Meet Your Merchant: WonderBus day care is on the move

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Pat and Adrienne Wiggins knew they wanted to start their own business, and they knew they wanted to serve the children in the community.

They tossed around the idea of opening a day care center in their hometown, Dayton, but worried about the startup and overhead costs.

"Then Pat came up with the idea, 'What if we take it to them?'" Adrienne said.

And the WonderBus was born.

Pat, who left his job as the city's director of Animal Services last year, dedicated himself full-time to bringing their dream to fruition.

He went to Idaho and bought an old school bus and remodeled it into a mobile activity center. Adrienne, a teacher in Carson City, helped on weekends and over the summer. She took this year off from teaching to help start the business.

Up and running since last month, the WonderBus visits day-care centers and preschools in Dayton, Carson City and Gardnerville to teach the fundamentals of physical fitness. Equipped with a trampoline, ball pit, rope ladder and other equipment, the bus allows children learn the basics of different sports and the joy of exercise.

"Kids aren't as fit anymore," Adrienne said. "This is a good way to get then started with a healthy lifestyle at an early age."

Teaching the fundamentals of traditional sports, she said, will encourage children to participate in them as they grow.

"It will give them more confidence," she said.

When it's not being used as a fitness center, the bus is transformed into a party station.

Offering themes as varied as pirates, space and music, the couple dresses in costume for an entertaining event. Recommended ages range from 2 to 6, Adrienne said, but older children enjoy it as well.

"Being a teacher, it's important to me that the kids have fun but that they're also able to learn as they go," Adrienne said. "They just don't realize they're learning because they're having fun."

The bus is available for birthday parties and other special events. Adrienne said they even worked a wedding recently, entertaining the children while the guests were at the ceremony.

For Pat, the WonderBus is wondrous.

"It's a dream come true to be your own boss and own your own business," he said.

Growing up in Dayton, he always wanted to start a business there.

"I feel we're giving back to the community," he said.

To find out more about the WonderBus, go to wonderbus.org or call (775) 720-0605.

WonderBus: Mobile activity center

wonderbus.org or (775) 720-0605

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