Big Night Out – Disco! | KidZone Museum annual fundraiser celebrates 20 years | SierraSun.com

Big Night Out – Disco! | KidZone Museum annual fundraiser celebrates 20 years

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. – In 1992 The Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum, now called the KidZone Museum, was founded by a grassroots coalition of Truckee community members, parents and educators who saw the need to offer hands-on explorative education for children. During the past 20 years, KidZone memberships and daily visits have increased significantly, as the Museum grows increasingly more important to the community.

A few years after the Museum opened, a local children’s advocacy group began testing the community’s kindergartners using a national test which ranked appropriate child development. At this time, more than 60 percent of 5-year-olds in the North Tahoe/Truckee area were scoring below average on gross motor skill development. These findings indicated the North Tahoe/Truckee Community needed a larger facility, more programs and engaging interactive exhibits to enhance children’s learning. Soon the Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum partnered with community members to build the current KidZone Museum facility, which opened in 2002.

In celebration of the KidZone’s 20th Anniversary, the community is invited to Big Night Out – Disco! on Saturday, April 28, at Dragonfly Restaurant from 5:30-11 p.m. Ticket cost is $40 per person in advance and $45 at the door and includes three complimentary drinks (beer and wine), dinner, dance music by DJ Brian Hess, a silent and live auction and raffle. All proceeds go to the KidZone Museum, a nonprofit, nationally recognized children’s museum. Tickets may be bought online at http://www.kidzonemuseum.org or call 530-587-KIDS(5437).

“2012 marks the 20th Anniversary of Truckee’s KidZone Museum, which originally opened its doors as the Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum. In celebration of this monumental time, we know our fundraising event has to be bigger and better than ever,” said Carol Meagher, executive director, KidZone Museum. “With the support of our community, our dreams to expand the KidZone may just happen in our 20th year.”

Through various forms of fundraising, the KidZone Museum is striving to see some big dreams come true in 2012 and in the years following. One vision is to broaden the Museum’s reach and extend its programs to more children and their families in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe region.

“We envision a new 10,000 square-foot facility with various program expansions like a rich array of permanent and regularly changing exhibits; a large natural environment for outdoor exploration like the Discovery Museum in Marin County. A spacious center would allow us to expand our services to youth and include space for us to host our array of music and family theatre events,” noted Meagher.

In November 2011, the museum staff saw their dream for the Outdoor Nature Center come to life thanks to numerous volunteers and donors like Teichert Aggregate and the Teichert Foundation in Sacramento, along with Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and Basalite in Reno, Nev.

“We hope to see many familiar and new faces at our Big Night Out,” said Meagher. And we want to especially thank Dragonfly owners, Chef Billy McCullough and Phebe Bell, for their 10 years supporting the Museum with this fundraising dinner at Dragonfly. Their support is a big reason as to why we’re still open and strong today- serving 22,000 visits annually,” added Meagher.

Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum founding partners include Susan Ray and Judy Thomas, founders; Rich Welsch; Steve Gross; Michele Franke; Mary Hetherington; Hillary Humphreys, first volunteer executive director and Pamela Williams; Barb Wilkinson, KidZone Museum executive director Emeritus.

KidZone Museum founding partners include the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee; First Five Nevada County; First Five Placer County; Tahoe Truckee Unified School District; Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District; Truckee Donner Public Utilities District; Truckee Family Club (aka Truckee Family Connection); Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.

The KidZone Museum is located at 11711 Donner Pass Road, in Truckee.

– Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com