The Children’s Museum of Richmond is reopening its Downtown and Chesterfield branches today with a spectrum of interactive activities and experiments that families can explore. Museum highlights include long-standing favorites, such as the Town Square and Art Studio at both sites, as well as several exciting new features.
The Downtown branch on West Broad Street has added an I-Spy activity to its “front yard,” where children are challenged to find objects that have been tucked away around the nature walk path. There are three distinct searches that vary in difficulty: the simplest focuses on color and shape and counting from 1–5; the Animal I-Spy has a rhyme/riddle approach and is more challenging. The final zone (and hardest) is “Office Supply Gone Awry,” which has school/office supplies in quantities from 1–10 and requires the searcher to move through the exhibit to find all the objects.
Opportunities to play and discover outside are also offered in the museum’s “back yard,” which features a new kids-sized playhouse and several playable musical instruments such as chimes.
Also new at CMoR Downtown is the “Bright” exhibit, where children can manipulate knobs on a wall display to experiment with changes in colors and patterns, partner with other family members to place pegs in their creations at the oversized Light Bright, or explore with counting and construction at the Light Table.
Little visitors can also engage in fun-filled exercise at the Eye Play game. Various floor projections provide more than 20 themed learning experiences, from environmental awareness to soccer, and kids can “pop bubbles,” dance and stomp.
CMoR Chesterfield is introducing a new 18-foot climber, created of tires that will give children a chance to exercise and release some of that energy stored up from weeks spent at home.
At both museum locations, children can also stretch and bend as they deposit apples and berries that will be displayed for “picking” in the branches of a tree or bush.
The Town Square offers multiple walk-in scenarios, such as a grocery store where children can select items from the shelves for their kids-sized shopping carts and a bank where they can take on the role of a customer or teller. The scenarios downtown also include a Kids’ TV studio, where visitors can become newscasters as their images are livestreamed on TVs, and a school house—no virtual learning here!
In addition, children will have a chance to explore an ambulance and examine X-rays at the hospital exhibit Downtown and sit in the driver’s seat of real city bus and fire truck at Chesterfield. And a ride on Downtown’s carousel will not only bring joy to little ones who sit astride their choice of the enchanting animal figures but may also elicit memories of tales of yesteryear from the adults who accompany them.
The art studios at both sites now offer individual packets of materials and mediums for kids to create take-home artwork either in free play or by following a sample that is displayed. In addition, a series of art and craft classes are offered at the Downtown branch, with schedules posted on the museum’s website. Class activities have included working with drum sticks, creating with clay to make their own “pinch pot” or a self-portrait, and experimenting with watercolors and a sumi brush with the inspiration of Japanese silk paintings. Classes are $18 for an adult–child pair and $8 for additional children.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond will also continue to provide its online demonstrations and activities.
“Learning through play is critical for children, especially in their formative years,” said Executive Director Danielle Ripperton. “It’s a great way for children to be introduced to new concepts or practice those that they are already working on. And this is a wonderful first step in their museum experience for the rest of their lives.”
Until further notice, both museum locations will be open Thursdays through Sundays, and families must purchase tickets for timed slots online. Floors will be marked for social distancing and traffic-flow directions, and all visitors ages 5 and older are required to wear a mask.
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