From the Parsons Sun
Curious Minds adds new exhibits
By Colleen Williamson
Curious Minds Discovery Zone has received two new exhibits at its interactive children’s museum, making the need for a planned new facility even more paramount.
Curious Minds uses a city-owned building at 1810 Main, but the board wants to erect a larger building to expand on what the children’s museum can offer, including hands-on, outdoor activities. The city has donated an acre of land just south of Wal-Mart’s east entrance by Tolen Creek Park, which will also offer greater visibility as it is near the junction of U.S. 400 and U.S. 59 (16th Street).
Director of Curious Minds Becky Falke showed Tuesday a new Lite Brite exhibit donated by Bowen Pharmacy. The lighted peg board was installed inside a glow-in-the-dark area.
Courtesy of a donation from the Parsons Area Community Foundation helping with half the cost, the museum also bought an iPlay game, which projects images from above onto a special mat on the floor. When kids step, hop, tap or run across the map, they interact with the objects projected. For example, babies seem to be fascinated with crawling through a pool of balls, making them scatter. Children can step on mice, which operates in a similar fashion to the hand-held Whack-A-Mole game, except they use their feet. Children also can play ice hockey, soccer and three other games.
“It’s proven very popular, even with the little kids,” Falke said. “Generally, when they come to the camps, they ask if we can turn it on. I have to tell them, ‘Not until the camp is over.’”
Because the new iPlay exhibit required floor space, Falke said other exhibits were taken down to make room. It is not unusual for the museum to change and move exhibits around to provide new surroundings for children who may come to the museum more frequently, but Falke said she will be excited to move into the new 100-by-60-foot building, which will provide twice the amount of space as the current building.
The museum already draws families from communities all around Southeast Kansas, and with the expansion, it is expected to draw even more.
To support the museum in its daily operations, the board is hosting its third annual dinner and auction fundraiser. Tickets are being sold for the Aug. 22 event, A Night of Discovery, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the Labette Health Express Care building, 2100 Commercial Drive. Tickets cost $35 each or $600 for a table and must be bought in advance from a board member, at the museum or by contacting Falke at 778-2839. Dinner will be served buffet style. A D.J. and dancing will follow the dinner.
“We are also starting a building fund, so we need all the donations we can get,” Falke said.