The new Dayton Metro Library has a beautiful children’s area that looks like it was lifted right off the page of any classic fairy tale. Walk under a bridge lit with alternating rainbow colors to enter a place where any imagination can run wild.
I took my girls, ages 4 and 2.5, along with my infant son, to explore the new library and they loved it. Not only can you walk under the bridge, you also can go over it. My girls climbed the big, carpeted steps and went over the bridge to find a little kid’s dream on the other side. Don’t worry parents, the top of the bridge is covered to keep everyone safe.
On the other side of the bridge, you’ll find a tower, windows and more big steps to challenge those gross motor skills. The bottom of the castle steps is a great place to sit and get lost in some books. My girls fell in love with a stuffed goat they found climbing the castle rocks and a fierce dragon puppet. They carried them over the bridge at least 10 times.
The children’s area opens up into a big space where there is room for organized story time and plenty of space to just play. It was a great spot for the baby to crawl around. The girls laid on some soft, curved mats to see what some of their favorite characters were up to.
A big wall of windows makes up one side, and you can take books outside to the terrace where there are kid-sized picnic tables and stools. In the middle of the children’s area is what makes up the heart of every library – books, books and more books! A big section of computers, including screens and keyboards for little ones, is situated among the bookshelves, giving kids even more opportunities to learn and discover.
You know the popular baby toy with different colored rings that stack up on a base? We found a similar toy, but it was as tall as my 4-year-old! My girls learned a little bit about teamwork as they unstacked and re-stacked the big soft flowers on the pole.
This section of the library has lots of comfortable seating for little kids, big kids and adults too. Plenty of spots to hunker down and read. The friendly staff members were available if we needed help. We saw a table with board games, and a quiet room where kids can work on projects.
And what I thought were short white tables, are actually cubes you can write and draw on. Each one has a cup of dry erase markers and a rag hooked to it. If there is any toy in our house that is played with every single day, it is an old MagnaDoodle I bought for one whole dollar at a garage sale. My kids could spend all day drawing and erasing. I need one of these things at home!
My 4-year-old was begging me to read a story the whole time, so before we left we did just that. Be sure to check out the new library, which cost a staggering, but worth-every-penny $64 million. I’m going back soon sans kids so I check out the rest it has to offer.
The new library is located at 215 E. Third St, Dayton OH 45402. See their website for more information on programs & activities! (website)