The Children’s Museum of Richmond has four area locations that feature indoor and outdoor hands-on exhibits and activities for the whole family.
“Our museums focus on learning through play,” said CEO and President Danielle Ripperton. “We want children first of all to experience fun. We do that in so many ways. Our experiences for young minds are varied, and we have unique exhibits that might inspire young artists, young engineers, young actors, young bankers and so many others.”
She added, “We introduce children to the world where they can touch and play with so much in large spaces. We also encourage parents to engage with them. We focus on children from infants to eight-year-olds, but the fun-factor encompasses all ages.”
A passage on the CMoR’s website reads, “From fundamental concepts to socialization skills, research shows that play has a positive impact on a child’s academic performance – and the more often they engage in play at an environment like the one shared at the Children’s Museum, the more likely they are to find success inside the classroom.”
The recreational venue made its debut as the Richmond Children’s Museum in 1977 when it leased the multi-purpose Navy Hill School building downtown. In 1981, the museum opened to the public with its premiere exhibit “Boxes, Blocks and Blueprints,” situated in a small 8,100 square-foot building. In 2000, the museum opened a new 44,000-square-foot facility on West Broad Street.
In 2010, it opened its first satellite facility in Short Pump, followed in 2012 by a second satellite site in Chesterfield County, and then a third footprint in Fredericksburg in 2014.
“We are excited to have four locations that are close to concentrated residential areas. At Broad Street, we still have the cave from our original location in Navy Hill. All of our locations inspire growth by engaging families in the power of play, knowing that everyone can learn more – and learn better – when they play together.”
The nearest location to Fort Lee is the Chesterfield venue at Winterpock Crossing Shopping Center, 6629 Lake Harbour Drive, Midlothian. This site features 15 permanent exhibits and activities. They include a Children’s Theatre, Book Nook, Art Studio, The Bank, The Dig Pit, Silver Diner, Wegman’s Grocery store and others. The CMoR also has rotating exhibits, special event days and more. The “Traveling SoyMor Exhibit” features a large piece of farm equipment on which children can explore and play.
The Midlothian location also hosts a Chesterfield County Family Day celebration in the in the spring. This event is free for county residents. The 2020 date has not been finalized.
All CMoR locations are open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. They welcome field trips, birthday parties, special summer activities, scavenger hunts and holiday activities. Each also offers special family time events. “A staff member will engage parents in a specific activity with their children during this program,” Ripperton said. “Visit our website to see the dates at each location.”
The downtown museum offers a $1 Family Night on the second Friday of each month, 5-7:30 p.m. The next three dates are Feb. 14, March 13 and April 10.
In May, Daniel the Tiger will be coming to all locations. “He is a big hit with all kids, and they love to see him. We are real excited about that,” Ripperton noted.
“Learning through play is so critical,” she further observed. “These are memories that will remain with children for a lifetime.”
For more information, visit www.childrensmuseumofrichmond.org.