Community helps Children's Museum open in Short Pump

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This weekend, families will have a new place to take their little ones to play.

The Children's Museum of Richmond is expanding to the West Broad Village in Short Pump, doing something no children's museum has ever done before.

Work is still underway out in Short Pump on The Children's Museum of Richmond to make sure that tomorrow's grand opening is a good one.

It's three months of anticipation for families like Kate Hall's. "Yes! are we going to have fun?," says Hall.

"It's kind of scary to do something that no one else has done. When you ask for other models across the county and you say they aren't any, that's kind of scary," says President & CEO Karen Coltrane of The Children's Museum.

In those three short months, Coltrane and her team at The Children's Museum have turned an empty building into a family friendly, learning environment, by branching out into the suburbs.

Mostly, it's thanks to an anonymous gift from one man, totaling $250,000.

"We hope that we see more families that want this kind of experience for their young children," says Coltrane.

The new center is centered around hands on exhibits and more. All of it themed to story book characters.

And after a few pre-opening visits from some members, changes are already in the works to the sand pit! "We already have to make it bigger. We figured that out the first night," says Coltrane.

Getting to this point was no easy task. But community support in an economic downturn, helped turn this space around. "I do think that the eyes are kind of on Richmond with this," adds Coltrane.

Now, it's time for The Children's Museum to step up in a venture they've never embarked upon before.

"I think we are going to like that flexibility to either drive out here or drive downtown," says Hall.

And, get this. The Children's Museum may be expanding even further here in Richmond area, in the future. We'll just have to wait and see how successful this new place really in.

"When our board approved this, they approved a branching strategy so we are going to look at who comes here, where they are coming from and who uses our services and go from there," adds Coltrane.

The center is located at 2200 Old Brick Road in the West Broad Village next to Whole Foods Market. It will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.. It costs $8 to enter, or you could become a member and go anytime with your membership.

The downtown location will not be closing because of this expansion.

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