SEBRING — It will be a Phase I limited reopening Monday for The Children’s Museum of the Highlands, which will remain closed to the public, except for private birthday parties, museum rentals and the Discovery Day Camps.
But, during the pandemic closure, there has been activity at the museum with the addition of a Sensory Area exhibit and an AdventHealth Chlldren’s Hospital exhibit currently being built.
Children’s Museum of the Highlands Executive Director Kelly Dressel said after being closed for 12 weeks she is really excited about reopening.
The new Sensory Area features soft blocks for young children to build and play with along with wall panels with different textures.
“Our hope is that it will help with toddlers,” Dressel said. “We are hoping to add to the space and make it more friendly to some of our special needs children so they can get on the floor and crawl around in a safe space.”
The AdventHealth exhibit will be like a little hospital with lab coats so the children can dress up like nurses and doctors, Dressel said. There will be some discovery pieces that children can touch such as representations of a pound of fat and a pound of muscle.
“We have changed around some of our exhibits; the fire truck has been moved,” she said. “When the families come in they will be able to see all the new stuff; it will look brand new to them because it has changed a little bit.”
They are hoping to open the museum to the public around June 30, Dressel said.
“We miss our kids,” she said.
The museum is implementing a slow, safe, action plan for its reopening with a number of safety measures in place such as requiring temperature checks of staff members at the start of their work day and requiring frequent hand washing/disinfecting throughout the day.
Guests are encouraged to practice frequent and good hand washing procedures along with hand sanitizer applications.
Masks will not be required, according to the reopening plan.
The museum exhibits, work areas, classroom and spaces will be cleaned every day by museum staff, with surfaces and frequently handled pieces cleaned often throughout the operating day.
Each exhibit has been reviewed and modified to reduce the potential risk of spreading COVID-19. Some exhibit pieces have been removed from the museum floor at this time while others have to be tagged for more frequent cleaning.
Discovery Camps are the museum’s summer day camp for children to learn, explore and discover within the walls of the museum with a different theme each week.
STEAM Team Discovery Camp starts Monday, June 1, featuring challenges throughout the week focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.
Agricultural Explorers, the week of June 8, covers the field of agriculture with a focus on the citrus and dairy industries and gardening.
Week three starting June 15 is about the Five Senses — offering messy fun with the senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste.
Week four starting June 22 is Holiday Mash Ups! Celebrating holidays all in one week.
Discovery Camp, for children ages 6 to 10, features a small group setting of a maximum of 30 kids total for camp, with snack and lunch provided, before/after camp care provided, program materials and projects provided.
Call 863-451-5385 for details.
The Children’s Museum of the Highlands, 219 N. Ridgewood Drive, Sebring.