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Children’s Museum’s ‘PlaySpace’ Will Blast Off at Pablo Center in March

pop-up museum will give access to favorite exhibits

Tom Giffey |

Patrons of the Children's Museum of Eau Claire pop-up
Patrons of the Children's Museum of Eau Claire pop-up "Play Space" at the Pablo Center will be able to engage in space-themed fun. (Submitted photo)

Just in time for the height of cabin fever season, Chippewa Valley kiddos will soon be able to experience a pop-up version of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire.

The pop-up, called PlaySpace, will feature some of the museum’s old and new favorites housed in the Visit Eau Claire portion of the Pablo Center at the Confluence, 128 Graham Ave. Beginning on the weekend of March 13-14, families will be able to reserve two-hour time slots to play – and learn – inside a scaled-down version of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, said Mandy Runge, the museum’s vice president of development.

PlaySpace patrons will find the rocket climber (which was installed at the museum, 220 S. Barstow St., not long before COVID-19 hit last year), a moon rover, and a cement truck-turned-space station (are you picking up on the space theme yet?), as well as new set of the beloved giant blue blocks and a toddler area featuring a rotating collection of toys.

Another museum favorite, Oreo the Cow, will also likely be on hand, Runge says, as will STEM and craft activities and even a pint-sized gift shop. “It really is a mini-museum,” she explains.

Another museum favorite, Oreo the Cow, will also likely be on hand, as will STEM and craft activities and even a pint-sized gift shop. “It really is a mini-museum,” explains Mandy Runge of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire.

As you likely know if you’re a parent of children living in the greater Chippewa Valley, the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire closed its doors to the public last year because of the pandemic. The shutdown coincided with ramped-up efforts to build a big new museum – now slated to open in October 2022 on North Barstow Street – but the institution knew that roughly two years was a long time for its young patrons to wait, and the idea for PlaySpace was born.

Between March and June, PlaySpace will be open to 20 members of the public during each of three two-hour time slots (9-11am, 11:30am-1:30pm, and 2-4pm), while Sundays it will be available for birthday parties. Beginning in June, Runge says, plans are for PlaySpace to be open during weekdays as well, and specially programmed days might be added to the calendar. The museum hopes to continue to operate PlaySpace until its brand-new home is completed in late 2022.

Runge says the opening of PlaySpace is much-anticipated by cooped-up museum lovers. “We get a lot of people saying, ‘We can’t wait to get out,’ ” she says.


For more details, and to learn how you can make PlaySpace reservations, which will cost $5 per person, visit www.childrensmuseumec.com/playspace.

 

The rocket climber, installed at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire pre-pandemic, will also be part of PlaySpace. (Submitted photo)
The rocket climber, installed at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire pre-pandemic, will also be part of PlaySpace. (Submitted photo)