It’s been hot and humid in Gainesville over the last few weeks. I mean REALLY hot and humid. Plus, school has been out for almost two weeks already, which means the kids are crawling up the walls looking for fun things to do. This week I took them to the Harn Museum. The Harn is a hidden gem in Gainesville, they get internationally recognized pieces of art, hold family days, they have a playroom and even have a little cafe. Did I mention, save for the gardens, it’s all inside???
I took my two kids there and we had a great time! We started our visit with a trip to the Camellia Court Cafe, located downstairs in the Harn Museum. We split some dessert, you know, to fuel our fun. I had never been to the cafe before. It offers light lunch fare and has a few desserts to chose from. After devouring the delicious chocolate lava cake, the three of us were off to explore!
We kicked things off in the Bishop Study Center where we were given a few activities we could do in the museum. We shared a kid-friendly scavenger hunt and each of my two children were given a bag that corresponded with the “mini-exhibit”. Inside each bag was a checklist and a viewfinder. We were encouraged to go to the exhibit and use the viewfinders.
The mini-exhibit was amazing! We were surrounded by tiny works of art, just inches tall! Each slide in the viewfinder had a picture of a small part of one of the miniature pieces of art. We went around the exhibit trying to identify which tiny piece of art was being shown to us in the slide. The kids had a lot of fun!
Next, was the scavenger hunt! We were given a list of 6 works to identify. Each had a gallery name next to it, so my 9-year old was able to pull out the museum map and lead the way. We wandered the galleries, looking for the works of art identified in the scavenger hunt. Even my 5-year-old was able to get in on the fun! Once we found the piece of art we were looking for, there was a question that we could answer about it. My daughter enjoyed delving deeper and answering the questions, while my son just liked looking for the art. Maybe when he’s a little older.
When we were all finished with the hunt, we headed back to the Bishop Study Center to turn in our bags and the clipboards. Each of my children were very excited to get a sticker. We then hung out and played with the creative toys and we created works of art of our own.
Before leaving, we visited the gift shop, where I treated each of my kiddos to some colorful pencils and myself to some Finchberry soap. There were all kinds of beautiful things to look at, amazing art books, interesting toys, pottery, gifts and great jewelry by local artists.
We spent about 3 hours at the Harn from start to finish. The staff was absolutely wonderful! They are consistently host traveling exhibits and change the artwork, so there is always an opportunity to see new things. I know that we will be back to spend a more time enriching our souls and beating the heat this summer!
The Harn hosts family days and other great events. I’m including a link so you can check it out: