Ex­plorer

C’mon, Let’s Go!

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - Mandy Carter is a lo­cal mom with a pas­sion for fam­ily travel, a pop­u­lar travel blog­ger, in­clud­ing her own fam­ily blog at acup­ful.com, and the man­ag­ing edi­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

Whether you live in South­west Flor­ida or va­ca­tion here, if you have young kids and have not vis­ited the Golisano Chil­dren’s Mu­seum of Naples (of­ten re­ferred to by its acro­nym, C’mon), then you need to plan a trip soon. This in­ter­ac­tive mu­seum de­signed to make learn­ing fun cap­tured my daugh­ter’s heart and mind. C’mon is lo­cated near the North Col­lier Re­gional Park (see side­bar), so you can eas­ily spend an en­tire day in this area en­joy­ing not only the mu­seum, but also the ad­jac ent play­ground and fos­sil dig site.

BRAIN-BUILD­ING EX­HIBITS

The mu­seum has a num­ber of unique hands-on sec­tions in which chil­dren can play and learn—in­clud­ing the Pro­duce Mar­ket and the World Cafe where they cre­ate pre­tend-play op­por­tu­ni­ties based around food.

Kids get a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the sea­sons and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments by ex­plor­ing the Jour­ney Through the Ever­glades, Banyan Tree, At the Beach and Mother Na­ture’s House ex­hibits. Other ar­eas of the mu­seum give young­sters a chance to get cre­ative with art or build­ing. But the fun does not stay in­doors—young mu­seum vis­i­tors can head out­side to John­sonville Back­yardville for a beau­ti­ful hedge maze, green space with yard toys, a shaded am­phithe­ater, chalk art space and a wa­ter-play area to get their hands wet.

All ex­hibits are in­cluded with the cost of ad­mis­sion ($12 for chil­dren, $10 for adults, free for teach­ers and mu­seum mem­bers), and pro­vide a full day of hands-on en­ter­tain­ment for the fam­ily. My four-year-old daugh­ter boldly states that the gro­cery store is her fa­vorite ex­hibit. She says, “I feel like a grown-up shop­ping with my own cart, then check­ing out by my­self!”

TRAV­EL­ING EX­HIBITS

The Golisano Chil­dren’s Mu­seum of Naples has an area set aside for tem­po­rary ex­hibits, so this space fre­quently changes as var­i­ous trav­el­ing ex­hibits pass through. On a win­ter visit,

we ex­pe­ri­enced The Chil­dren’s China, a won­der­ful im­mer­sion into Chi­nese cul­ture. The cur­rent trav­el­ing ex­hibit is Big League Fun, where kids have in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences with base­ball train­ing sim­u­la­tions, sports trivia and hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties for all those lit­tle base­ball fans. Make sure to take your Lit­tle Lea­guers to C’mon by May 19 as the mu­seum is mak­ing way for its next trav­el­ing ex­hibit: Fu­ture Park: Art + Tech­nol­ogy, run­ning June 2-Septem­ber 1. This ex­hibit is de­signed to en­cour­age cre­ative think­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tive play and to build in­ter­est in tech­nol­ogy.

THE IM­POR­TANCE OF PLAY

Play is vi­tal to a child’s health and de­vel­op­ment. When kids are hav­ing fun, they are also us­ing their senses to ex­plore, de­velop im­por­tant so­cial skills, stim­u­late key mo­tor de­vel­op­ment and learn how to prob­lem solve with phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. The ex­hibit de­signer for C’mon, Jack Rouse As­so­ci­ates, “con­ceived each ex­hibit as a model of thr ee

in­ter­re­lated prin­ci­ples: an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of chil­dren’s play be­hav­ior, knowl­edge of how an en­vi­ron­ment can in­flu­ence play and learn­ing, and an un­der­stand­ing of chil­dren’s de­vel­op­men­tal mile­stones.” These three core be­liefs trans­formed the learn­ing land­scape of this mu­seum into some­thing that looks and feels like play­time for chil­dren.

The ex­hibits at C’mon were cre­ated to meet Flor­ida’s Sun­shine State cur­ricu­lum stan­dards, and all are ac­ces­si­ble for in­di­vid­u­als with de­vel­op­men­tal, hear­ing, phys­i­cal, so­cial/emo­tional and vis­ual chal­lenges.

C’MON EVENTS

In ad­di­tion to the daily play op­por­tu­ni­ties, C’mon of­fers a va­ri­ety of events through­out the year, from the ca­sual Back­yard Bash to the Night at the Mu­seum gala fundraiser. The mu­seum’s an­nual sand-sculpt­ing com­pe­ti­tion will take place at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Re­sort on Au­gust 1. An­nual mem­ber­ships, which start at $135, also pro­vide ac­cess to mem­ber-ex­clu­sive events such as Hal­loween Trick or Treat, Easter Eg­gstrav­a­ganza and new ex­hibit pre­views.

Clock­wise from top: C’mon has plenty of out­door play space where chil­dren can romp about; a walk through the Ever­glades ex­hibit; ex­plor­ing the Can U Dig It fos­sil play area

Clock­wise from top left: a wa­ter-play con­trap­tion at C’mon; a gar­den maze in John­sonville Back­yardville; en­joy­ing the play­ground at North Col­lier Re­gional Park

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