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by Jessica Waytenick •

Address: 2900 Learning Campus Drive in Bettendorf, Iowa
Phone: 563-344-4106
Web Site: www.familymuseum.org
Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. Sunday
Summer hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day) Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Admission: $7 for 2-59 years; $4 for 60 years; 1 and under and members free
Media Contact: Elly Gerdts, 563-344-4169 or egerdts@bettendorf.org
What's New:

  • With the new Faye's Field across from the Bettendorf Public Library and Family Museum, the dream of a Learning Campus finally feels like a campus with small undulating hills, winding walks, permeable pavers, sculptures, a rain garden, perennial plants, colorful flowers and native grasses and oak trees.  It is named after former library director Faye Clow.
  • The Family Museum is planning an interior renovation in 2012.  The $1.4 million redesign will enlarge and change the permanent exhibit space in order to provide a new set of learning experiences and environments, specifically designed to meet the needs of young learners age 8 and younger.  Renovations are scheduled for the fall of 2012, with the grand re-opening set for next holiday season.

With 44,000 square feet of programming space, the Family Museum provides interactive exhibits and science demonstrations, art, science, and dance classes and a variety of programs for preschoolers through adults. As visitors enter the Museum, they walk through the Great Hall and Visitor Center on their way to a 9,600 square foot exhibit gallery full of hands-on educational experiences.

Five themed exhibit galleries provide learning adventures geared to appeal to a wide variety of interests and ages. A giant, hollow tree and tree house highlight the gallery Amazing Acres. The tree house provides a bird's eye view of Amazing Acres, while the tree trunk's interior features windows to peer into The Garden exhibit.

As you explore the gallery, you can touch a 10-foot tornado, make a cloud, watch a lightning bolt, see a miniature landscape change as wind blows across sand, or learn about weather and how it affects the crops farmers grow. The new convenience store with its cereal products can help children make the connection between the farm fields and their kitchen table.

The Rhythm Alley Gallery rocks with sound, music, a musical psychedelic shadowbox called Split Images, and amazing Wacky Mirrors. Dancing lights, the pentaphone, and more musical gizmos are all part of this up-beat world of musical adventures. In a whimsical area called Happenstanz, visitors can create their own kind of music on a Clavinova, or with more unconventional tools. Music Makers features five varieties of music and the fascinating stories about the people who make this music happen.

The Busy Bodies: Healthy Choices Gallery shows how the human body works and how people affect their own health by the choices they make. It features a large heart visitors can walk through and interactive stations that explore the human body through health, exercise, fitness, human physiology, and blood donation.

Preschoolers are attracted to The Garden, a child's garden created especially for them. Imaginations run wild in the two-story Bear's Playhouse. In addition, there is a sand table, an activity table with puzzles, Velcro blocks, and plenty of activities that help children develop fine motor skills. Parents can sit and interact as their children enjoy the activities in this safe environment.

Children can also enjoy the outdoor Kingdom for Kids playground and water play area in the Museum courtyard. It offers children unlimited fun climbing, swinging, sliding, and playing water games in the outdoor air.

The Family Museum property is now recognized as an official National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Backyard Wildlife Habitat site. The Museum has joined the many habitat enthusiasts who, with the help of NWF, have turned their yards into enticing wildlife refuges.

By creating a backyard habitat, the Family Museum has learned the rewards of "gardening for wildlife." The program teaches the importance of environmental stewardship by providing people with basic guidelines for making their landscapes more hospitable to wildlife. Changing landscapes to encourage more wildlife also enhances the environment's quality by improving the air, soil, and water throughout the community.

The Family Museum is a designated "Green Building" due of its use of recycled materials during construction. The Family Museum remains committed to conservation and wildlife habitat preservation. It has prairie grasses and wildflowers in the water retention area at the front of the Museum to illustrate the beauty of native Iowa plants and to show how adaptable they are to urban landscaping.

Check out their website for an active calendar of events.

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