Ever since mommy first became pregnant, people have been passing along rumors of a children's museum in Washington, D.C. that "will be opening soon." That was more than four years ago. But, in case you haven't heard the news yet, the National Children's Museum REALLY will be opening soon. Mom lucked her way into attending the "groundbreaking" of the NCM last week at National Harbor. As some of you may know, although this was news to mom as it predated her "kid days," the Capital Children's Museum was actually founded in 1974 and served the area until 2004. Just prior to its closing, Congress designated the CCM as the National Children's Museum and a search was on for a new location.
Since CCM's closing, the NCM has operated as a "museum without walls," by serving the region through outreach programs, traveling exhibits and partnerships with other organizations. And since 2009, NCM has operated its Launch Zone at the National Harbor. But the NCM has also been busy on building out a permanent spot at the Harbor too, which will include both indoor and outdoor spaces. And guess what? The indoor experience is now scheduled to open Winter of 2012! The NCM indoor space will have two major exhibit areas:
(1) 3 & Under: designed for infants and toddlers under 3 feet tall, this exhibit area will feature Sesame Street characters and themes, including: a baby crawlers area; tactile experiences; a climbing structure; a global lunch truck (!); a sensory water bed; motor skills play areas; and arts, crafts, and storytelling areas.
(2) Our World: geared towards children over the age of 3, this exhibit will feature three main areas: Map Zone, My Town and World Cultures, all of which will serve to give children a global perspective. Highlights include an airport conveyor; freight dock/shipping yard; a school; campaign office (obvi); home; fire station; a pizzeria; a kitchen; an interactive clothing store; and a language area.
In addition to the two main exhibit areas, there will also be a theatre and program rooms.
AND the outdoor experience is set to open in May of 2013! Current plans include gardens, play areas (for, among other things, building forts and engaging in imaginative play), and an open ampitheater.
So there you have it. Get yourself ready (and be ready to purchase a membership -- unlike the Launch Zone, the NCM will not be free) and get yourself to the Launch Zone, which will be closing in September 2012 in preparation for the grand opening of the permanent museum space!