The owners of Discovery House provided entry for myself and my daughter in exchange for my review. I couldn’t be more grateful to them for allowing us the opportunity to explore freely and take a few minutes of their time to chat.
I’ve often complained that there isn’t much to do in Jacksonville, and certainly don’t find many great toddler friendly opportunities. I don’t know if things are shaping up in general, but since we’ve had our little one, I feel like there’s more going on (maybe it’s because I’m looking for more to do these days). Either way, when I caught wind of Discovery House, I was thrilled to have something educational and fun to take my daughter to!
I’ll first start by saying I didn’t think I could rationalize the entry fee, BUT after spending nearly 2 hours there and experiencing so MUCH play, learning, and painting, I realized the value of it. It was hard to grasp the wealth of experiences you’d have just by checking out the website. Current charges as listed on their website are $5 for ages 1-3, $8 for 4-14, and $4 for adults. These prices are for unlimited play, paint, and crafting.
We were welcomed warmly, followed by a brief introduction of the space including the no food/drinks rule. I observed them with other visitors and noticed just how much enjoyment these ladies got from being there for these children.
Off to the right was the play area, set in “discovery stations” that really spoke to my inner Kindergartner. Pure. Instant. Love.
There were several bookshelves and a puppet theater. A dramatic play center was set to the back side of the building with clothes, grocery store, food, restaurant-style tables, and house. A build section with wooden workbench, tinker toys, Lincoln Logs, and more. A toddler section in the front corner with another kitchen, chair, books, and toddler appropriate toys.
Through another door, we were greeted by a bird, turtle, and adorable black bunny. There were plastic critters galore and tables for studying or playing.
Through yet another door was an enrichment classroom. Looking online, they offer a wide variety of classes for ages 1 – 15. Art, music, educational … they pretty much have it all. Check out their enrichment class offerings on their website for more information.
We, then, made our way back to the left side of the building where arts and crafts are at the ready. We spent the last half of the time in this room as baby girl LOVES to paint. Two sheets of paper later and I was still having to coerce her to leave for lunch. During our painting time, I saw other children painting, building a birdhouse, coloring, and making other crafts.
As we were leaving, we spent a few minutes talking to the owners who were both educators and one was a nanny for some time. That would explain why I felt like I was in kindergarten again! In speaking with them, I asked them a few questions to get a better understanding of who they are. They even spent time answering some personal questions I had about my own daughter and was kind enough to offer her own experiences to help me.
If you haven’t been to Discovery House, I highly recommend planning a trip and checking out all they have to offer. I know they said they’re hoping to start offering even more classes, included parent classes and there was mention that the space is still a work in progress to make it exactly what they’re hoping for. It’s an adorable and beneficial service in the Jacksonville area and they’re striving to make it EVEN better! I’m excited for Jacksonville to have such an amazing place for our children to play and learn in a safe, warm, and caring environment!
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