The Lehigh Valley offers a lot of different experiences to those who visit it. One of the more immersive experiences they have is the one found at the Crayola Experience. This building contains 4 floors of everything that is Crayola. While we were in the area, we had a chance to check it out. This is what our experience was like.
There are a couple of elements that pop into mind when I think about the Crayola Experience. It’s a very fun place. The design of the location and the decorations are all perfectly themed. It’s really cool to see all the colors and the crayons and all that goes along with it. The other element that pops into mind, however, is chaos. There are many things to do there, but in many ways, it can be relatively overwhelming. We were there on the weekend and it was incredibly crowded. This added to the chaotic atmosphere. Having done Disney numerous times, we thought we were prepared for anything. Even Disney didn’t prepare us for this experience. Rating: 3 out of 5
As chaotic as the Crayola Experience seemed to be, the smile on Elias’s face was undeniable. He really loved being there. From a kid’s perspective, it’s a great place. There are so many hands-on activities to keep even the most energetic children entertained. Some of the areas did seem hard to get to because it was so crowded, which was a minor detractor. The activities on the 4th floor all had lines, so for smaller children that also is a little more challenging as the waits were a little long for some of the activities. We noticed there was a bathroom on every floor, the upper floor bathrooms were smaller and the 4th floor only had an individual family restroom. Depending on how old your kids are, and how they are about telling you they need a bathroom break, this could add an additional challenge.
The other issue that we had also involved the 4th floor. They have a no stroller policy on that floor. The problem with this was two-fold. First, while I understand the logistics of it, the place was designed with kids in mind so it’s expected a large number of families are going to have strollers. This made aspects a little inconvenient. Second, once we entered the area that strollers were off-limits, we quickly realized that we were one of a few families that actually read the sign. There were quite a few strollers in there and no one was policing the situation. The space on the 4th floor won’t allow for strollers, so it can’t be changed. It was inconvenient and would be better if it was enforced consistently. Rating: 4 out of 5
The Crayola Experience pricing for admission was a little on the higher side. We ordered our tickets in advance and that saved us $3 a ticket. Elias, as a 3-year-old, was the same price as an adult ticket. You do walk out with some take-home items and that did help offset the price in my mind. They do offer season passes and special season pass packages that would be more of a value if you’re local enough to go there more than just once a year.
The food pricing, on the other hand, was high and oddly disproportionate. While a slice of pizza or a hot dog seemed to fall in line with standard amusement park-style pricing at $4, drinks were also $4 and up. This didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. The concept of a kids combo meal left something to be desired as well. To upgrade the $4 slice of pizza to a meal was an additional $7. This only got you a small bottle of water, a side (a cup of apple sauce, chips, or yogurt), and a plastic Crayola lunch box. They did offer some more adult-friendly entrees like sandwiches and salads for $7 each. Heather and I shared a Turkey Sandwich that was tasty and big enough for us to share, but not worth the $7 price.
Merchandise was also a bit high, as well. I looked through the items they had to offer and the prices for stuffed animals and other common kid favorites were the same or higher then the prices one would find in Disney World. This was pretty surprising to us, as we kind of thought Disney was the pinnacle of pricing. Rating: 2 out of 5
At the end of the day, I would really say the Crayola Experience is worth going to at least once. It’s a lot of fun for the kids to experience. I think it’s the sort of place that one might want to go in with a strategy to make the most of the day. We already discussed that a weekday would probably be better as the crowds would be smaller. Another strategy we thought might be helpful is to take a “top-down” approach and start on the top floor and work our way down, as it seemed most people started the opposite way.
Even with all the chaos and the less than friendly pricing in mind, there’s one aspect that outweighs all of it. Elias has not stopped talking about the Crayola Experience since we went and he keeps reminding us that he can’t wait to go back. While it has it’s challenges, Heather and I aren’t exactly in love with the cost, our kids’ enjoyment is really what everything is all about. Since he loved it, we’ll be back. As much as he loved it, I am sure everyone else’s kids will love it too, which is why we would recommend taking the trip to check it out. Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Have you taken your family to Crayola Experience? What did you love? What did you hate? Share in the comments below!