Children's Museum Opens in Rockingham
Discovery Place, the popular science museum in Charlotte, is expanding into the region with Discovery Place KIDS - Rockingham.
The grand opening is Saturday, Feb. 23, with a ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. and half-price admission all day.
This museum for children up to age 10 focuses on educating through play with the theme "I can."
"Anytime you want to help a child, they say, 'I can do it,'" says Katie Rohleder, the museum's director. "We have five different areas to encourage the 'I can' attitude."
In the "I can be anything" area, children role play careers such as chef, veterinarian, farmer and mechanic. Children can pretend to work on a real race car and put on stage performances.
Another museum section focuses on healthy living in an unstructured play area to get children moving. In the third section, "I can imagine," children make their own videos, build structures and play at a water table.
The science area is primarily for children aged 8 to 10. It is designed to get children to ask why. In this, the "I can wonder why" section, children launch airplanes, hoist themselves up in pulley chairs, work on simple machines like a Bernoulli blower, and experiment in a science lab.
"The lab is pretty amazing," says Rohleder.
The final section is for babies and children up to 36 months, where the museum's youngest visitors explore in a contained area.
It features toys to develop children's senses and includes a special project table with infant seats and special activities to encourage tummy time.
As a community-based organization, the museum features connections throughout the facility to the culture and heritage of the Sandhills, including an emphasis on farming and agriculture. >
The museum is open for birthday parties and school field trips, and this summer, the museum is offering a number of camps for children starting at age 2.
Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham is the second children's museum Discovery Place has opened.
Since launching the first in Huntersville three years ago, the parent museum has been actively seeking a rural location. Two organizations, the Cole Foundation and Richmond Community Foundation, approached Discovery Place about locating in Rockingham after seeing the successful museum in Huntersville.
"Discovery Place saw there was a need and opportunity in Rockingham," says Rohleder,
With the two foundation's contributions, $6.6 million combined, the city of Rockingham's gift of a downtown building and community support, Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham becomes a reality this week.
"We have had such a response from the community. The community has come together not just in terms of financial support but moral, too," says Rohleder, adding that the museum is actively recruiting volunteers.
Discovery Place KIDS -Rockingham will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on opening day. Half-price admission is $4 for adults and children 1 and older. Infants younger than 1 are admitted free of charge.
For more information, call (910) 997-5266 or visit www.rockingham.discoveryplacekids.org.
Melanie Coughlin is a local freelance writer. Contact her at email@example.com.
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