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New museum great for kids (and OK for adults, too)

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Jan. 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
January 16, 2012 1:53 pm

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Tacoma’s museum district just got a whole lot more kid-friendly.

Sure, the other three museums in the neighborhood – the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass and especially the Washington State History Museum – all have elements that reach out to children. But with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, which officially opened Saturday just up Pacific Avenue from TAM, the name says it all: This is a place for kids, where they can get down and – if not necessarily dirty – at least a little wet.

At about 8,000 square feet, the facility is more than double the size of its previous incarnation in the Theater District. It is a kid’s dream come true, with four themed “playscapes” and an art studio.

What child wouldn’t enjoy exploring the Woods, getting a little wet in Water (don’t worry; there’s a place to dry off), letting their imagination run wild in Voyager, getting creative in Invention or making art in Becka’s Studio? A lot of the features are designed to sneak in a little learning while youngsters are busy playing.

Unlike taking the kids to an annoying Chipmunks movie, accompanying them to the museum is a painless experience for adults. They have comfy places to sit where they can keep an eye on the kids and a cafe when they can have coffee and something to eat. Families are welcome to bring their own snacks.

Parents and other caregivers also will enjoy the price: basically, what they can afford to pay. The cost of admission is being subsidized by KeyBank – a generous gift to local families, about a third of which are considered low-income.

That gift will stretch farther if those who can afford to pay something do and, better yet, become members. Membership entails extra benefits, including free parking, discounts and Monday members-only day.

Congratulations to all who made this new facility a reality. The South Sound’s children have been given a great gift.

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