The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany Now Open

Already Big Plans To Expand

MANDEVILLE – An Oak tree that children climb like a rock-climbing wall, a mock grocery store and kitchen where toddlers can “shop” and cook their groceries and a spinning interactive globe are just a few of the exhibits now open at The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany located at the Koop Drive Trailhead in Mandeville.

The ribbon-cutting for the museum's “Kid’s Town” was held on Jan. 31, welcoming children in early education and toddlers to explore exhibits geared towards science, engineering, geography, marine biology and more. There is additional programming for older children.

“We are excited to kick off 2018 in our first home,” said Lisa Barnett, president of the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany board of trustees. “We are absolutely thrilled to begin operations and welcome the children, families and community to our start-up location.”

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More than 15 years in the making, The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany features exhibits designed by Argyle Design of Brooklyn, NY, produced by local design team The Solomon Group and programming by an exhibit design team of volunteer educators and museum board and staff.

Exhibits and activities include:

-A live Oak tree that is a rock climbing wall.

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-An "Art Works" room, with half the room dedicated to all things arts, a stage with puppets, music instruments and costumes for children to put on.

-A “Little Lake Tots” area for early education with sensory areas inside of a boat simulated on water on the with fishing and crabbing, a lighthouse that mimics the lighthouse in nearby Madionsville that serves as a reading nook with pillows inside of it.

-The “Blue Crab Diner” and “River Market” where children can shop for groceries at a mock store, check out, and cook their groceries.

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-A large globe hanging from the ceiling that children can rotate in every direction, geography trivia and large U.S. state puzzle pieces.

-A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-based room where children can build their own mini roller coater to learn about gravity and inertia and also play with a large magnet wall.

-A “Water Works Wall” where water flows from the the top of the wall and children use magnetic pieces to manipulate the water to flow a certain way to make a pinwheel move.

-A “How and Why” area with circuit building to make a light and fan turn on.

-Several special events, which have included two Astro Camp sessions, a solar eclipse event and STEM Quest event in collaboration with NASA – Stennis Space Center.

$10 million eye on the future

There are big plans to expand the museum geared towards the parish’s smallest visitors.

Future plans envisioned by the Junior League of Greater Covington—which came up with the idea for the museum in 2003 and created the master plan—include raising $10 million to build a state-of-the-art museum with exhibits, party rooms and classrooms at a new location on five acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the Colonial/Pinnacle retail property at Highway 21/I-12 and the Tchefuncte River.

That area has been designated as a Cultural Arts District by St. Tammany Parish, with plans for a performing arts center, amphitheater and nature trails to complement the future home of the children’s museum.

In 2011, The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany incorporated with the state and received 501 (c)(3) non-profit status to began initial fundraising. A board of trustees was formed to work with a community advisory board and oversee day-to-day management of the project. Architectural firm Fauntleroy Latham Weldon Barré (fl+WB) have begun schematic planning for the facility.

Argyle Design has created renderings of the future museum's master plan, which can be viewed here.

Fundraisers for the museum include the annual Eggstravaganza, a spring fundraiser sponsored by Lakeview Regional Medical Center, Ochsner Health System and Take Five Oil Change on the grounds of Lakeview Regional for the last three years.

Donations are being accepted online as well as community and corporate sponsorships. 

“We are always thinking forward to the future,” said Barnett.  “While we have committed to opening up the initial facility, we are continuing to plan and fundraise for the 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Imagine the impact on our kids and families and their educational experience in that scope of a museum.”

Hours of Operation

Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Saturday – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed on Mondays

Admission is $7 for any guest over 12 months.

The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany is located at 21404 Koop Drive, positioned to appeal to families biking the St. Tammany Trace and those spending time at the adjacent Kids Konnection playground. Birthday parties, corporate events and school field trips are offered. Visit cmstkids.org or the group’s Facebook page for more information.

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

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