Few things were more exciting in elementary school than getting to play Oregon Trail. It didn’t matter if you had a math test that day, if you had a fight with your best friend over a pet rock, or forgot your lunch money. If it was your class’s day to go to the computer lab, all was right with the world.
What exactly was it about Oregon Trail that we found so fascinating? Was it the buffalo hunting? The possibility of starvation? The fact that you could inexplicably die of any number of scary diseases? If you were doing well, Mary wouldn’t break an arm or a leg and you would have enough money to get the supplies you needed to survive. If you were heading toward having to purchase a headstone, Joe would get a snakebite, Pa’s wagon would break an axle, and your whole party would fail to ford the river. Those pesky rivers!
So was it the strategy we were drawn to? Coming to grips with the fact that we would never make it in pioneer times and feeling grateful we lived in the 1980s? Actually it was probably just the fact that we got out of class for half an hour.
Whatever the reason, when an 80s kids walks into Target as an adult and sees that there is an Oregon Trail board game he or she MUST buy it. A lot of time has passed. We’re smarter. Older and wiser. Surely we can win this game with ease now. Right?
MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is located along the American Riviera in sunny Santa Barbara, California. That actually might be enough of an advertisement to visit right there. It's in Santa Barbara? Count me in! But what really gives MOXI adventure status is that it's essentially a children's museum for adults! Sure, kids go there too, but most children's museums don't let you in unless you have, you know, a kid with you. Annoying. So the young-at-heart that are also childless (because their stepson is now 20 and is a decade away from the summer he spent digging up plastic dinosaur bones and manning a make believe diner grill) have nowhere to let their inner child run rampant. Until MOXI, that is.
The exhibits at MOXI are top notch and always evolving. Allow us to take you on a tour...
On the first floor you will find a giant guitar. We're not talking like a bigger-than-average sized guitar, we're talking Incredible Shrinking Woman big. And you can play it! They were smart when they put this exhibit front and center - it immediately makes you feel like a kid again and you can't wait to try it out. On the first floor you will also find a gift shop, the Fantastic Forces Courtyard, and Sound Track (sound booths where you can record the sound effects for some of your favorite movie scenes).
On the second floor they've got the Speed Track where you can race little derby cars down a track that is constantly changing as well as a giant Light Brite and the Lois + Richard Gunther Color Mixing Machine that lets you turn a wheel to control the colored panels hanging over the entryway below.
On the third floor is the Sky Garden. Remember those views? This is where you find them. Here you can walk across a glass floor that looks down onto the courtyard, experiment with the Whitewater exhibit (complete with Archimedes screw), or create an air-powered symphony.
It's great to see kids having fun with their parents and grandparents, but it's also great to see adults having just as much fun exploring!