Variety of artwork, kids room and special family days.
I have always been scared to take my children (ages 9, 6, 5, 2, and 1) to an art museum. But Phoenix Art Museum hosts a Kids Day every so often where they offer various interactive experiences throughout the museum. This was the perfect opportunity to try an art museum with the kids and I am so glad we did.
The Kids Day theme was modern art. There were stations to build with blocks, make instruments, and sketch still life. A jazz band performed and talked about their instruments and encouraged audience participation. My kids loved being able to get into the action instead of just looking or listening.
In addition the the Kids Day events, we really enjoyed the contemporary art section. The older kids loved the projection of a tree that sways and changes its leaves. We all loved the mixed media art entitled "You who are Getting Obliterated by a Dancing Swarm of Fireflies." You walk into a dark room full of mirrors and hanging LED lights. My kids said it felt like they were in space. Everything in this exhibit was unique and interesting for the the kids and me. I did have to strictly enforce the hands off policy because everything looked so inviting to the 5 and 2-year-olds.
The museum is very supportive in introducing children to art. There are scavenger hunt lists you can use with the kids to keep them interested as you explore. There are also pamphlets for people visiting the museum with kids giving tips and ideas to keep young ones engaged. Upstairs in the north wing there is even a PhxArtKids Galley where kids are allowed to create their own art and explore some unique art pieces from behind glass (much easier to enforce hands-off policy). They can also rest or get wiggles out here before going on to a different part of the museum. If kids really need to run around or have a snack, there is a sculpture garden outside.
This museum was great for visiting with the 9 and 6-year-olds. If we came again, I would leave the younger ones at home. It was pretty stressful trying to keep them away from the artwork. The staff were helpful and excited to show us around and get us participating in the Kids Day projects. If you are bringing kids, definitely try to plan your visit around one of these events.