AUGUST 15, 2007

by Kelly

During Project Absurd's recent vay-cay to The Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania, we side-tracked one day and stopped in Easton, PA. Here we visited three fun little museums - The Crayola Fun Factory Museum being the first (and the other two we'll post about later).

The Crayola Museum is located on a road that is actually one of those circle things- a roundabout. There is essentially no parking, so we parked in a garage a few blocks away. Because of this, we were closer to the back door of the museum and entered from there. If you are really angry and require a picture of the front door, you can click the link above to see a very tiny picture of it on their site.

The back door:

They love their tumbling crayons here, as you'll find out.

As soon as we entered, IT HIT US. Now, we knew we were going to a children's museum. We expected a certain amount of noise and carrying-on. We are not stupid. HOWEVER... the noise in this place is just astounding. I cannot find the words to emphasize to you all enough the sheer volume of screeching and yelling that hits you the moment you step inside this place. It is unreal. I would post a video so you could hear it for yourselves, but you would Hate Me and never visit this site again. If you were to judge by this place alone you would be forced to conclude that no one disciplines their children anymore at all under any circumstances ever. We all know this is a growing problem in this country. This museum illustrates this problem in vivid technicolor detail.

As we paid for our entrance into Hell Run By Children, we noticed the cashiers were like androids. They were numb to the screaming and yelling and said the EXACT same thing to each person in line, regardless of anything. I expected a certain amount of snickering or smirking when Ham and I came through without children, but... nothing. It was like Stepford Workers or something. We were handed a sticker to wear and three Coins of Undetermined Significance each and hurried on our way.

The Coins of Undetermined Significance:

I say Coins of Undetermined Significance, because at the time they were given to us without explanation. We found their use later, and we'll get to that. But first, I must speak about the on-site McDonalds.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this place was echoing with such a cacophony of noise that we already had to take a breather. We decided to go to McDonalds and get a bite to eat before moving on. Haha! We thought this would be a slightly calmer environment. Haha, I say!

It was just as bad - if not worse - in McDonalds. We should have known that McDonalds is where the Children of Doom were refueling their caffeine supplies for the hostile takeover of the Museum. The crew could barely keep up with the mess - and I don't blame them, this is no ordinary McDonalds. We have actual video footage of me saying that for the same (and much less costly) effect on my day I could have stayed at our hotel and had Ham punch me repeatedly in the face. It was that bad in there. And we hadn't even gone into the Museum yet.

The state of the soda machine at McDonalds:


Realizing McDonalds was wasting our time and making our heads pound just as hard, we finished our meals and got out. The one semi-quiet room in the whole museum was on the same floor as the cashiers and McDonalds and didn't have much in it, save for some hands-on experiments and this dress:


Upstairs, we then went to the meat-and-potatoes part of the Crayola Museum.

Meet Tip, the Crayola Museum mascot:

Tip was not a live person in costume. Tip was just a statue.

I should clarify that although this place is called a "museum" it is more of a hands-on experiment in the torture of adults, with assorted craft stations set up for the kiddies and no structure of any sort attached to them (they probably assumed parents would teach their children about respect, as well as fun, in a place like this - haha!). A museum would dictate some sort of quiet reverence, no? There was interesting stuff to look at here, much like a museum would have, but no one was paying any attention to any of it. We did enjoy the following (which I had to photograph quickly and between heads rushing past (you can still see an elbow in the bottom left) - god forbid someone pause so another human being can take a photo, or heaven forbid, just walk behind us instead, but I digress!):

If you have a blue crayon called "blue ribbon" I suggest you save it!

Also in this room were these things, which were for the use of the Coins of (heretofore) Undetermined Significance:

In the machine on the left you could insert one coin for a Crayola brand highlighter and the machine on the right rewarded you with a box of four crayons for your coin. Our review: there were (I think) three of each of these machines with each highlighter machine supposing to give you a different colored highlighter. There were green highlighters in the purple highlighter machine (disappointment!) and the orange highlighter machine didn't work. That left us with no choice but to get green highlighters. The three crayon machines were exactly the same, so we each got a box of crayons. This left us with one coin left, each. Neither of us wanted another green highlighter or another box of 4 crayons, so it was decided the coins would be a lovely memento of our day, hence why I have them at home to photograph For Your Viewing Pleasure. Try to contain yourselves.

