Maleah Joseph, 6, and her best friend Divinity Craft, 6.
For three decades the Louisiana Children’s Museum has been a landmark to help inspire kids all over South Louisiana. It continues to expand and attract families of all ethnicities and interests.
Recently, children and adults were able to enter the ‘kid’s world’ museum free of charge thanks to a kind sponsorship from the Helis Foundation. “They’ve been doing it for a year,” said Michael Lyman, Assistant Manager at The Children’s Museum in New Orleans.
Sometimes, the entry fee can be a little expensive for large families or low income families. The Helis Foundation believes income shouldn’t hinder a child from being able to experience the museum. So, they cover the expenses making it possible for children and parents to attend at least once per season.
Lyman, 28, moved to New Orleans from Orlando, FL to work at the museum. “I was a teacher in Orlando for children with learning disabilities. I took pride in that responsibility but I really like working here,” he said.
Eli, 4, and Austin, 2.
Families from all over the region attended the Helis Family Day. Shannon Lewis and Calvin Williams brought their kids to the museum. Maleah, 6, and Divinity, 6, both played games together. “It’s hard to find something for children other than Chuck E Cheese. We love taking them to anything constructive and fun yet also educational,” said Shannon.
Williams, a cook at Joe’s Cafe in Westwego, agreed. “I think it’s the perfect time for me to hang out with my step-daughter and my wife and have family time.”
The Children’s Museum is known for it’s creative events. Most recently they held Super Saurus Saturday where the kids focused on dinosaurs the whole day. All the activities were teaching moments about the extinct animals. Helis Day included Hoola Hooping, a Stufee Demonstration, an Atrium Fitness Dance Party, and a Yoga Workshop was scheduled throughout the afternoon, free of charge as well.
“We need more places that are family oriented in the city. There may be fathers who are not present in their kid’s life but there are many of us who are. Places like this gives us a way to spend quality time with our kids,” said Stanley Conley, 37, who works for Payne’s Home Health Care.
Conley came with his 5 year old daughter, Rayne, who attends Fannie C. Williams Elementary in New Orleans East. Rayne played in an area set up like a full kitchen in which she could wash dishes, use an imitation microwave, and serve her father and aunts dinner with make believe food on plastic dishes.
Jeffrey Turner does Route Sales for Unifirst. He and his wife Elizabeth Turner, a bartender for Slice Pizza, brought their two sons with them from Kenner, LA. Eli, 4, and Austin, 2, played in an imitation forest surrounded by books.
“On the scale of 1 to 10 it’s a 10,” said Jeffrey. “We have a season pass so we try to come once a month. The kids look forward to coming,” he said. “I am a Science guy and I like the fact that the kids are having fun without even realizing they are learning.”
Elizabeth loves New Orleans but she feels sometimes the city overlooks the importance of family venues. “We need more family options. We are a very adult driven city but we need more kid spaces,” she said.
Rayne Conley, 5 years old.
While many in attendance were residents of inner city New Orleans and the Westbank, some families drove from Baton Rouge to attend. “We dont have a Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge. It is worth the drive. We had a staycation this weekend. We took the cab. We had sights for ourselves and this was perfect to include something that interests our daughter,” said Curt Ellerbee, a Chemical Plant Worker.
“I don’t get much time off. So, when I do I have to make it memorable,” he says.
His wife Desiree, a Baton Rouge Realtor, was with him, along with their daughter, Courtnee, a student at Christian Life Academy in Baton Rouge where she is a Kindergarten student.
Great things are in the works for The Children’s Musuem. In 2018, they will open a brand new location at City Park with more space and more features. The museum is Non-Profit and is available for Birthday Parties, family and church functions, and youth field trips.
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