KidSenses: Just an Hour from the Upstate

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For Fall break this year, my family decided to head up to western North Carolina for a day of fun. While we were up there, we stopped in Rutherfordton, NC  (one hour and a half from Greenville and under and hour from Spartanburg) to see the children’s museum KidSenses. I had heard other local parents tell me that it was a popular day trip destination from the Greenville/Spartanburg area and I wanted to see it for myself.

Review of KidSenses in Rutherfordton, NC

What Is KidSenses?

KidSenses is an interactive children’s museum with 16 exhibits. While at first glance the museum might look small from the outside, the space is packed with fun things to do for all ages of children.

Some of our favorite exhibits were:

Kid’s Pueblito – This Mexican diner was my daughter’s favorite exhibit. The space was bright and cleverly decorated with everything from small tables to food prep and beverage stations.

Zap Theatre! – My son said that the Zap Theatre! was his top choice and I agree that it was an unique experience hearing and watching a Musical Bi-Polar Tesla Coil play music. This particular exhibit has select showtimes so be sure to ask ahead of time for the schedule.

Alphabet Trail – My children were too old for this section of the museum reserved for ages 4 and under but I still peeked in to see what it looked like. The space had ample room to play, imaginary areas, and couch (perfect for feeding a baby or resting while the kids play). The area was completely closed off by a door and the museum staff assured me that they enforce the age limits. I would have happily retreated to this quiet corner back when my kids were smaller.

Bubble-Ology – This room was perhaps one of the most unusual exhibits at the museum. In it, kids could create all sorts of bubbles including a contraption that allowed you to stand inside a giant bubble.

HealthWise – This particular exhibit is not open at all times, but if you are lucky enough to catch it when it’s open you should definitely check it out. Inside, kids could don lab coats, goggles, and gloves to perform science experiments. If you have a child that is always wanting to mix everything in your kitchen cabinets to see what happens, this is the perfect place to let them experiment without the mess.

Lights! Camera! Action! – This exhibit included a full stage, complete with curtains, costumes, and a puppet theatre.

WFUN Studios – My kids enjoyed pretending to be newscasters in this mini studio that had everything from a working camera to a news desk and green screen. This exhibit is best enjoyed with two or more people as one person can pretend to report while the other person can control the background.

PetSenses – In this area, kids could grab a stuffed pet, groom it, weigh it, and even check the pet for ID chips.

In addition, there was also a mini grocery store, firetruck, art room, and more. With 16 exhibit areas, there was plenty for my children to explore.

Tips for Visiting KidSenses

We would recommend calling ahead of time to ensure that you aren’t visiting at the same time as a school trip.

There are only a couple options for dining in Rutherfordton, so pack a lunch or ask at the desk for a couple recommendations. There is however, a great ice cream and coffee shop right across the street.

We saw plenty of street parking on the day we visited.

My kids are old enough where I wasn’t worried about “losing” them, but some other parents told me that they did feel like they had to watch their children closely due to the fact that you could quickly scale a climber in the middle of the museum to get from one floor to another. The museum was pretty contained though with only one entrance. There is a back door but it has an alarm. Overall, I think that due to the smaller size, it would be easier to watch small kids than other similar museums.

KidSenses is in the process of adding a new division for youth ages 11 and up called The Factory. It will be located right behind KidSenses in a separate building. We still don’t have a date on when this new hands-on maker space will open, but it will certainly be a great addition for families with older kids.

Basic Information

KidSenses is located at:

172 N. Main St.
Rutherfordton, NC 28139

You can call them at 828-286-2120.

They are closed Sundays and Mondays. Tuesdays-Saturdays they are open from 9-5.

Admission is $8/person (children & adults)

Have you been to KidSenses? We would love to hear what you think.

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at [email protected]

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