Why do sounds, shadows, and objects seem different at night? Step into the dark and explore in this indoor backyard!

Pretend play helps children process the world in their own way, develop their large and small muscles, and practice important thinking skills. In Bessie's House you will find printed copies of our Exploration Learning Guide for parents and caregivers, a resource of prompts and suggestions to support play and explorations that build literacy skills, foster creative thinking, practice simple math skills, promote social-emotional skills, and make observations about how the world works. You can also review and print the Guide here online prior to your visit, and/or after your visit for ideas for post-visit activities and conversations that reinforce learning: Exploration Learning Guide | Bessie's House.

In this Exhibit

an indoor tent is lit up from the inside
Shadow Tent

Explore shadow play by lanternlight and perform a shadow puppet show. When you get tired, snuggle inside the tent for a campout. 

a mom and son pretend to cook food over a pretend campfire
Pretend Campfire

Sit on log stools around the campfire and share your favorite songs. Or, pretend to be an animal--how do you think different animals would act around a campfire? 

two boys sit inside a pretend tree with a slide
Treehouse and Slide

Become a little squirrel and scurry up the inside of our climbing tree. Greet friendly, nighttime, stuffed creatures, and come back down through the tree slide. Don't forget to explore among the roots under the tree - you never know what treasures you may find!