Get Your Rubber Duckies Here!

duckraceGLCM is once again selling Rubber Duckies to race in the 30th Annual TC Optimist Boardman River Duck Race- held on Thursday, July 6, 2017, at 4 p.m. (Kids Day of National Cherry Festival) @ UNION ST. BRIDGE.

What is the TC Optimist Boardman Duck Race? Every year on the first Thursday of the National Cherry Festival in downtown Traverse City, the Traverse City Optimist Club holds its annual Boardman River Duck Race. The starting point for this race is by the U.S. Post Office off of the Union Street Bridge. Here participants may enter their ducks into the race.

Ducks are available here at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum!

Each year a sea of adopted rubber ducks will race down the mighty Boardman River in Traverse City raising funds for your favorite youth charities.

Top finishing ducks will win great prizes and the first place duck will win the Grand Prize.

1st Prize: $200 Meijer Gift Card

2nd Prize: $150 Meijer Gift Card

3rd Prize: $100 Meijer Gift Card

Plus 20 more gift certificates to McLain Cycle & Fitness!

Your adoption donation ($5 for one duck or $25 for a 6 quack of 6 ducks), will be used by the TC Optimist Club in the support of local youth groups in our area. You do not need to be present to participate or win! Your generous duck adoption funds go to support local youth organizations!

How does duck adoption work?

Through the online form or at the front desk of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. The adoption paper, along with the donation ($5 for one duck or $25 for a 6 quack of 6 ducks), is turned into the Optimist Club for monitoring. Each duck will have a number, which corresponds with its owner’s adoption paper. A receipt with your duck or duck’s numbers will be given to you or emailed back to you.

All ducks must be delivered and registered at the bridge by 3:30 pm. Ducks will be dropped from the bridge at 4 pm, and finish at the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce.

The event will be broadcast live on the radio. You can “Tune – In” and Listen to the play by play on Race Day by turning to, – Fox 94.3 – Radio – The Duck Station!

Great thanks, recognition, and pride come to those that make this event possible.

The Power of Play Golf Fundraiser May 12th!

The Power of Play Golf Fundraiser!

Golf FB Design

Friday, May 12th, 2017 – Please join us in a four person scramble game of golf for a cause at Bahle Farms!  Golf will be followed by a celebration dinner- where prizes will be awarded for closest to pin, longest drive and lowest score overall (male/female). Get excited!


We will also be raffling off a season pass to Bahle Farms Golf Course! Tickets are just $10 each- and of course all proceeds benefit the Museum!


There will be exciting twists available- including mulligans and “Chance Cards”, playable within holes 1 through 6, 7 through 12, and 13 through 18.  To understand “Chance Cards” – think monopoly.  They might move you to the nearest green, or the nearest hazard!  They might let you swap with the best ball in the foursome, or you might have to swap with the worst ball in the foursome!  They might give you a hole in one – or automatically give you a double bogey!  You never know until you open the chance card whether it will improve your standing or add a new challenge to an already fun game!

There may even be a pro or two on the course who will be willing to take a shot for you in exchange for a donation to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, OR allowing a wager to see who makes a better shot!

It’s all in the spirit of making a great game even more fun, in the pursuit of supporting the Great Lakes Children’s Museum- where we make hands on learning FUN through the Power of Play for ALL children! Golf for a cause!

 A foursome is just $440, and an individual is $110.

Sponsors are needed! Sponsorships start at only $100.00. Anyone interested in more information about sponsorships should contact or call 231.932.4526 and ask for Lisa.



Power of Play! Golf Event Baby

GLCM’s Annual Hands-On Learning Auction- the A-Ha! Event!

You Are Cordially invited to the 2017 Great Lakes Children’s Museum’s

Annual Hands-On Learning Auction!


Invite 2017 Front Invite 2017 Back

The A-Ha! Event will be held Saturday, February 25th for an evening of dining, auctions, dancing and hands-on FUN at the spectacular Visions at CenterPointe venue in Traverse City!


-Tickets: $65 per person or $125 per couple
– Ticket price includes dinner, dessert, beer and wine!



Evening Timeline:

6:30 pm Guest arrival and Registration; time to look over and make bids on silent auction items, cocktail social

7:30 pm Dinner and Dessert

8:00 pm Keynote Speaker Presentation (Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC)

8:20 pm Live Auction and wrap up of Silent Auction

9:15 pm Mingling, Auction Checkout and Dancing

Great Lakes Children’s Museum’s Annual Hands-On Learning Auction – our 2017 A-HA! Fundraising Event!

Wondering what to wear? Women, get your cocktail dresses; men, please come in a suit, or yacht attire if you are feeling frisky!

Ticket price includes dinner, dessert, as well as complimentary beer and wine!


