Truckee kids can dive into an ocean of curiosity at the KidZone Museum’s latest exhibit, ‘Starfish Enterprise,’ which was unveiled to the public on Tuesday, April 26.

Pass under a stone archway to submerge into the KidZone’s underwater world. Freshly painted walls portray a vibrant blue seascape. Fish made from recycled water bottles by Truckee’s Envirolution Club hang from the ceiling. Children can dress in silk octopus and fish costumes, climb into a submarine, explore starfish and seashells in a sand box, or use blue blocks to build their own creative play space in the imaginative playground.

Not just two weeks before, the setting at the KidZone was a bit drier and featured a ranch scene. Starting the night of April 13, the community rallied and volunteers helped turn the KidZone’s world upside down. Volunteers ripped up the carpet, painted the walls, and built new structures for youth to climb and explore.

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‘I just want to thank and congratulate our volunteers on the exhibits committee,’ said Helen Pelster, chair of the board at KidZone. ‘It’s a job well done.’

An exhibit committee met weekly starting last fall and came up with the idea for an underwater theme, said Liz Bordner, Kidzone’s exhibit coordinator. The committee made sure to provide opportunities for open-ended play, like a sand box and imagination playground, and areas where children can  develop gross motor skills through movement such as climbing and building.

Local businesses and volunteers donated their time and labor, as well as most of the materials used to build the new exhibit. ‘There was a bit of a circle effect in the community,’ Bordner said. One community member, who wished to remain anonymous, donated the $6,000 imagination playground. A fish tank displayed in the middle of the exhibit was also donated.

‘Those people made this happen,’ Bordner said.

The KidZone rotates exhibits about every year. ‘Starfish Enterprise’ will be up for two years, but the exhibit will undergo some modifications in a year, said Bordner.

Info: 11711 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, info@kidzonemuseum.org, (530) 587-KIDS, kidzonemuseum.org

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