Cate Anderson seems to get as excited when talking about children’s museums as the many thousands of children she has helped continue to be.
Anderson has been the executive director of the Children’s Museum of Skagit County since its founding in 2003, but she’s also proud of the explosion of growth of such museums in the Northwest.
“This is a very exciting time. We live in the densest area of the nation for children’s museums,” she says of Washington and Oregon, noting there are 20 in the Northwest Association of Children’s Museums including one in Alaska.
With the ever-increasing emphasis on early learning and pre-schools, it’s no wonder that the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, the Skagit County museum in Burlington and the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett are thriving along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 5.
“We partner with 40 different agencies in five counties,” Anderson said of the children‘s museum, which primarily serves children 12 and younger but also fascinates “children“ from 13 to 103. “We are connecting community.”
The Children’s Museum of Skagit County has been located at the Cascade Mall since 2008, after moving from Mount Vernon, but is making a third move this month.
“We’ll be located about one-quarter mile south of here,” Anderson says. “We’ll be at 432 Fashion Way (off Burlington Avenue) at the Outlet Shops of Burlington.”
There are many different financial plans regarding membership, so just inquire. A staff of 12 is on hand to help parents and children alike.
All exhibits incorporate aspects of STEAM. And that’s not a typo – it’s science, technology, engineering, art and math. The museum is part of Northwest Early Learning and has a pre-school.
10 MUCH-LOVED ATTRACTIONS
▪ The Mighty Skagit, a gorgeous exhibit featuring a flowing “river” with locally sourced rock, a unique 3-D topographic map, a rain barrel and worm bin, native art and a specacular mural by Jennifer Bowman.
▪ A life-size semi-truck cab, where prying your youthful “trucker” away is not always easy.
▪ A 26-foot Nordic tugboat, which is a special favorite.
▪ A complete farmyard for toddlers (my inner little girl wanted to feed “chickens,” just like on Mom’s farm).
▪ A working Sicklesteel Crane.
▪ A diner area and farmer’s market.
▪ A salt water fish tank.
▪ A fresh-water turtle tank.
▪ Frankie the Fire Engine, a mobile early learning vehicle.
▪ An art studio filled with everything to fascinate a child.
10 NUMBERS OF SIGNIFICANCE
▪ 60,000 visitors per year on average
▪ 750,000 visitors from 2003-2017
▪ 11,000 square feet of exhibit space
▪ 12 community free days each year
▪ 95 camp classes offered each year
▪ 925 active memberships
▪ 52 community events supported each year
▪ 141 parent support/education classes each year
▪ 327 parties for children per year
▪ 400 scholarship admissions
10 ANNUAL EVENTS INVOLVING CMSC
▪ Tulip Ambassadors
▪ Easter Bunny Bash
▪ Mount Vernon Street Fair
▪ Beyond the Backpack
▪ Skagit Valley Highlight Games
▪ Family Literacy Month
▪ Project Homeless Connect
▪ Harvest Festival
▪ Children’s Art Festival
▪ Tulip Festival Princess Tea