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Children's Museum of Sonoma County opens tomorrow

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The much anticipated opening of the new Children's Museum of Sonoma County (CMOSC) will take place March 29th in Santa Rosa. Collette Michoud, CEO and founder of the museum, told the Examiner today that the highly interactive museum will open in two phases. The first phase features an outdoor play area with gardens as well as art and party rooms. The second phase is slated to open this winter and includes the indoor Science and Imagination Gallery and the TOTtopia Toddler Gallery.

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Michaud gained inspiration for the museum from her children and visiting other children's museums. "We are overjoyed that, after nine years of planning, we are finally able to offer our community a Children's Museum in Sonoma County," said Michaud. "There is no greater feeling than hearing the joy of children learning through play right here at the museum."

The museum began as a travelling science exhibit called the Museum-On-The-Go which has been educating more than 15,000 children in schools and community centers and at private parties and public events. It continues to evolve along with the brick and mortar museum. The plan is to continue developing programs for the Museum-On-The-Go geared towards meeting the curriculum standards in schools.

The exterior exhibits at the new museum are representative of Sonoma County landscapes. Families will enjoy learning about our native habitats as they play and explore in a redwood grove, the Russian River, the wetlands and our beaches. PG&E has donated a hydroelectric exhibit that has children thirsting for knowledge. Just past the farmer's market stand and the tractor with a playing platform is a gigantic turtle that is also a compost bin to stimulate curiosity. The art studio and party room offer indoor activities and are open with the phase one launch.

The 8.3 million dollar museum was funded through a generous lease of the land and buildings for 30 years from Jean Schulz, a state parks and recreation grant, and a Finely Foundation Grant along with corporate and individual sponsorships and donations. A creative option of donating to the museum is the "Build a Bug" project. Your family can create a unique ceramic bug by pressing clay into a mold that will become a part of the art permanently displayed in the garden at the museum. Options range from $300 for a 3"-5" single bug on a leaf with up to ten characters imprinted on it to $1000 for a butterfly with a 9" wingspan and up to thirty characters imprinted on it. A limited amount of bugs is available.

Annual memberships are available for the whole family starting at $90 and the CMOSC is currently offering 18 months for the price of 12 until June. CMOSC members can visit the Museum for exclusive member-only mornings on Sundays 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The new museum is located at1835 West Steele Lane in Santa Rosa next to the Charles M. Schulz Museum. From March 29 to May 30, CMOSC will be open to the public Fridays 9 am - 1 pm, Saturdays 9 am – 5 pm and Sundays 12 pm – 5 pm, weather permitting. Admission to the museum is $7 per person. CMOSC requires that all children be accompanied by an adult and that all adults must be accompanied by a child.

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