It’s the moment that parents of littles in the area have been waiting for since the Covid-19 pandemic forced countless business to shut their doors: The KidZone Museum has reopened! The popular nonprofit children’s museum began welcoming back families for indoor creative play on Sept. 22, a year-and-a-half after its Covid closure.
“We are thrilled to welcome back families who are in real need of community connections,” Carol Meagher, executive director of KidZone Museum, said in a press release. “As cooler weather approaches, our indoor play, art, and science areas offer a place for young children to explore and discover.”
The museum reopening will be phased throughout the month of October. Doors will be open to members three days a week on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Reservations will be required, with new memberships available for purchase online. Pre-pandemic memberships will be reactivated when families make their first return visit.
“Families are delighted for the opportunity to play and explore together again,” Meagher added. “A whole crop of toddlers is experiencing KidZone Museum for the first time.”
The museum will be open for special programs, school field trips, and vulnerable populations on separate days of the week. It will close for deep sanitizing on Sundays and Mondays.
“I’m just excited for families to return to KidZone!” said Jen Parker, the museum’s donor relations and education director. “I go in and see our fabulous hand-crafted exhibits and murals, and I just can’t wait to see the families back in there, interacting, playing, and learning.”
Despite being closed since March 2020, staff and volunteers have been keeping the KidZone mission — to inspire creative play and discovery — strong through a variety of community efforts. Following the initial closure, the museum provided supplies to families in advance of virtual programming so that kids could benefit from live activities in real-time.
More recently, KidZone community members came together to create a parenting podcast called Small Talk Tahoe, and earlier this year, the museum opened its outdoor creative play area to partner cohorts including the Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program, State Preschool at Truckee Elementary, and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
For everyone’s health and safety, proof of Covid vaccination for visitors aged 12 and above, and masks for those aged 3 and older, are required. In November, staff will reevaluate these policies and open to the maximum capacity allowed by county and federal guidelines, and as determined by the museum’s Covid review team, staff, and board of directors.
Listen to the Small Talk Tahoe podcast at smalltalktahoe.com and learn more at kidzonemuseum.org.
~ Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink