Work your brain in the Mindbender Mansion at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Work your brain in the Mindbender Mansion at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

OK, I’ll admit it. We haven’t been exercising our brains much lately.

I always start summer off strong. We head to the library on the very first day. We sign up for all the reading programs we can find. I save any unfinished workbooks from school, under the deluded notion that the kids will finish them over the summer. I make pronouncements like “No video games until you’ve spent at least an hour on your workbooks!”

But by August, it all falls apart. No one wants to do any of that, and I frankly don’t want to argue anymore. We’re all wiped out.

Mindbender Mansion

So I was excited to take the kids to the Mindbender Mansion exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It’s a large room full of brainteasers for kids (and adults!) of all abilities. A place where kids exercise their brains and have a great time doing it.

You can pick up a guide for each level – with easy, intermediate, or challenging puzzles for you to solve. The puzzles themselves are very physical. Kids are moving blocks into patterns, or freeing interlocking pieces, or stacking things to make impossible-seeming shapes. They’re pulling on ropes or jumping on letters to spell words.

The challenges weren’t limited to kids, either. I saw plenty of adults (okay…including me!) trying the different brainteasers. Sometimes we left defeated. More than once, the kids showed us how it was done. And in one memorable moment, I jumped up and down and yelled when I finally figured out a particularly infuriating puzzle involving making the shape of a horse.

puzzles at Mindbender Mansion

Kids who solved puzzles in each of the different rooms of the mansion – the parlor, the library, etc – unlocked secret passwords. When they followed the clues to the end, they got a stamp and an obligatory victory picture in front of the mansion fireplace, naturally.

April fireplace Mindbender Mansion

If you are going to visit, it helps to get there early. We did have trouble finding parking, though I think this won’t be as much of a problem after school starts. I’d count on about two hours or so in the Mindbender exhibit. Anyone who buys a general museum ticket can visit the exhibit, and of course save some time to explore the rest of the museum while you’re there (we can’t ever visit the museum without taking a peek at the dinosaurs and the space exhibit!) The exhibit will be open during regular museum hours from now until Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.

Mindbender Mansion

Mindbender Mansion Exhibit
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Open 9a-5p daily, except December 25
Location: 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, 80205
Phone: 303-370-6000
Find ticket information here

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