No high resolution image exists...
After seven years of planning and development, the Sacramento Children’s Museum opened its doors Thursday morning after 24 little hands, holding red scissors, cut the green ribbon in front of more than 300 people waiting to explore the new museum.
The Sacramento Children’s Museum is a nonprofit corporation founded in 2004, that focuses the interactive exhibits on math, science, art and social learning skills for children ages 8 and under.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2701 Prospect Park in Rancho Cordova, children could get their faces painted with bright swirls of pinks, blues and greens, or watch a colorful balloon be shaped into a sword or a giraffe while they waited for the ribbon-cutting. Some wore red firefighter hats they received from one of the four firefighters present from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
A lime-green and red balloon arc enhanced the entrance to the museum, which was quickly filled with energetic children exploring the six interactive exhibits.
“We needed something that gave parents a safe environment for them to bring their young children and allow them to play and to learn,” said Alan Godlove, president of the Sacramento Children’s Museum.
The Sacramento Children’s Museum has six exhibits with a seventh, Solar Car Racers, sponsored by SMUD, to come in September.
They include Waterways, Airways and Raceways, World Market, My Neighborhood, Baby Bloomers and Studio of the Arts.
“Children are encouraged to go and play with everything in the museum,” Director of Operations Sarah Coffman said.
“We have experience specialists, who guarantee that the experience of our visitors is amazing, and children are encouraged to try things multiple times, so they can try it a different way and learn, really, by doing,” Coffman said.
Children can use one, two or 15 golf balls on the multiple ramps in the Raceways exhibit to test and observe objects in motion through physics principles such as velocity, speed and friction.
Airways was a popular exhibit with a line of children waiting to stuff their colorful yarn balls into the suctioned clear maze of tubes.
Claire Poch, 10, said she liked the museum because it helps children learn new things.
“Well there is a really cool thing (Airways exhibit) where you put (yarn balls) in it and it goes around with the air (through clear tubes), and it’s really cool watching it, and it shoots out (from the tube),” Claire said.
Two-year-old Benito Dimas visited the museum with his dad.
“I played golf!” he yelled about rolling golf balls down the ramps in the Raceways exhibit, and he said he liked playing with the water in the Waterways exhibit.
Timothy Sanders, 5, said he enjoyed playing with glow sticks and watching them light up, and he hopes to visit the museum again.
(Image by: Ilian Cervantes-Branum)
The My Neighborhood exhibit features a farmer’s market with lifelike fruit in baskets that teach children about healthy eating, and a sensory activity including spices in different jars that children can smell.
A glass wall, dividing the Studio of the Arts craft section from the rest of the exhibits, is used for painting and drawing on the glass. The area behind it has multiple tables and chairs with colorful drawers under a large tinted window that house supplies for arts and crafts.
Baby Bloomers is like a large play pen for babies and toddlers filled with different toys specifically made for development stages of children 3 and under, Coffman said.
The idea for the museum grew from a local mom of two, Kathleen Palley, founder of the Sacramento Children’s Museum, whose first experience in a children’s museum was in Denver seven years ago on a family trip.
“I just knew it was something that I wanted to be able to bring my children to again. Sacramento didn’t have anything at all like a children’s museum, so I figured if we didn’t have one, then I would develop one,” Palley said.
As a former elementary school teacher for seven years, Palley said she observed in the classroom that children have different learning styles. She said she helped incorporate that into the children’s museum exhibits, allowing them to explore using the auditory, visual and kinetic learning styles.
“The idea of the freedom to explore and touch everything,” Palley said, was what interested her the most about a children’s museum.
Coffman, who said she has experience from working at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose, said that teachers are encouraged to arrange field trips to the museum, and said that she expects mornings to be filed with different field trips.
“The Children’s Museum exhibits are in line with the state standards,” Palley said about the educational benefits and the opportunities for teachers.
The front desk offers additional learning materials that parents or instructors can use before and after their visit.
(Image by: Ilian Cervantes-Branum)
Palley explained that there is a focus nationwide on the importance of early childhood development, but said that, “as a community we don’t provide as many resources as we could for these little kids.”
Godlove said that the Sacramento Children’s Museum is accepting donations.
“We are still accepting donations and would love to fill out our final 500 founding families. We have about 400, so there is still 100 slots,” Godlove said.
The first 500 individuals or families to donate will be recognized with their names permanently placed in the Sacramento Children’s Museum, according to the website for the museum.
“The mission of the Children’s Museum is to spark a passion for lifelong learning,” Palley said. “So we are hoping by providing these opportunities to these young children, that it will show them that learning can be fun, and as they grow and continue to go through school, that they will hopefully find something they are passionate about.”
For more information, donation opportunities, operation hours and admission prices, click here.