BEST SMALL WORLD, AFTER ALL Phoenix 2004 - "ArtVille" at the Arizona Museum for Youth
Curious kids can go to town at the Arizona Museum for Youth, where ArtVille -- "Arizona's newest planned community" -- was founded this spring. Built on a "town philosophy of artistic exploration," the permanent exhibition is among the few spaces in the U.S. aiming to introduce babies and toddlers to fine art. "Art" serves as mayor of the 2,500-square-foot "hotspot for tots," where the median age is 2.5 years -- and where points of civic pride include a kiddy cafe, changing art displays, weekly activities and seasonal celebrations. Kids 5 and younger can take classes at the art studio, catch puppet shows at the performing arts center, explore the cushy Tot Town Square crawl space, and get back to nature at the tempera lake and fishing pier in Art's Park.
Grown-ups, however, have to watch their steps: Adults are required, by law, to be accompanied by a child while inside the town limits.