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First Look: Grand Reopening of Children’s Museum of Denver

If you can think of a happy adjective, you can use it to describe the Children’s Museum Denver Marsico Campus: It’s engaging, beautiful, whimsical, clever, delightful, yummy, charming, eye-candy, eye-popping, challenging, silly, lovely, splashy, splooshy, amazing, and accessible.

That might seem over the top. Nothing could possibly be that much fun, but somehow they did it. It’s almost as if the team of big kids at the museum asked actual kids what they like to do and waved a wand. They kept the familiar classic and beloved features and exhibits, of course. The exhibits they added not only enhance what is there but take the museum to a new level of awesome. It’s a truly top notch must-see destination for all ages to enjoy.

Eighteen exhibits are divided into four types of play. They are Explore, Imagine, Investigate, and Create. No matter what your kid—or you—are interesting in doing, there is a perfect place to settle in for playtime.

Have an artsy kid? The improved Art Studio is larger, craftier, and features a couple of life-sized paintable bison. Kids are encouraged to get messy and add their touches to the space. Feel like painting a window? Go for it!

Is your kid a climber? Strap on a helmet and turn her loose in the three-story enclosed Altitude climbing structure. From the outside, it looks like chicken wire and plywood tacked together by a four-year-old, but on the inside it’s a solid maze-like challenge that beckons kids to the top and give them a rush of accomplishment. Grown-ups can try their hand at it, too.

What if your kid is a budding space explorer? There’s a rocket for that in the Kinetics! exhibit. Little engineers can experiment with air pressure to launch paper cone rockets up to the stratosphere. Actually, it’s a peaked ceiling with dangling planet targets. My little boys adored the vacuum hoses, which makes me hopeful for the future.

Are you raising a future Julia Child? Make sure to stop by the Teaching Kitchen. Real chefs teach kids how to make delectable foods, try different flavors and textures, and learn to appreciate the art and science of cooking. It’s a beautiful, relaxing space, too. Why can’t my kitchen be that cool?

Maybe your kid never met a puddle or stream they didn’t like. The Water room has enough burbling, swirling, and splashy fun to enable your kid to nearly convince you they’ve had their bath for the day. Don’t worry, it’s not too sopping. Roll up those sleeves and watch as they learn about how water flows and floats. Marvel together at the giant clear tanks that mimic how the potty at home works. Pull the rope and watch the deluge. The nice thing about this toilet is that nobody can flush a small stuffed animal creating work for a plumber on a Sunday night.

A dozen other fun things to do are ready to roll on November 20, 2015 when it has its official Grand Reopening. It has become a destination landmark in Denver, the kind of place people vacationing from other states and countries must see with their kids when in town. It is that good.

Families can easily spend an entire day at the Children’s Museum Denver Marsico Campus. To plan your next visit, check out their website for pricing, hours, and amenities.

Make sure to check out the photo gallery to get a preview of the wonder in store.

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Colorado’s Sweetest Teeth Shine at The Children’s Museum’s Newest Exhibit

Colorado’s newest dental office caters to an unusual clientele. On any given day, you’ll find toddlers and young preschoolers in lab coats busily cleaning the teeth of a small gorilla with a million dollar smile. The front office, also staffed by the pull-up crowd, happily tap away at a keyboard and answer the phone as well.

villageofhealthysmiles_1This innovative dental experience is located in The Children’s Museum of Denver’s Center for the Young Child. For years, parents have taken their littlest ones to the colorful, bright, safe, and clean play area. Now there is a new exhibit to teach and entertain junior dentists with warm, whimsical touches. It’s called The Village of Healthy Smiles. I took my four and two-year-old boys to play there and they had a great time role playing, building, and exploring. The area is small and homey, with thoughtful touches like cozy pillows, a book nook, and of course the bustling dental office.

The idea is great. Good dental habits in tiny-teethed people are important. Young kids can be unsure or even frightened of the dentist. Or, they may not fully grasp the importance of not only brushing, but of the role healthy foods play in keeping their choppers strong for the tooth fairy and beyond. This is why Delta Dental of Colorado helped create the space, along with early childhood dental experts and artists.

I was very impressed by the attention to detail. The space is intimate and spunkily cute. There are steampunk-like robots beyond a bathroom mirror. Your child can brush the robot’s teeth while standing at the most adorable miniature pedestal sink. Books encourage cozy reading time. Molar-shaped wooden blocks are available for kids who are into building towers. My two-year-old enjoyed wearing tooth fairy wings as he played in the space.

But by far, the busiest slice of the Village of Healthy Smiles was the dental office. Little ones lined up to clean the teeth of the grinning gorilla. It was adorable and gives parents a great way to demonstrate brushing technique on a furry, but willing, patient.

