A long line of parents and children filed out of the door of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham on Saturday, as the first guests entered the interactive children’s museum for the first time. The rain didn’t damped spirits, and after the ribbon cutting by the museum staff, the Corporate Campaign members and the brightly colored mascot CanCan, everyone headed inside with smiles.
Staff stood by for assistance by exhibits as kids and their parents pushed, pulled, climbed, tried things out and put things together.
“I think I’m more fascinated by this than the kids are,” said one father in the Speed Shop exhibit, where an orange race car model allows kids to change tires, try out their elbow grease under the hood, replace fluids or even crawl under the car. “Look, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey,” he said to his son as he showed him how to use a wrench.
“This is the coolest place ever,” said the father as his children tried out different tools.
The red antique fire engine, placed inside the museum before any other exhibit, was a hit with older kids. They took turns climbing in and pretending to drive.
A scientist from the Discovery Place in Charlotte waited in the lab downstairs. As the crowd built, she got out protective eye-wear and beakers. Children and their care-takers gathered around as she made a cloud inside a glass beaker by mixing two chemicals, causing steam to spew out the top of the beaker.
The museum welcomed 2,241 total visitors during its opening weekend, which included the ribbon cutting ceremony and official kickoff. Saturday also was the most highly attended day of the weekend with 1,152 visitors. The newest member of the Discovery Place, Inc. Museum family, Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham is the second Discovery Place KIDS location to open.
As a community-based organization with developmentally appropriate activities for children age birth to 10, the museum features connections to the culture and heritage of the Sandhills, including an emphasis on farming and agriculture. Exploring the theme of I CAN, exhibits help develop cognitive, motor, language, social and critical thinking skills and encourage experimentation, role-playing, innovation and physical activity. Additional programming includes story time, puppet shows, lab experiments, educational classes, summer camps and birthday parties.
“The delight on the faces of the children who walked through the doors of Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham this weekend was precious, priceless and something I personally will never forget,” said John Mackay, president and CEO of Discovery Place, Inc. “We’ve been inspired by the passion and commitment of the people and businesses of this region and are honored to now say we too are a part of it.”
Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, located at 233 E. Washington St. in downtown Rockingham, is available for birthdays, classroom trips and more. You can also purchase a membership.
For more information about the museum call 910-997-5266, ext. 300, visit rockingham.discoveryplacekids.org or email email@example.com.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.