The booty:


Just outside this room, a man was lecturing on how Crayola crayons are made. This room was packed as if Oprah was in the house, so we couldn't get a seat. We could only get this fairly awful picture:


I'm not sure what this had to do with crayons, and since I can't read the sign, we may never know:

Here is an example of the kind of chaos going on in one of the large craft rooms. This table was in such a state of disarray I could just not stop laughing at it. Just knowing how nice and neat it probably started the day vs. this look of a mighty hurricane hitting it was too much to take. I think I was starting to lose my mind from all the screaming and hollering around us. There were no children at this table at the time, so I decided to take a picture, because, you know, the table was the epitome of Absurd. What makes this picture even better is that just as I snapped the picture, a random, heretofore unseen, out-of-control child dove underneath the table, for reasons wholly unknown. You can see him in the lower right corner of the photo behind the stool and under the table.

I blurred out faces throughout these photos, to protect The Obnoxious.

Here is a lovely mural gracing a wall of the Museum. No, I don't know what it is.

They do love their crayon statues here. I love a steaming hot mug of crayons on a cold winter's day!

Here's a good one, and yet another example of parents not controlling their children - even to follow Museum Rules:



More Museum-y Stuff I Cannot Explain But We Thoroughly Enjoyed:

At this point I was Reaching My Wits End With The Uncontrolled Children. As I was focusing to take the picture below, the snot-nosed brat on the right, whose face I have blurred out only out of the kindness of my heart, paused for a nanosecond. I thought he was being nice and waiting for me (hahahahaha) so I went ahead and snapped the photo. He ended up in the picture, because in his infinite wisdom he actually decided the right course of action was not to wait one more nanosecond for the picture to be taken, but to dart past me saying, in the most disrespectful and nasty  "duh" -type tone imaginable,


I know it doesn't sound like much, but his tone was such that I wanted to beat him with something blunt, such as one of those crayon statues. Without thinking I put the camera down saying "BRAT!" fully out loud. It's not like his parents were anywhere to be seen. Or like anyone could hear me with the decibal level being what it was in there. Still, I was shocked at my own outburst. This place will make any sane person into Sybil

On the other side of the crayons in the picture above was a craft station that somehow involved crayon shavings, as evidenced by the thousands of crayon shavings all over the floor. My god I would hate to be the janitor at this place.

In the following room the children were allowed to write on the floor with chalk. I have nothing to say about this, really. It was one of the more relatively pleasant rooms in the building.

More tumbling crayons. Yeah! Drop the scissors! Hilarity ensues!

Somewhere around here we entered a noisy craft room only to find someone's father defying all expectations - out cold asleep sitting against a wall. We have him on video, but in the interest of keeping his anonymity I have not included it. The picture just would not work if I blurred out his face. You'd think this place would be the last one on Earth in which one could get any rest. I'm guessing his body just gave up and shut down until it was time to leave.

On the way out, we noticed a Suggestion Box. Ham had a few suggestions, which we did turn in to the great folks at the Crayola Fun Factory Museum:

After this we decided to hit up the Museum Store - always the best part of any trip. I fully expected the store to be As Bad As The Museum Itself. To my relief and joy, it was not. Perhaps this is because it is not attached to the museum itself, it is next door, necessitating a trip outside that many parents can skip without their children noticing. In any event, this is what greets you as you enter the store - a display of crayon colors.

I'm sorry it's not more clear - it was very large and therefore impossible to get the whole thing in one shot and make it readable at a size that would fit on this site.

A shot of the beautiful store:

The store includes a display of The World's Largest Crayon. Rock on!

I went a little nuts in here. The prices were really reasonable, which was very refreshing for a store of this type. Here's what I bought, minus the bracelet I bought for my sister (because I already gave it to her, it was not available to be photographed today):

A coloring book, a sticker book and a tin of crayons (the white thing on the right is my receipt with the sticker I wore around the museum on the back of it and at top right are flyers we picked up). My favorite is the tin of crayons. There were two tin sizes available for very reasonable prices. You then fill your tin with a variety of crayons of your choosing. As many crayons as you can fit in the tin. All for under $10. And we're talking a lot of crayons. I got one of every color available, then filled in with extras of the most-used and my favorite colors. And I bought the small tin! Yeah, I like to color when I'm stressed out. Does anyone have an issue with this? Good.

Overall, the Crayola Fun Factory Museum, it was an experience. An exercise in patience, if nothing else. I cannot emphasize enough that we know this is a children's museum and play area. WE GET THAT. This place went beyond all expectations of what is an acceptable amount of non-discipline. We defy you to find another place where children are allowed to run amok with such little supervision. And we're not saying all parents, or even all parents at the Museum that day were bad. But the ones that are eclipse the ones that aren't and make them all look bad. When I think of the future, it gives me pause. I think I need to go color something now.

(Posted 09/16/2007)