When you visit the Children’s Museum with your small kids, don’t miss the Village of Healthy Smiles. It will spark a great discussion away from the home bathroom about keeping teeth at their healthy best. Play is an excellent teacher. It’s a great springboard for introducing your little one to the idea of going to the dentist for the first time. If that’s on the horizon for you, I encourage you to visit.

villageofhealthysmiles_3When you go:

~ The Village of Healthy Smiles is located in The Center for the Young Child, which caters to kids ages birth to three. It’s designed with them specifically in mind.

~ Remember, no shoes allowed in this portion of the museum, so plan for that.

~ No strollers are allowed inside, but this keeps the space open, clean, and encourages exploration. There are lockers and a stroller parking area close by.

~ For information about hours, directions and admissions, visit The Children’s Museum of Denver’s site.

~ Don’t forget to check out the rest of the museum! Most of the exhibits are open and bustling during expansion construction.

Children’s Museum of Denver Breaks Ground on Multi-million Dollar Expansion

The Children’s Museum of Denver broke ground yesterday on a major Museum expansion, announcing the plans, timeline and a naming gift for the $15.8 million campaign. Museum president and CEO, Mike Yankovich, cited the “critical role” the Museum plays in early childhood education, and its 74% attendance growth since 2003 as the need for this much-anticipated expansion.

On a 9-acre campus, the Museum will more than double the current indoor and outdoor program and exhibit square footage, and add considerable guest amenities and parking. The project is slated to be completed fall/winter 2015. To date, $13.3 million of the $15.8 million campaign goal has been raised.

Eight new interactive exhibits, designed by the Museum’s team of education experts, exhibit designers and community partners, are based on the Museum’s core early learning focus areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Health and Wellness, 21st Century Skills, Literacy and the Arts. They include: a unique community tree welcome experience; a teaching kitchen; an art exhibit with clay and artist-in-residence studios; a whimsical dental health exhibit; a hands-in water laboratory; a kid-powered energy exhibit; a 3 ½ story climbing structure; and a year-round Colorado-themed outdoor experience. 

New Museum Experiences:

Welcome Experience

Welcome Experience

·         WELCOME – A community tree photo interactive will set the stage for a whimsical children’s museum experience with pictures of the diverse Museum audience populating a steel and wood art installation. 

·         FOOD – A fully working teaching kitchen with container gardens and aquaponics system will teach where food comes from, inviting children and their caregivers to prepare healthy foods together.

·         HEALTH – Designed to captivate imaginations, the Village of Healthy Smiles will teach children and grown-ups alike the importance of dental health with spaces like “The Brush Together Cottage,” “The Toothfairy’s Workshop,” and “Sugar Bugs Plaza.”

·         WATER – A 2,200 square-foot hands-in water laboratory that highlights an urban water system will give young scientists opportunities to explore the properties of water, investigate flow and test complex ideas about buoyancy, density and displacement.

·         ENERGY – Children will find, collect and use resources like wind, solar, fossil fuel and others in this powerful 2,100 square-foot energy exhibit.

·         ALTITUDE – A vertical 3 ½ story climbing structure will evoke the adventure of Colorado as guests encounter a swaying gondola, rope bridges, hovering clouds and an ice-capped summit with city views to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west.

·         OUTDOOR – A giant, invigorating outdoor experience will immerse children in unstructured, imaginative, independent play with features including canyons, rivers, fort building and a zip line.

·         ART –In a 2,300 square-foot art exhibit and gallery, guests will experience visual art with raw materials, a clay studio, collaborative painting projects, art-rich programming and a year-round Colorado artist-in-residence program.

 Painting Glass Wall and Collaborative Painting Project

Painting Glass Wall and Collaborative Painting Project

Based on a longstanding commitment to initiatives and projects that improve the quality and availability of early childhood education in Colorado, the Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation is making a significant investment in the expansion of the Children’s Museum of Denver. The name of the new Museum, upon opening in late 2015, will be “Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.”

“We believe that the educational opportunities provided in a child’s early years are fundamental to a healthy, successful and sustainable future,” commented Cydney Marsico, president of the foundation.  “It is our privilege to be included among such a distinguished group of corporations, foundations and philanthropists to support this innovative and ambitious new era for play-based learning in Colorado. The Museum’s dedicated Board and professional staff have worked tirelessly to envision a world-class facility for all of Colorado’s children, and we are thrilled to be involved.”

-Children’s Museum of Denver

Win Four Tickets to Sesame Street Live!

**CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER LOUISE BEVINS!**

Imagine singing and dancing with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all your favorite Sesame Street Live friends! It’s as easy as counting “1-2-3 … Imagine!” This high-energy musical will transport audiences to far away places as Ernie captains the high seas, Elmo dances to the rhythm of the African rainforest and Bert meets an octopus who has the blues. It’s a story of adventure and fun that teaches children they can be anyone, do anything and go anywhere with the power of imagination.

