The Coast News Group
Children enjoy the Toddler Tide Pool filled with foam blocks and decorative fish. Photo by Ellen Wright

Children’s Museum celebrates third anniversary

ESCONDIDO— The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum celebrated its third anniversary in its new location on North Broadway Wednesday night.

The museum is full of tactile and interactive exhibits that change every two months to teach children about environmental sciences and world cultures, said Kristen Hawkes Operations and Store Manager.

She said that all the worldwide communities that are represented at the museum are present locally. Some countries they’ve showcased are Russia, Japan and the Philippines.

“It’s showing differences amongst people worldwide and locally,” Hawkes said.

Currently the focus is on Ireland.

Often dancers and people from the community will come perform to highlight their cultural heritage, Hawkes said.

The museum has exhibits for all ages. Tammy Anglea said she brings her 18-month-old daughter Aubriana in at least once a week.

She said the developmental exhibits are great for learning and the museum was a cool haven during the summer.

“It’s great because she gets to interact with a lot of other children. They learn about taking turns,” said Anglea.

Operations manager Hawkes said she’s even seen a girl take her first steps using the toy-shopping cart in the Kids Global Village.

The engaging and interactive exhibits promote children exploration and teach them about environmental sciences, along with cultural diversity. Not a single screen can be found throughout the museum.

The museum also heavily promotes accessibility by providing field trip scholarships for low-income schools, free memberships for underserved families and financial assistance for military and veteran families.

The museum is able to provide such accessibility with support from the community. Board members hope to raise $3.5 million. Jack Raymond, Honorary Path to Discovery Campaign co-chair, said more than $2 million of that has already been raised.

Board members hope to buy the building they occupy by next year. According to Susanne Stanford, campaign chair, The Linden Root Dickinson Foundation bought the building in a down market and it’s now worth more than $2 million.

As a gift, the foundation has given the museum the option to buy the building for $650,000, said Stanford.

Visitors to the museum over the past three years have increased by four fold, according to Executive Director Javier Guerrero.

“In three years time, not only did we grow into a new space starting from zero, but we went from 15,000 to nearly 60,000 visitors a year,” Guerrero said.

Everything in the building is hand made by staff and Rebecca Raymond, honorary campaign co-chair, said the staff’s passion and vision is a large part of why she got involved.

“The vision is always consistent,” Raymond said. “They have this beautiful idea of what they want the programs to entail and what they want to impart in the community and the exhibits have popped up and their dreams have been realized. It’s fantastic!”

Admission is $6 for both children and adults and annual memberships are $85.