KidZone Museum | Where oh where will ‘Take Flight’ land? | SierraSun.com

KidZone Museum | Where oh where will ‘Take Flight’ land?

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The KidZone Museum's "Take Flight" exhibit is ready to fly abroad, and it's up to the community to decide where it will land.

The KidZone Museum will transform into a new land — be it Peru, Germany, China, or another nation — in January 2014 to enhance the current aviation-themed installation.

"Families will be taken to an environment that has been transformed into a new country," said Stephanie Blume, the museum's early learning educator. "We will change everything to reflect that location — the costumes, the books, the pretend food in the café, and the mural."

"Refresh" plans for the exhibit also include a Spanish and English weather station under the control tower, a Lego table with medium-sized bricks in front of the Cessna, magnetized ramps for balls, and more glow-in-the-dark play items in the tree house. Also in the works: radio communication between the control tower and the plane.

Over the next two years, the Take Flight plane will "travel abroad" every six months, a refresh that costs $5,000, saving the museum programming dollars. An entirely new exhibit costs $30,000 to $50,000.

"Switching out an entire exhibit is a great undertaking financially," said KidZone Museum Executive Director Carol Meagher. "It also forces the museum to close for more than a week. It's like a total remodel."

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The Take Flight exhibit launched in May and has been met with great enthusiasm from the community. The Cessna 152 primary flight trainer will remain in tact.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

KidZone Museum exhibits are constant works in progress and improvement. The exhibits committee meets weekly to discuss what's working well and what can be enhanced. Truckee Tahoe Airport District General Manager Kevin Smith is on the committee, and his insight has been valuable for Take Flight's success, said Maria Snideman a nine-year KidZone Museum exhibits committee member.

"The Truckee Tahoe Airport staff expertise and grant that financed the installation are crucial components to the success of Take Flight," Snideman said. "They brought us a real plane that was no longer operable and converted it into a play structure, so the children can climb into the cockpit and imagine flight. Not only has it helped us with the realism of the exhibit, it has also helped us keep the airplane child-safe."

The Take Flight exhibit came to life thanks to Truckee Tahoe Airport District's $30,000 museum grant and the support of many volunteers, donations and supplies from local businesses.

A BIRD'S EYE VIEW

What do your donations do for the KidZone Museum?

$100 provides a year of exploring, discovering and learning for a low-income family in the community.

$250 buys paint and supplies for free Messy Art and Messy Science classes.

$500 will keep the KidZone Museum heated in a cold winter month.

$1,000 helps to create amazing exhibits that last for years.

Visit kidzonemuseum.org before Dec. 10 to submit your preference for the next Take Flight destination. Call 530-587-KIDS (5437) to learn more about donations and programs.

ABOUT KIDZONE

For more than 20 years, KidZone Museum has served as a nonprofit children's museum in Truckee, with programs designed to promote healthy child development and learning through play. Featured exhibits change periodically and always include multidimensional educational experiences. The museum offers free bus service from Kings Beach to Truckee through its nationally awarded outreach program, and offers annual Lawrence Hall of Science Festivals for second graders and preschoolers. The KidZone Museum is located at 11711 Donner Pass Road, in Truckee.