What a great way to demonstrate your support for Northwestern Michigan’s only interactive Children’s Museum. By supporting the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, you are committing to keep our doors open for ALL children and families- regardless of socio-economic status. On average, nearly 40% of the Museum’s admissions are free or subsidized. Your generosity is invaluable to those who need it most. Remember, our membership holders, who come into GLCM an average of five times a year or more, are families and community members who live, work and play in Grand Traverse Area. All money raised from this event goes to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation.



Children’s Museum “Store” Gets A Name

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is pleased to announce a new name for the museum store.  As of today, the museum store will be called Power of Play.   Power of Play has been operating without its own identity since the Museum opened in 2001.

Diane Hubert, Power of Play manager says “The name highlights the store’s main mission – which is to support and extend ‘learning through play’ through a variety of merchandise.“  Power of Play offers a mix of books, games, learning tools, manipulatives, music items, art and craft items, and novelty items.

Each month, starting in October, Power of Play will feature merchandise grouped into a specific learning function. October’s focus is early childhood learning.  October’s highlighted items reinforce language skills, thinking skills and social/emotional skills through play.


Proceeds from Power Of Play purchases support Museum operations including funding to support reduced price admissions to military families and free (or greatly reduced price) memberships to families who might not be readily able to afford one.

Power of Play is open from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm Sunday.  Museum admission is not required to purchase items or browse merchandise.

Power of Play is co-located within the Great Lakes Children’s Museum on the Discovery Center~Great Lakes Campus at 13240 S West Bay Shore Drive in Traverse City.

GLCM is the newest member of the Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) program!

GLCM featured in MAP program on 9&10 News!

Got a library card? GET ONE and get out – and start exploring Michigan!

Like Cinderella’s slipper, tickets to the Black Tie Anchor Ball won’t be available forever!

Black Tie_Save the Date

Have you reserved your tickets to the ball yet? There’s still time- but hurry, before they’re all sold out! 

Please join the Great Lakes Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors, Staff, Members and Friends for a night of dining, drinking, dueling pianos, donating and dancing!
Use this Register Now link to register for individual tickets, which include champagne cocktails, dinner, a sumptuous dessert and the amazing
Dueling Pianos International Comedy Show
only $75 when pre-purchased, and $85 at the door!
What a FUN way to spend an evening with new and old friends- all while benefiting Northern Michigan’s only children’s museum!
Be sure to purchase raffle tickets for your chance to
(including food and non-alcoholic drinks!)
while enjoying the beautiful upstairs balcony of
The Franklin restaurant- boasting some of the most amazing views of downtown Traverse City- during the 2016 Junior Royale Parade!
The winning ticket will be drawn at 9:00pm as part of the festivities!
Please help spread the word about the
Children’s Art Contest!
The prize for each age group (Over 10 and Under 10)
will be a $50 gift certificate to Brilliant Books
in downtown Traverse City! Follow the link below to get more information:
We hope to see you all at the
always glamorous
Park Place Hotel on February 27th!
Black Tie_Save the Date

Toddler Area Revealed at The Great Lakes Children’s Museum

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum unveiled a new and improved toddler area on June 1.  The now familiar black temporary wall came down in the afternoon.  The floor glue was still soft and the paint a bit on the “tacky” side when the area was revealed.  Guests were actually not allowed to enter the area until July 2 (once the paint had fully dried).

Each wall showcases one or more developmentally appropriate activity(ies).  One wall is a brightly colored array of shapes printed on a white metal background. The wall is meant for rehearsing shapes, colors and patterns.  A simple way the wall could be used is inserting the phrase “Show Me…” in front of either a shape (a square, a circle, a rectangle) or a color (blue, red, yellow).  As your mini-human masters basics of shape and color, “Show Me…” can progress to phrases like “a red rectangle.”  A careful study of the wall will reveal patterns in the way the shapes are portrayed on the wall.  As basics are mastered, mini-humans can be challenged to find matching patterns throughout the wall.

Another wall showcases creatures which are common in the Northern lower peninsula.  There are magnets embedded on the wall and creature shapes which can be placed anywhere on those magnets.  A simple way this wall could be used is “Show me a …” (wolf, deer, dragon fly…) or “Where would a …(wolf, deer, dragon fly)… live?”  For the truly adventurous caregiver, asking the mini-human to mimic the sound of a specific creature could be both developmentally appropriate and great fun.

The creature magnets and shape magnets each have their own storage areas appropriately marked.  Part of the developmentally appropriate activity designed into the exhibit is picking up after playtime.  Caregivers are encouraged to use the clearly marked storage containers as part of a “game” of pickup after play – leaving the area in a condition which will be fun for the next adult and child pairing.

The outside wall houses five activities.  The texture wall from the Toddler Beach has been refurbished and repurposed for this exhibit.  The mirror has been reduced in size and embedded in the wall.  Mini-humans will be fascinated by seeing their reflection – and especially so if they are using the built-in stability bar which is mounted in front of the mirror.  The stability bar is designed to aid the earliest pre-walkers in standing erect.

