• Anna Eubanks

Children’s Museum Shoals: “Setting A Course For Fun” since 1995

The Children’s Museum Shoals is a place that so many children from The Shoals have grown up visiting for birthday parties, field trips, activities, and everything in between. Being the only museum of its kind in Northwest Alabama, the Children’s Museum Shoals offers an incredible environment for children that fosters creating, exploring, and learning through the wonder and magic of play.

The dream behind the Children’s Museum Shoals all came to fruition in 1995 when Anne Bradshaw Craig shared her vision of establishing a museum of this sort in The Shoals with a group of local experts in education, finance, law, public relations, fine arts, and fundraising. The mission and common objective that emerged was this: to provide children of The Shoals with a space where play would educate and foster creative and critical thinking about the uniqueness of the region.

In 2001, the museum’s doors finally opened to an excited public. Children loved it, parents loved it, and the community loved it. For fifteen years, the museum developed a successful history of offering educational services to diverse populations.

Unfortunately, in 2016, the financial challenges non-profits often face took a significant toll on the museum. Because of this, the Board of Directors was forced to close the Children’s Museum and regroup while seeking financial support within the community. The Board took advantage of this break by organizing efforts to engage additional talents from a broader spectrum of people to expand the Board of Directors and multiply its human resources.

After extensive renovation and exhibit renewal, the community revived its commitment to the Children’s Museum Shoals in 2017 as they reopened their facilities to the public.

Since its reopening in 2017, the museum has seen great success until it had to again temporarily close for six months in 2020 due to COVID-19. Like so many other businesses, the museum felt an impact from the pandemic. Thankfully, the staff members were able to remain employed through PPE loans. The dedicated staff did not let this time closed go to waste, however, because they saw this pause in operations as an opportunity to do some updates and upgrades to the facilities. Today, operations at the museum are back in full swing.

At the museum, children can find themed rooms and play stations. These stations are divided into three categories: imagine, discover, and create- each one complete with their own hands-on activities. Sensory stations are also available, helping make the museum an inclusive environment for children from all walks of life.

Stations at the museum are also set to replicate local venus and attractions around the Shoals! Among those rooms are Shoals Sound, Tennessee River Campsite, Singin' River, and Diebert Park Gem Mine and Shack.

Along with playing at the museum, children can also participate in recurring activities appropriate for all ages! These activities include Pre-K Art, Toddler Time, Foam Friday, and the Cozy Coupe Car Wash.

The Children’s Museum Shoals also offers annual events that are open to the community. Coming up this fall and winter are Superhero Day and Boo Fest. This winter, the museum expects to have special visits from Santa Claus and the Grinch! Recently, the Children’s Museum hosted their biggest event yet- a Food Truck event fundraiser which completely sold out and drew in a crowd of 400!

The museum’s Board and Staff members understand how beneficial their services are to all children, which is why they are proud to offer inclusive prices for their events and membership packages. Membership packages are tailored to best fit a variety of family dynamics, including a Family Membership, Single Parent Membership, In-Town Grandparent Memberships, and Out-of-Town Grandparent Memberships.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting venue to host a children’s birthday party or are seeking a fun environment where your kids can play and learn, the Children’s Museum Shoals has got you covered! For more information about museum membership and upcoming events, visit cmshoals.org.

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