Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Special Night at the Children's Museum

It's not often we get to attend an inaugural event. Tonight was such a night.

The Children's Museum of Richmond hosted a "Special Night for Children with Special Needs." The museum opened its doors for two hours and hosted some kids who might have difficulty going to the museum during regular us!

We weren't sure RJ2 was going to walk in the doors. She has a really tough time entering unfamiliar places. We browsed lots of cool pictures of the museum's exhibits online at home, but you never would have guessed that as we approached the doors. We waited patiently and stared into the big glass-paned windows. Then, a museum employee came out to see us.

"Miss Megan" could tell we were having difficulty. She brought a big smile and said, "Hello!" which immediately cheered up RJ2 and got her talking. (She also brought a "social story" about having fun at the Children's Museum!) "Miss Megan" did her best, but RJ2 was reluctant. As "Miss Megan" returned inside, we all thought it might be time to head home.

But, after waiting a few more minutes, RJ2 walked to the doors and said, "All right, let's go inside." Of course, then she couldn't open the very tight doors! We did make it in, ever so slowly, and the warm welcoming smiles of staff inside--and "Miss Megan" taking RJ2 directly to the exhibits--made for the start of a great night!

We pretty much saw everything! CJ has been itching to go to the Children's Museum for weeks, and since siblings were invited, it was the perfect opportunity to go together. She was our tour guide for the evening, and a good cow milker!

RJ2's very most favorite activity (and calming place) is this fountain, which comes at the end of a large river exhibit filled with plastic boats and one really huge rubber duckie!

There is a "backyard" at the museum, which is filled with sand toys, climbing toys and musical instruments. And this flower that my folks and sister have growing at their houses.

CJ insisted that RJ2 check out the cave exhibit, complete with (stuffed) animals, like that orange snake (far left) that you might find in a cave. RJ2 grabbed the snake and started running with it. I feared she might bring it back to the water fountain. "He lives in the cave," I said. (Whew!)

The museum has a very cool shadows exhibit. An image of plastic balls is projected on this screen. But, if you jump or move your arms forcefully--as if pushing the balls--the balls move across the screen! It's a perfect place for shadow dancing and, for RJ2, singing "Kibbles' Rockin' Clubhouse." ("It is time to clap your hands....")

A grocery store is almost a must-have for a children's museum. I didn't think RJ2 would have any interest in here, since she can't take a step in the grocery store these days. Wow! Not so.... She grabbed a cart as soon as she saw one and started right in shopping for fruit and garlic! Then, she got baked goods from the bakery. Finally, some staples, like Gushers and plain spaghetti, from the back shelf. CJ scanned her items and I bagged her groceries. "Miss Megan" came by to shop with us, and we learned that she used to teach 3rd grade in our school district!

Finally, in honor of Uncle Jeff, we had to drive the ambulance! This was another highlight. No sooner had she left the wheel than RJ2 went out the back of the ambulance and right back into the driver's seat! Not a bad fit....

One last visit at the fountain, then it was off to the entrance again. "Miss Megan" was waiting, seeing off other children. RJ2 had a last goodbye for her, which, no doubt, made her night. She certainly made ours!
For thinking we might have spent the night in the car driving to and from without ever entering the museum, we all ended up having way more fun--and we have a pass for 3 more free visits on Special Nights!

Does this mean we'll be shopping at Kroger again soon? Only if we can get a little cart.... and maybe Miss Megan....


Kelly Combs said...

This makes my heart feel so good. I am so happy that RJ2 was willing to step outside of her comfort zone, with the help of a special friend. Miss Megan was surely a blessing!

I'm glad you had fun, and hope you get back again soon. And who knows? Kroger has those little shopping carts, so you just may have a little helper before you know it!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog! Ms. Megan may not be available but Ms. Christi would love to come to Kroger!

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