for the golden goose, or that the plush food is ingredients for the Little Red Hen’s baking.
If you’re willing to make that investment, go on a weekday when the space is less crowded, and have a fairy tale lover, I think this exhibit is still worthwhile. Your child can weigh the golden eggs, count the seven dwarves’ plates, build with the three pigs or bake with the Little Red Hen–s/he will just need help to realize that’s what s/he is doing and really get “in” to the experience.