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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Children’s museum announces details of branch

CMoRThe Children’s Museum of Richmond on Monday announced details of the 12,000-square-foot satellite location it will open Saturday morning next to Planet Fitness at 1275 Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg’s Eagle Village development. Here is the news release:

CMoR Fredericksburg offers learning through play

Museum doors open on Saturday, May 10

The Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) will expand its reach and services in Virginia when it opens its third satellite location in Fredericksburg Saturday, May 10.

“We are delighted to bring a satellite of the Children’s Museum of Richmond to Fredericksburg,” said Karen Coltrane, CMoR president and CEO.  “The community has been so welcoming and appreciative of what we do.  Many Fredericksburg families have told me how often they drive down I-95 to visit our Richmond area locations.  So we are especially grateful to the generous supporters whose gifts have made this satellite possible and will allow Fredericksburg area families to turn car time into more learning time.”

The idea of a children’s museum in Fredericksburg is not new.  A group of volunteers, led by community volunteer Jessica Beringer, established a non-profit organization called Explore It! to get the ball rolling.  “We worked for more than two years to build momentum for the idea,” explained Beringer, mother of three. “And we have worked another two years with CMoR to help make the community connections necessary for success.  It has been a great partnership that not only brings a children’s museum to town, but brings one with more than 30 years of expertise.”  CMoR’s Board of Trustees voted to add Jessica Beringer to the Board in February.

Similar to the museum’s downtown Richmond location and its two other satellite branches in Short Pump and Chesterfield, CMoR Fredericksburg will be filled with exhibits designed for young children and their families to engage in hands on learning and play that help them develop social skills, gain confidence and become creative problem solvers.

Museum exhibits include Main Street, an interactive area with buildings inspired by Fredericksburg architecture, which promotes pretend play and imagination, and will feature a grocery store, bank, diner, and a dentist office. Main Street will also include the Children’s Book Bank exhibit, which will highlight the planned partnership between the museum and the Fredericksburg Area Service League to distribute books to children in need.

CMoR Fredericksburg will debut “Fantastic Future Me”, a fun and interactive exhibit designed to encourage inspiration in children by allowing them to see themselves in a positive role in the future. Using a large touch screen and camera, children take a photo of their face and then drag and drop elements representing different careers and grown-up roles onto their own “Future Me.”

Exhibits include an interactive magnet wall, the always-popular air tubes and an automotive themed area, which includes a racetrack and hard-to-miss 10-foot tire climbing structure designed to enhance children’s gross motor capabilities.

Educational and interactive elements include a main stage, which will host performance appearances and pretend theatre play; a jungle-themed toddler area; an interactive dig pit and a large art studio for creative expression.

Parental engagement will also be encouraged at CMoR Fredericksburg. The new location will feature information for adults on early childhood brain development and helpful ideas that can extend learning opportunities beyond their museum visit.  Commonwealth Parenting, a 30-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to parent education that merged with CMoR last year, will also have a booth in the new satellite to provide parents with educational materials.

CMoR Fredericksburg will offer weekend and evening birthday parties, school field trip programs with museum educators for preschool through third grade classes, as well as large scale events including children’s performers, festivals and celebrations, vending machines with healthy snack options and a small gift shop. The museum will offer evening rentals, providing a unique venue for corporate, family and other nonprofit events.

CMoR Fredericksburg will be open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and is located in Eagle Village at 1275 Jefferson Davis Highway. Eagle Village is located at the former Park & Shop retail center near the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and College Avenue and is owned and managed by the University of Mary Washington Foundation.

Museum admission is $8 per person, $7 for seniors over 60, and free for children under one. Family membership prices start at $135, and allow free access to all CMoR locations for a full year.

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