2. Vancouver, WA
Vancouver Community Library
The children's area at the Vancouver Community Library in Vancouver, WA, is a sensory treat that draws as many as 12,000 visitors each week. Librarians have reported seeing children hop, run and pull their parents into this magical place.
Opened in July 2011, this approximately $35 million, five-story library features a 12,000-square-foot children's floor, and even getting there is fun. Visitors travel through a 200-foot long, four-story atrium with unique architectural details. Bright colored lights are scattered throughout the flooring of the entire children's area.
One of the many highlights here is the Early Learning Center, which is the largest library-based ELC in the country. Designed for kids ages 5 and younger, this brightly colored playground gets kids exploring, interested in learning and asking questions about how things work.
Children from ages 6 to 11 will find a space with comfortable seating, tables for playing games and Legos, and reading nooks. The Children's Program Room is where library staff host six weekly story times for different age groups, plus craft projects and parlor games. The library offers several summer reading events, some of which have drawn about 1,200 children.
Wow Factor: More than 280,000 people have visited the library since it opened in 2011.