By: Nick Perkins
The District is home to numerous adult-oriented venues. Bars, restaurants, art galleries, shops and more are all designed to give young adults and older adults alike an opportunity to experience an art culture previously unheard of in our fair city. Downtown Casper has been transformed into something resembling a sprawling Metropolis and there is truly something for everybody of all ages.
Which brings us to our next point. In our attempts to feature incredible bars such as The Office, Frosty’s and the Wonder Bar, or venues such as Yellowstone Garage, or shops such as Urban Bottle, perhaps we’ve forgotten to mention a very important aspect of The District.
Silly Rabbit, The District’s for Kids (Too!!!)
Yes, The District has a multitude of events and experiences that are guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of kids of all ages. These business entertain, educate and empower young people on a consistent basis and we are proud to have them in The District.
Of course, when one thinks of a business that both entertains and educates, one can’t help but think of The Science Zone.
The Science Zone
Per their website, “The Science Zone exists to inspire the mind, to delight the senses and to ignite a passion for the technical arts and sciences.”
That is exactly what they do on a daily basis. The Science Zone utilizes interactive exhibits, classes, field trips and more to open the eyes, minds, and hearts of children in Casper. They offer after-school classes, preschool programs, summer camps, birthday parties and even Lego Robotics to enrich the minds’ and speak to children where they’re at. The Science Zone team is full of teachers, scientists, and para-educators; all of whom have a passion for the arts and for children.
The Science Zone participates in the Art Walk every month and always has something exciting to offer- from Lego Robotics to computer programing and video game design to the study of honey bees! The Science Zone knows how important it is to make education fun. Education isn’t about tests and learning doesn’t have to be boring. The Science Zone knows this and proudly offers a wide array of activities and events, all designed to intrigue, educate and entertain.
That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to events that The Science Zone puts on. They also offer Nights at the Museum, Spring Break Crash Courses and much, much more. Their “Trick or Treat Trail” has become a yearly highlight each October as well. For more information and to see just how much The Science Zone has to offer, visit their website- http://www.thesciencezone.org/ and be sure to like their Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/TheScienceZoneWY/
The Science Zone is open Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm, from 10am-7pm on the first Thursday of every month and by appointment. Cost is only $3 for children and $4 for adults. Call 307-473-ZONE for with any questions!
Speaking of educational facilities that believe more in teaching than in test scores, The District is home to one of the most exciting, interesting and innovative education systems in Wyoming, and it is the next place we want to feature in our guide to Kids Activities in The District.
The Montessori School of Casper
For over 40 years, The Montessori School of Casper has been offering alternative, innovative ways of learning to the children of our city. Dr. Maria Montessori, from whom the school gained its namesake, was born in 1870 and became the first woman in Italy to earn a degree in both medicine and anthropology. Throughout her journey, she discovered something that many of us still haven’t realized: that learning is a natural process and is heavily influenced by the environment. Montessori spent her life advocating for and empowering young people, offering alternative means of learning because she believed that education should be about uncovering children’s “unique potential;” not about viewing children as “blank slates” to be filled by educators.
These ideas were game-changing, and they are what inspired the creation of The Montessori School of Casper. The Montessori School offers, ahem:
• Prepared kinesthetic, self-correcting materials
• Uninterrupted work cycles
• Multi-aged classrooms
• Mainly individual instruction
• Integrated subjects and learning based on developmental psychology
According to the Montessori website, “Children learn at their own pace and follow their own interests, based on helping the natural development of the human being. The children’s individual development brings its own reward and therefore motivation.”
YES! So much yes. There are 5 areas that make up the Montessori preschool classroom: Sensorial, Mathematical, Practical, Language and Cultural. Sign us up! I mean, you can’t. Cause we’re grownups and this is a preschool class. Still, though!
Montessori offers a preschool-Kindergarten program and it is a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit. They rely entirely on donations, tuition, and volunteers. The ideas that this school offers are, in this writer’s opinion, paramount to a real education. This is not just testing and videos. It is a fully interactive, innovative way to give kids a REAL “Head Start.”
They are currently offering enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year and, if we’re being honest, this might be the most important place on our list. For more information, check out http://www.montessoriofcasper.com/ or call them at 307-265-0249.
Both The Science Zone and the Montessori School of Casper are fun and educational, but sometimes it’s okay to just have a little fun. When one thinks of fun in The District, one very quickly thinks of The Gaslight Social.
The Gaslight Social
Yes, the Gaslight Social is a bar. Yes, if Reese Witherspoon sees you with your children in a bar, she will judge you. But the Gaslight Social is not just a bar. It’s also an arcade. And as much as those of us in our 20’s and 30’s want to hold onto our childhood, arcades were built for kids. Luckily, The Gaslight understands this and welcomes it. Every Sunday of the week is designated as “family day.” Grownups can bring their families into the Gaslight at anytime during the day on Sunday and while they enjoy the amazing food and drinks that Gaslight offers, the kiddos can go play video games such as “Mario Kart,” “The Walking Dead,” “Pacman,” “Jurassic Park” and more!
There is nothing like being a kid in an arcade. Getting lost in the adventures that video games provide is something that cannot be compared to anything else. These days, video games can be played anywhere, on anything. Phones, tablets, iPads and other various handhelds make playing video games easier than ever. But there’s something to be said about going to an actual venue, putting in actual quarters, standing in front of a video game and trying to beat a high score. Nothing can compare to that and its something that is wholly unique to The Gaslight Social.
Yes, The Gaslight is a bar and it offers an escape for adults by providing them with delicious beverages. But kids have worries, too, and The Gaslight offers them a chance to escape from them for just a little bit to get lost inside of a video game.
For hours, events and more information, check out their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/barcadeatery/?ref=br_rs
Videos games aren’t the only way for children to get lost in their imaginations, which brings us to our next venue.
The David Street Station
Of course, we couldn’t speak of activities for kids without talking about The David Street Station. As the glue that holds almost every aspect of The District together, The David Street Station offers a bevvy of entertainment for kids and grownups alike!
Whether it’s the newly-installed Splash Pad, Family Game Nights, Movie Nights, picnics or concerts, The David Street Station exists to bring families and the community together. The Splash Pad, in particular, was an amazing idea to cool off during these hot summer months. But, as summer turns to fall turns to winter, David Street Station, again, has something up their sleeves.
In December, The Station will be installing an ice skating rink. This is something that hasn’t been a part of Casper in years. An outdoor skating rink is like something out of the movies and we can only imagine the multitude of people who will be celebrating the Christmas season by ice skating at David Street Station, then going home to drink hot chocolate and read. That sounds like the perfect evening to us, and we cannot wait to spend Christmas at The District.
Even without the skating rink, though, The David Street Station has proven itself to be a hub of the greatest aspects of The District- there’s food, music, art, culture, games and, most importantly, community. We live in a very isolated culture these days. Families can be sitting in one room together, watching 5 different movies on 5 different devices and barely speak to each other. What The David Street Station is trying to accomplish is bringing both families, and the community, together. It exists to provide memories, that’s all.
And there you have it. Four (out of many!) places that prove The District is for kids, too! We highly recommend any and all of these establishments. If you’re looking for something new, something different, something fun, you can find it in The District. So take away the iPads and the reruns of Paw Patrol and take your kids outside to experience all that The District has to offer!