The Crayola Experience in Colorful Orlando
You have to give it to Crayola.
Piping that very familiar melted-wax scent into the lobby area is really quite clever. Guests to Crayola Experience in Orlando are immediately transported to art class, coloring books and built-in sharpeners.
The 70,000-square-foot Crayola Experience, only the second one in the world, really begins on the second floor, where visitors can learn about the history of the crayon through a beautiful timeline mural and a playful video and demonstration on how crayons were discovered and made into the colorful cylinder we know today. Guests will walk away knowing crayons were invented in 1902 and other fun facts.
Speaking of inventing, the very next station allows guests to do what they’ve always dreamed: trying to come up with a crayon name better than Burnt Sienna or Jazzberry Jam. As part of regular admission, guests pick a basic crayon color, name the color and then use a special machine to press on a custom label.
Everything here, as you might imagine, is interactive. That’s the motto behind the Crayola Experience: create, create, create. The first Crayola Experience in Easton, Pa., birthplace of Crayola, opened in 2013 with the hopes of allowing children to experience color in a whole new way.
Whether 3 or 63, guests immediately feel a strong pull to color within (or heck, outside) the lines and pick just the right shade of purple.
There are more than 25 attractions inside Crayola Experience to let one’s inner artist roam free. Guests can turn artwork into a puzzle, make objects out of clay, make drip art a la spin art and mold your own shapes out of melted crayon wax.
And just in case all this artistic activity makes a child feel sedentary, there’s a colorful playground to channel all that physical energy.
“I like to make stuff,” said Ja’breia Holmes, 7, of Orlando, who was visiting Crayola Experience for the first time. “I can play a lot, and I can draw art. My favorite part is making my pictures come to life.”
Rather than shy away from technology, Crayola Experience embraces all the ways electronics and art can merge. At Be a Star, a colored picture is scanned into a computer and animated. At Art Alive!, objects are colored on a computer screen and once completed, sent to a lighted screen for all guests to see. And Crayola Experience hasn’t forgotten the ever-popular photo booth, where the subjects’ outlines are printed out on a page to be colored in.
Many Central Florida families find having annual passes to Crayola Experience are worthwhile, particularly for the preschool set.
The Valdes family of Orlando has visited several times so that 7-year-old Mereya Valdes can channel her creative energy.
“She loves the colors, she just loves everything here,” said her sister, Jacquie Valdes. “We’ve come here a few times because my sister just really likes it.”
When you go…
The Crayola Experience
The Florida Mall, 8001 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando.
Photos by Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA