By Molly McIntire
Walking into The Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley, guests may think they’ve entered a children’s paradise instead of a children’s museum. Bright, colorful displays stretch from wall to wall while huge, interactive exhibits fill the open-concept building.
The Children’s Museum, which opened April 1998, aims to provide a child-centered, hands-on, interactive environment for learning and discovery.
What sets the Children’s Museum apart from other museums is that The Children’s Museum encourages learning through a hands-on approach, says Marketing Director Ashley Kortis.
“We offer a way for children to learn in unique, unexpected, and fun ways,” says Kortis. “Our kids come in and they think that they are playing. They think it’s a giant playground, but they are also learning something at the same time.”
Some of these learning features include: Our Little Free Library, where children or families can take home a book or two; the HEB grocery store, stocked with fruits and vegetables, which allows children to learn about budgeting and which foods are healthy for them; and the family pet center, which instructs families on the proper care and feeding of pets and focuses on a different animal each month.
“We’ve really seen that there was a need in this community that wasn’t being met,” says Kortis. “There’s a lack of a resources for early childhood education, specifically for ages 0 to 3. We see ourselves as being a resource for early childhood development. We have an opportunity to engage children and their parents.”
The Children’s Museum hasn’t always straddled the Bryan College Station dividing line, as they moved to their East 29th Street location in January 2015. Prior to the move, The Children’s Museum was located in Downtown Bryan for 16 years. Unlike other children’s museums in Texas, the Children’s Museum does not have a large, single benefactor such as a family or corporation who donates to the museum or finances exhibits.
“We’ve really seen an increase in the 77845 ZIP code. That has grown exponentially since moving here,” says Kortis. “We feel like maybe our location is now more accessible.”
Since the move from Bryan, the Children’s Museum has added five new exhibits. Kortis estimates that they add two new exhibits per year.
“We always say we are fun from birth to 99 years of age because parents come and grandparents come and have fun with their kids as well, but most of our exhibits are geared for 0 to 10 years old,” says Kortis.
The open-concept museum is ideal for parents who have children of different ages who are prone to running free or who might want to visit different exhibits, as parents can still keep an eye on them.
The Children’s Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and is closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for children, $5 for senior citizens, and children under one year of age get in free.
Clapping Hands Memberships and Standing Ovation Memberships are available for purchase. Clapping Hands Members enjoy unlimited admission all year, invitations to members-only events, and priority notification and registration for all the museum’s events. Standing Ovation Memberships receive all of the aforementioned perks, as well as discounts on: planned party events; summer, winter, and spring break camps; and participating network museums and area businesses. Standing Ovation Members also receive recognition on The Children’s Museum Website.
To learn more about the Children’s Museum, make a donation, or see upcoming events, visit www.cmbv.org.