Museum of Nature & Science Debuts Revamped Children's Galleries in Fair Park on March 3

Hillcrest and Hudson Foundations are Among Donors to Offer North Texas Kids Fun, Hands-On Exploration of Science and the World

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Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) March 3, 2008

Young kids have a special place created just for them at the Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park. As part of a nearly $1 million investment in the past year, the Children's Museum at MNS offers new exhibits aimed at children up to 7 years old.

MNS will offer a free sampling of the new galleries plus special activities for families and the media today from 10 a.m. to noon. This unique space for young museum visitors was made possible by funds provided by the M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation, Hillcrest Foundation, Barbara and Stan Rabin, Harold Simmons Foundation, PB Americas, Green Mountain Energy Company and the Hawn Foundation, Inc.

"The new Children's Museum galleries offer our youngest visitors a stimulating learning experience," said MNS CEO Nicole Small. "We have created an atmosphere where families may learn and explore together - safe, spontaneous, individualized, non-linear and exploratory spaces to help children understand themselves and trust in their own choices as they are free to touch, explore and dream."

The Children's Museum at MNS includes five main exhibits: Little Urban Farm, Water Room, Explore Your Town, Explore My House and Explore Your Backyard:

  • In Little Urban Farm, children can take on the role of a farmer and explore the nature and science of farming. They can also learn early math skills as they plant, harvest and sort crops.
  • In the Water Room, children will be introduced to the properties of water and can experiment with movement, measurement and volume using a variety of tools.
  • Explore Your Town introduces children to our community and the people who live here. In each play set, they can explore "helpers" in their community as they experience the work of grown-ups.
  • In the Your Town Fire Department, children can imagine themselves an emergency medical technician, or take on the role of a firefighter while dressing up in child-sized bunker gear. Their gross motor skills are enhanced while climbing on the pretend fire truck.
  • In the Your Town Building Supply and the Utility Company, children can be an engineer or put on a hard hat, grab a tool belt, and explore balance while building a structure with a variety of building materials. These experiences enable young children to acquire the fine motor control they need to accomplish tasks important to their growth and development. An understanding of math emerges by manipulating real materials through patterning, sequencing, size and measurement.
  • In the Your Town Performing Arts Theatre and Dressing Room, children can be creative, spontaneous and use imagination to create characters, actions or events while practicing listening and oral language skills on stage. Trying on a variety of costumes enables them to act out familiar situations, solve problems and experiment with different solutions. The adjoining concave and convex fun mirrors will give children the opportunity to observe how the distorted reflected images change their appearance.
  • In the Your Town Music Conservatory, children can practice auditory and visual comprehension and math skills, and experiment with creating and performing music using a variety of musical instruments including those from other cultures.
  • In the Your Town Fine Art Museum, children can explore the works of a featured artist, past or present. This opportunity offers knowledge about different art and artists through a variety of interchangeable materials. While manipulating these materials, children will discover important elements in art, such as texture, line, balance, value, color, space and form. These experiences also enforce spatial concepts along with early math and reading skills. Original art work created by children modeling the work of various artists will be featured on display.
  • The Your Town Science Museum features an exploration of physical science while trying different hands-on materials. They can explore minerals and other materials using their senses while at the science discovery table.
  • In Explore My House, children can learn more about the different home environments in which people of various cultures or heritages live. Children can explore the house and prepare meals in the kitchen with pretend food and appliances, all the while learning about cultural holidays that are celebrated by people that live in our North Texas community.
  • Explore Your Backyard invites children to investigate the environment and creatures that may live in their own backyards. The Animal Display Wall allows children to observe live snakes, spiders, turtles, insects, lizards and more. In the four imaginary play experiences, they can crawl through a large ant hill, balance on a beam like a squirrel running along a fence, cling to a wall to try life as a gecko or weave their way through a spider web.
  • The Backyard Patio provides a soft-play area reserved for the youngest patrons up to age 2. Toddlers and babies can to engage in gross- and fine-motor skills while exploring their world through active sensory materials.

The Children's Museum experience can be enhanced by participating in staff-guided programming:

  • From 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons visit Leonardo's Workshop, a program where children can explore the Children's Museum galleries to inspire creativity and science readiness.
  • On Wednesdays during the school year, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., drop in for Hand-in-Hand. With monthly themes relevant to the season, Hand-in-Hand is a program where preschoolers can hear a story, sing a song, create a craft and enjoy other fun activities.

These programs are free to MNS members and included in the general admission cost for non-members.

A special feature in the Your Backyard gallery is the Green Mountain Energy Solar® at MNS exhibit. The display has an interactive kiosk connected to an outdoor, four-panel solar array visible through the windows. The array harvests sunlight, feeding electrical current to a set of batteries to the kiosk inside, which directs power to a variety of outputs: A Jacob's ladder; gas tubes (like neon and argon that glow red or green); or a crackle disc that displays high-frequency, low-amp lightning effects. The solar array enables MNS to begin teaching about energy and conservation to its youngest visitors and their parents and adult caregivers.

The Children's Museum at MNS is located on the lower level of the Science Building at 1318 S. Second Ave. Dallas, TX 75210. All MNS buildings are open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free for MNS members. Public tickets are $8.75 for adults, $5.50 for children 3 to 11, and $7.75 for youth 12 to 18, seniors over 62 and students over 18 (with ID), and include entrance to all the museum's Fair Park facilities, including the Children's Museum. Visit http://www.natureandscience.org for more information and to purchase tickets online. High resolution pictures and materials can be found at: https://promotesuccesspr.sharedwork.com/sr/90TQnFmZYRUR6JndsVVNvoGM3plNqZjM9AnJuVmckxWaoNWP1ZiMzQzMx0Ta

About the Museum of Nature & Science

The Museum of Nature & Science, formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children's Museum, is a non-profit educational organization located in Dallas' Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, MNS delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition and research and collections programming for students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The MNS campus includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The museum is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and EDS. To learn more visit http://www.natureandscience.org.

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