Last week, Mya Gonfiotti was given a choice by her grandparents - the Chaffee Zoo or Pirates Day at the Children’s Museum of the Sierra. Turns out it was a pretty easy decision for Huntington Beach resident Mya, 5, who said she likes pirates and loves hunting for hidden treasure.
Frequent museum visitor Brylie Vaughn, 2, was more inclined to hang around the animals, especially the crow because she can sometimes spot them flying overhead at home. Her cousins, Lily Vaughn, 7, and younger brother, Luke, 20 months, were busy entertaining themselves on the piano. While they may not be musicians, they are, like most children, highly curious.
“The kids come in and explore, imagine, create and make their own fun,” museum director Jim Elliott said. “The parents and grandparents get a little listless after 90 minutes, but four hours is the average time a child spends here.”
Those four hours are jam-packed with plenty to keep the endlessly energetic children busy, and perhaps just a little tuckered out on the drive home.
There’s the pizza parlor for young entrepreneurs, tiny bank tellers counting out change, future firefighters practicing emergency saving skills, doctors-in-the-making checking heart rates, pirates hollering their best “aargh” while manning a ship (with colorful parrot), and wanna-be space travelers donning spacesuits before entering the NASA station. Those more theatrical can dress up in a variety of costumes, taking center stage to give a performance of a lifetime, all the while critiquing their movements on a small monitor.
“The museum is an educational process, where children learn by doing,” Elliott continued. “They enjoy going around touching and feeling ... I have a theory that if things are broken, the kids are using them and then I know they are having fun. If you can educate them during their play time, you can keep their attention and they don’t even know they’re learning.”
Upcoming summer events at the Children’s Museum include:
☆ 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., July 23 - creating paper airplanes, to be flown through a target.
☆ 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., July 30 - coloring contest, where participants color a basic landscape scene with mountains, tree, sun, and pathway, to which they can add whatever they want to complete their artwork.
☆ 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., Aug. 3 - food art, where children create different art pieces from food, for example making spiders from olives or grapes.
☆ 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., Aug. 6, career day, where adults in different professions will speak on careers.
The Children’s Museum of the Sierra, located at 49269 Golden Oak Drive, hosts about 13,000 visitors yearly. For ticket prices and additional information, (559) 658-5656.