Mile High Mamas and the Children’s Museum of Denver are thrilled to offer a family four-pack of tickets to see Sesame Street Live: 1-2-3… Imagine! with Elmo & Friends at the 1st Bank Center. The vouchers may be redeemed for any of the shows April 8-11, pending availability. Please go here to enter. Contest deadline is April 4, 2010.

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests, Daily Deals and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter!

Children’s Museum All About Animals Month – Win 4 Tickets!

The Children’s Museum struts, waddles, flaps, and soars into the month of March with new theme—All About Animals.

It’s nearly impossible to find a toddler or preschooler who doesn’t appreciate furry and feathery friends. I took my two youngest children to explore some of the animal-themed activities knowing none of us would leave disappointed. One of the first activities we joined was ARTS a la Carte’s Birds of a Feather. My 3-year-old, Beatrix, would get to hear a story and then make her very own bird with all sorts of cool, colorful art supplies.

We were warmly welcomed into the art room. Beatrix was given a large piece of paper and a pencil. The room quickly filled with kids and parents, eager to get crafty. Dana, the activity leader, read Sylvie, by Jennifer Sattler. It’s a book about a flamingo who tries being different colors but decides pink is pretty in the end.

The story served as creative inspiration for the kids, who were turned loose to make their own simple flamingos. It was easy for Beatrix’s little hands to glue and paste the paper parts together. She had a blast decorating her flamingo with crayon, feathers, and puffy balls.

Admit it. You want to make one too. Who can resist puffy balls and feathers?

I was a little worried the program would be too long to hold her attention, but it was perfectly timed and well-paced. If flamingos aren’t your child’s favorite bird, Birds of a Feather will be featuring other beaked friends to learn about, including peacocks and hummingbirds. When you attend, you should be aware you will have a new treasure to conspicuously hang in your home. Perhaps over your sofa? Your child will be seriously impressed with herself.

She may even want to sleep with her picture next to her in bed.

All About Animals will be the theme for the whole month of March. Fur, feathers and scales will be in style as we feature the world’s animal kingdom. Learn what we have in common with these amazing creatures and what makes us different.

Here is the schedule:

Children’s Museum Fairytales & Fables Month – Win 4 Tickets!

February’s theme at The Children’s Museum of Denver is Fairytales & Fables!

This month’s theme is perfect for my 4-year old daughter! She loves all things fairytale-y and fable-y, so we were thrilled to be invited to The Children’s Museum to check out some of their daily programs for February!

The one we chose to attend is called Clubhouse Capers – Pig Out! It runs on Mondays and Fridays at 2:30 p.m., and is the perfect length for preschoolers and adults alike at under 30 minutes. (Plus, there’s a snack! You can’t beat that.)

This was an awesome storytime that focused around a fable you may already know, “The Three Little Pigs.” But, did you know that the Big Bad Wolf was framed!? Neither did I, and it was a riot hearing his side of the story.

When we were done with the story, the kids had a chance to make their very own edible houses. They could choose to decorate a house cookie with straw (coconut), sticks (pretzel sticks), or bricks (licorice blocks). Claire chose the bricks.

The bricks may have been a formidable match for the Big Bad Wolf, but they’re no match for preschoolers, as there wasn’t an empty plate at the Brick Table when everyone was done decorating and could taste their handiwork.

I looked; none of the other houses fared well either.

Fairytales & Fables will be the theme for the whole month of February, so you should go check it out!

Here is the schedule:

Facilitated ARTS a la Carte – Cauldron Collages
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog…for this spell we’ve got a good start…who says witch’s brew can’t be art? Join us as we mix up magic ingredients into colorful works of art, inspired by a few famous fairy tale enchantresses! This program promotes art, fine motor skills, speech and literacy.

Clubhouse Capers – Pig Out! (This is the one we attended!)
Mondays and Fridays at 2:30 p.m.

Huff and puff and join us for a delicious afternoon storytime! We will make our very own edible houses of straw, sticks or bricks! This program promotes literacy, nutrition and logic.

Super Science Sunday – Engineering Toothpaste
Sundays at 3 p.m.

Chemical Engineers are the scientists that often develop the products we use every day, like shampoo, sunscreen, soap and toothpaste. You and your child can try your hand at chemistry by mixing up and engineering your very own toothpaste! This program develops science, math and fine motor skills.

Bubble Brigade – Bubble Bursts
Sundays at 11 a.m.

Why do bubbles pop? Why don’t they last forever? Join us to learn a little bit about pressure with an explosive science experiment! This program promotes science and logic.

Mile High Mamas is giving away four tickets for the Children’s Museum at Denver to check out Fairytale & Fable month and their many other exhibits!! Please go here to enter. **THE CONTEST HAS CLOSED.** Stay tuned for next month’s program: All About Animals!

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