Growing up, I loved Beatrix Potter characters, especially the beloved Peter Rabbit. When I heard a “family friendly” exhibit about her life was coming to the Frist, I knew we had to go. But would it really be entertaining for a toddler? As a kindergarten teacher and mom, I have to tell you YES! My almost 3-year-old LOVED it.
This charming exhibit was organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and is the world’s largest collection of Potter’s artwork. It features a nature-inspired theme with mice, rabbits, and other critters for kids to spot in each gallery space. Just “seek out the asterisk and keep your eyes peeled” for activities made just for Littles the sign says upon arriving.
Potter’s Inspiration All Around
I learned so much about Potter from her personal letters, photographs, diaries and artwork. These items showed Potter’s love of animals and early sketches of Peter Rabbit that were inspired by her childhood pet rabbit. My daughter loved seeing all the animals, like Potter’s dog Spot. Seeing the inspiration for her books and learning about her love of science (especially mycology) has given me a new appreciation for her work.
Within the exhibit space, there was flower pot seating in “Mr. McGregor’s garden” for kids (or adults). In addition, there were giant spools of thread to sit on. My toddler saw something of interest at every turn and was as bright eyed and bushy tailed as Peter Rabbit himself.
Potter Activities for All
Just past the exhibit is the Martin ArtQuest Gallery with Potter-inspired activities for Littles and Bigs to enjoy. There were microscopes with different organism under glass. There was a puppet show area, a 3D animation station and animal and nature stamp area to make your own postcard. Sketching stations are set up with colored pencils and paints. Plus, there’s a giant two-way “guess the sketch” dry-erase board to draw on. Kids of all ages will find something of interest in this area. I saw several tweens and teens sketching, painting, and making postcards along with the toddlers.
If the Beatrix Potter exhibit at the Frist was meant to inspire future scientists, cultivate a love of nature and the arts, and highlight the amazing life of the author all while making art accessible and hands on to all ages — they nailed it!
The Frist is hosting this exhibit until September 17. There was ample parking behind the Frist in the museum parking area and they do validate parking at the ticket booth. Children 18 and under are FREE!