Year In Review: Children's Museum of Tacoma relocates

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma temporarily closed its doors in December to start another chapter downtown — it moved from Broadway to a brand-new space on Pacific Avenue.

The move followed many years of planning and fund-raising. In March 2010, the museum signed a 10-year lease with United Way of Pierce County to occupy the bottom floor of the non-profit’s headquarters, located at 1501 Pacific Avenue. The museum also launched a $7 million capital campaign — $5 million toward renovation of the new space, including all-new exhibits; $1 million toward the “Play to Learn” community outreach program; and $1 million toward a “Pay As You Will” admission program that aims to eliminate financial barriers and open the museum to everyone, according to executive director Tanya Andrews (pictured).

When the museum re-opens in its new location on Jan. 14, one of the first things visitors will notice is how much more roomier it is: the new space is 8,700 square feet. Other new features include Cafe Play (pictured far right), which will be open to the public, offer a full-service espresso bar managed by locally-owned Satellite Coffee, and feature healthy snacks and sandwiches; members-only two-hour parking (10 stalls during weekdays, with additional stalls on weekends); 40 storage lockers and parking for strollers; and an orientation room for visitors to meet staff and each other.

Those amenities are geared toward grown-ups. Children, on the other hand, will enjoy five brand-new exhibits that will feature a wooded area with a bridge, path, secret nooks, areas to build forts, and pulleys for raising and lowering toys and supplies; a water-themed exhibit that features streams, still-water pools, and a falling water fountain that kids can control by using cranks and levers; and a massive structure known as “Voyager” (pictured under construction near right) that looks like a hybrid pirate ship / cargo wagon / space rocket with giant wings, a wheel house, gauges, signals and communications gear. The museum will also include an art studio and an area for building things.

For more information, visit .

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