Monday, July 14, 2014

The Crayola Experience

I've been absent from the blogosphere for the last week and a half, because my life has been a whirlwind of activities.  I decided to just go with the flow and not worry about blogging in the midst of the fun and busyness.  Carpe the dayum, or something like that.

As I'm back home now, I'll hopefully catch you all up on some of the great adventures we've been having, and the good news is this:  there are more to come!  Starting tomorrow, in fact.

One of our recent adventures involved color.  LOTS of color.  Grandtwins Tori and Brianna came along with me on an overnight road trip to Easton, Pennsylvania, to see how crayons are made at the Crayola Experience.  With four floors of displays and activities for the kids of all ages, it was nearly a sensory overload.  The little kid in me wanted to run from activity to activity, but I reigned in my urge to be a 12 year old grandma and helped the three of us follow the map for each floor.

Starting at the entrance on the first floor, we discovered a case holding the world's largest crayon.  Big Blue I think it was named.  It is a real colorable (if you could hold it) crayon, and the girls were fascinated.  This is just one of the many photos the girls insisted I take of them in front of it.

One of the first activities was to create a personalized crayon.  The girls used a computer to create a color and a name for that crayon.  After the machine spit out a label and a crayon, the girls had to wrap the paper carefully around their custom made crayon.  If I recall, Tori named hers "Tori," and I'm pretty sure Brianna named her crayon "Brianna."  What a surprise.

Designing the label
Wrapping the crayon

There were numerous options on the four floors for coloring - both coloring by hand the old fashioned way and using various tools to color pictures on a computer screen that were then projected as moving figures on the nearby walls.
Coloring with the available trazillion crayons

There were active pinball type wall games and a huge indoor play area with a large play structure that was several floors high.

I love factory tours and although this facility does not take you through the factory where the crayons are actually made, there was an informative and enjoyable stage production that showed the process from start to finish.  The presentation followed a girl as she made a small batch of crayons.  Video cameras aimed on her from above and projected onto large screens allowed us to see and understand the tasks as she worked.  Cartoon crayon characters narrated parts of the process.

Over on the side wall, a counter was counting the number of crayons that have ever been made at any given moment.  We learned that when Crayola began making crayons way back in 1903, there were only eight colors.  Today, although you can still buy small packs of crayons that contain those classic eight colors, there are 120 Crayola colors.

On another floor there was an intriguing water activity, in which the kids floated "boats" (looking remarkably like large carved out crayons) through a waterway containing several systems of canal locks.  I was quite fascinated with the filling and emptying of the locks chambers.  When the door behind the boat was closed, the water would rise, and the boat could proceed through the next lock.  Very cool, and yes, I did find myself slopping in the water with those boats a little.

After all that fun, I wasn't surprised at how the exit route was orchestrated to funnel us straight into the Crayola gift shop.  There were so many wonderful arts and crafts sets and every possible option for buying all the colors and styles of the Crayola markers and crayons, and yes, we did buy some of those.  

But, and I've learned this by now from numerous previous adventures with these girls, what they really looked for were.......wait for it........stuffed animals.  Who buys stuffed toys in a crayon place?  We do.  I know - I'm a sucker like that.

Sometimes, I guess it's just whatever trips their triggers.  And anyway, isn't that what grandmas are for?


  1. What a great place for kids (and adults who are kids at heart).

  2. They are beyond lucky to have a garmal that takes them to do all these cool things :)

  3. Very nice! I would love to take the Grandkids there, but it is too far.