Omaha Children's Museum new exhibit, Forever Forest, runs through April and then will travel to other cities around the nation.
The exhibit will be making stops at children's museums, science centers, natural history museums, and other informal learning institutions. Among the tour's stops are The Magic House in St. Louis, Missouri, Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota. The tour will run for 10 years.
"We already have cities looking into renting the exhibit three years out, "said Kim Reiner with the Omaha Children's Museum.
The exhibit took three years to design and then make, and looks at the story of trees to introduce S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) skills to young children. The museum says kids can build skills critical for reading and researching. They'll also develop critical thinking, taking on challenges, perspective taking, self-control, self-directed engaged learning, communicating, and making connections, museum staff says.
"A new business venture has been realized," said Lindy Hoyer, Executive Director of Omaha Children's Museum. "Omaha Children's Museum is leading an important development in the creation of S.T.E.A.M.-based exhibits designed to travel around the U.S."
Omaha Children's Museum designed and fabricated the exhibit, with help from Omaha based Heartland Scenic Studios, which manufactured the exhibit pieces. About 2,000 square feet of interactive exhibits will travel. Meanwhile, there's additional elements the Omaha Children's Museum's exhibits team built that will only be seen in Omaha.
The Forever Forest exhibit includes a realistic kid-sized replica of a Union Pacific engine to show how products move across the country; mini grapple skidders; a lumber yard; a mini home under construction in which children can help finish by adding siding, molding and other details. The exhibit also includes a climbing structure with a slide, an over-sized bird's nest, and an area for daily educational programming called Camp Cottonwood.