Museums offer learning for all ages

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

One certainly does not have to be a 4-year-old to appreciate the fun that can be had at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada. But it helps.

Four-year-old twins Kathryn and Cosette Chamberlain, of Washoe Valley, excitedly worked their way from one exhibit to another while asking questions and watching to be sure mom, Jan, was close behind.

"They love it," (the museum) Jan Chamberlain said. "It's a great place for small children. You can keep an eye on them.

"I've been bringing them here since they were 18 months old."

Identical twins identically dressed in white shorts with blue, green and pink turtles, and a white T-shirts with butterflies on it, Cosette and Kathryn played at the Thomas the Train table, pulling wooden cars along the track.

"They love the doctor area, the school bus and the piano," Jan added. "There's a lot of variety and the museum updates things. It's helped keep them interested."

Six-year-old Alyssa Elliott was enjoying playing bus driver, moving cars along the exhibit's grooved streets.

"I like the treadwall, too, and the maze," Alyssa said. "But I haven't got the ball all the way through the maze."

The "metaField Maze" is a virtual recreation of the traditional hand-held marble maze game. Instead of using knobs to play, the player walks over a projected 3D model of the game, tipping the board to the left or right, moving the ball.

"The museum has been a good learning experience for her," said Alyssa's dad, Kristopher, a single parents who also had 8-month-old son Anthony with him.

"It has helped with her communication skills and learning. She used to be shy. She now opens up and communicates better at school.

"We come in at least once if not twice a week. It's a nice family outing. We'd be at home watching cartoons otherwise."

Gift Shop volunteer Mary Ann Weiss said she hasn't taken the time to play with the stuff, but notes the maze and treadwall are among the favorite activities for both adults and children.

"The adults play on them as much as the kids," Weiss said.

"What got us here were the music classes they offered," Chamberlain said. "And the Books and Brags on Tuesdays, which is like an arts and crafts class taught by Penny Holbrook. The girls just adore her.

"I think a lot of it (museum's appeal) is the people. We've been to the Chicago museum and they have four or five levels for children. But it's nothing for the girls to spend the whole day here. It's not boring " it's fun.

"We're advocates for the museum," Jan said, referring to herself and husband Jeff. "We commend them for upgrading the exhibits. They're trying to attract people.

"It's all been good for us and it's a safe place. I can't say enough good things about it."

- Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.


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