The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada threw open its doors Saturday for a birthday party to celebrate 25 years of fun — and learning.
“Think of a kid’s birthday party,” said Janet Baker, marketing director of the museum. “That’s what we’re doing.”
The museum’s birthday party began with a proclamation by Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell in honor of the museum and the unveiling of a new logo — a blue silhouette of a leaping child. Then came the fun.
With about 45 volunteers directing the party, children and their parents moved about among bounce house, face painting, bubble blowing, a bowling game, bean-bag toss and pottery making — and that was just outside. The Elks Club cooked hot dogs for the guests, Kiva Juice offered smoothies, and Karen’s Kupcakes provided birthday cupcakes for the guests.
“It kind of reminds me of an old carnival,” said Penny Holbrook, who has been volunteering with the museum for a dozen years or so. Through the years, “Ms. Penny” has seen the museum grow and mature.
“I love it, I love it,” she said.
Nearby, party guest Xavier Hoffman, 5, showed off a rice-grain sized piece of gold he found at the gold-panning demonstration.
“He puts stuff in there and it goes in there,” said Xavier, excitedly explaining the process demonstrated by Mark Olsen, the husband of director Luana Olsen and a gold-panning hobbyist who built his own equipment.
“God makes gold,” Xavier added, “and I get to keep it.”
While Xavier showed off his gold, his sister, Jordan Hoffman, 7, sat still for a face painting of a butterfly.
The Hoffman kids come to the Children’s Museum fairly often, said their mother, Kelly.
“The kids love it,” she said. “Every time we come it’s a little bit different with new activities. It’s gotten better and better.”
Inside, children enjoyed the museum’s regular exhibits that are constantly updated.
Cassandra Tubiello, 8, scrambled up the climbing wall while her dad, Tim, adjusted the speed of the vertical conveyor belt-like wall.
“I like how it moves while going up,” Cassandra said once she finally ran out of climbing steam. “It’s so much fun.”
It was her first time at the museum.
“We’ve been wanting to check it out,” said her dad, “and since it was free it was good time to do it. It’s got pretty cool stuff for kids to do.”
“This is certainly one of the best places to take kids,” said Luana Olsen, the director of the children’s museum for the past year and a half. “It’s been 25 years of educational experiences for children, hands-on educational experience.”
As the director for the past year and half, Olsen has overseen the museum’s recent changes. Currently, the museum is working on a new improved science room, which is expected to open the end of the summer.
“We’re adding educational value to each exhibit, slowly,” said Olsen, who has experience as a teacher. “There’s an educational tie-in to Nevada state standards.”