15 Years And Growing!

Museum Celebrates 15 years of Learning Through Play

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum turned 15 last weekend.  Appropriately, the occasion was marked with a celebration that included a clown, balloons, food, music and so much more.  113 turned out on a beautifully sunny “beach day” to take part in the activities.

Several businesses took part by donating to support the event.  Lisa Knight from 106KHQ was on hand to provide music.  Meijer donated funds which were used to purchase cupcake refreshments (It’s NOT a birthday without cake!). Kicks for Kids provided a bounce castle, while Magic Mirror provided a clown costume.

Volunteers passed out popcorn and cupcakes, helped with the Bounce Castle, painted faces, ran a scavenger hunt, and kept the party going from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Guests were also encouraged to leave their mark on the Museum by putting their painted handprint on the building exterior for a donation.  Guests who crossed the Museum’s latest exhibit addition, the mini-mac bridge, received a bumper sticker to commemorate their crossing.  There were door prize drawings every hour which featured items ranging from crayons and markers to back packs.

The event also celebrated the grand opening of the Mini-Mac.  Mini-Mac is a child-size model of the Mackinac Bridge which was donated and constructed largely through the efforts of Team Elmers and the Broad Family Foundation.  Mason – a soon-to-be-four-year-old-son of a museum trustee – cut the ribbon at the 1:00 pm opening ceremony and led the opening parade.  At 3:00 pm, there was a drawing held for a tour of the Mackinac Bridge.  The Slifka family from Petoskey had the winning number.

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum started as an outreach organization in 1998, and opened its doors to the public in a Front Street location in 2001.  In 2006, the Museum moved to the current location on the Discovery Center~Great Lakes.  Since the 2001 opening, nearly 430,000 children and adults have experienced the hands-on exhibits and programs offered as part of the philosophy of learning through play.  In the last two years, significant focus has been on updating, repairing, and replacing aging exhibits.

“Children’s museums specialize in offering settings encouraging children and adults to examine their world, perhaps from their own perspective, but also from other viewpoints with the end result being better understanding of that world.  Play is the engine that drives the brain and body to personal discoveries,” says Mike Long, the children’s museum’s executive director.

“We’re here to serve the community,” Long said. “With continued community support, we’ll be here for the foreseeable future!”