The weather wall (which takes up roughly a third of the outside wall) is designed to help with very early language and symbol recognition skills.  A simple use of this wall would be for the caregiver to ask the child “What’s the weather today?” and have the child point to the symbol for the day – then repeat the name of the picture the child selects (i.e., rainy, sunny, windy, stormy, snowy…).  Another use is “Show Me… (wind, rain, sun)”.

On top of the weather wall, there are a number of balls.  Each ball is unique and is designed to allow adult caregivers to practice fine motor skills.  Play a game of rolling the ball back and forth with the mini-human of your choice. When you’re done, put the balls back in their designated storage area – again – to enhance the experience of those coming after you!

The seating area is locked in to the middle so that caregivers can access their mini-human located anywhere within the room.  The entry way is designed to keep small children in and larger children out.  While older children might be invited into the area at the discretion of the caregiver, the area is really designed for mini-humans age 2 and under.

There is one more component to come in this area – a monitor with live video feed to the Sailing area, the Guardians area and the Museum Store – all areas which are hard to see when caregivers are engaged with their youngest children in The Hatchery.  The monitor will allow guests to keep an eye on the whereabouts and activities of older children, freeing caregivers to focus on the needs of the early learners for a bit.

The Hatchery was made possible by grant funding from the Optimist Youth Foundation and another grantor with an interest in Traverse City non-profits, and inkind support by Lynne Moon.  Ken Reece, Dan Kohler, Dan Geiger, James Jaroh, and Jeremy Selden provided the labor to transform the area from the Art Nook to The Hatchery.

Children’s Museum Hosting Painting & Pizza Party

In collaboration with Traverse City’s Sip and Dab, the Great Lakes Children’s Museum will host a pizza and painting party on Friday, May 29 between 5:05 pm and 7:30 pm.  The event will occur at the museum.

Check-in (and pizza) start promptly at 5:05 pm.  The painting class starts at 5:30 pm and will run through 7:30 pm.  Facilitator Shelly Morey, of Sip and Dab, says, “this class will be appropriate for children of all ages.”

Children age 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult caregiver.  Adults accompanying children over 8 are welcome.  Only children will be painting in this event.  Each child will walk away with their own “work of art.”  There is no cost to participate.

Registration is being managed on line through the museum’s Facebook page and/or through the Museum web site (  Registration is limited to 20 participants.

Michael Long, museum executive director, says, “we are fortunate to have funding from the Genuine Leelanau Charitable Endowment to help with the event costs.  We received funding to explore an Art in Action program option at the museum and are excited to see how this is received.”

The museum exhibit galleries will be closed during this event.  People who want to spend time in the exhibits should get to the museum prior to 4:30 pm.  Regular admission fees (or membership) are required to access the museum exhibits.

Inaugural Holidazzle Raises Nearly $8,000

Recap of Thursday, December 4, Holidazzle Fund Raiser at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum

  • Hosted by: Teri Gorsline, Kristy Kurjan, Erica Mohr, Hesper Smyth, Marissa Wege, the entire Great Lakes Children’s Museum Events Committee, and the Great Lakes Children’s Museum Trustees

105 turned out for the inaugural event raising nearly $8,000 in under 3 hours.  Music, food, wine, and champagne framed a celebration of past, present and future successes for the Museum.  Thanks to all who attended.  Thanks, also, to the sponsors and volunteers who made it a success.

Holiday Market Vendors included;

  • Sweetwater Threads
  • Portenga Bay
  • The Perfect Paperie
  • The Elf Cafe
  • CUPS
  • Stella & Dot
  • Arbonne
  • Celadon Road
  • Hazelnut Kids

Prize Providers

Allure Salon, Arbonne, Bay Cabinetry, Bob Sandtveit, Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyards, Bright Blooms Kinderplay, Celadon Road, Cherry Tree Inn, Dan Brady Painting, Darling Botanical, Federico’s Design Jewelers, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Great Lakes Children’s Museum Gift Shop, Hazelnut Kids, Hydrangea BLU Handbags, Imagine Health, James C Smith Fine Jewelry, Kathy Strugala, Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association, Meadowsweet, Nifty Things, Old Town Playhouse, Portenga Bay, Quality Inn, Salon Verve, SIlikids, Stella & Dot, Stewart-Zacks, Studio-415, Sweetwater Threads, TC Bling, The Elf Cafe, The Perfect Paperie, Silikids, Yen Yoga & Fitness, West Bay Beach

Event Sponsors



Red Ginger

Bowers Harbor Vineyards_logo Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Bridge Building Challenge Cancellation!

The bridge building challenge, scheduled for Saturday, 9/27 has been cancelled.  There were no registrations made in advance so we did not schedule programming staff to cover the event.  Enjoy the weather.  Perhaps we’ll schedule this again but later when it’s cold and dreary out!