Riverside Discovery Center (RDC) opened its remodeled children’s museum, located inside the Heritage Barn, on July 2. The renovation incorporates new colors, decorations, flooring and featured the addition of Draw Alive, a new interactive digital drawing experience.
“There are similar features (to Draw Alive) at different children’s museums, zoos and aquariums in other parts of the country and I thought it could be a really cool new feature here,” Anthony Mason, zoo director at RDC, said. “We just don’t have really any digital, interactive features here at the zoo.
“So we thought this was a great opportunity to bring something, you know, at least that’s unique to our area here to Riverside Discovery Center.”
In partnership with Scottsbluff Public Schools Sixpence Program, RDC’s new feature offers kids old enough to color an opportunity to watch their creations come to life. The process involves choosing a drawing to color in, placing it underneath a scanner, wait a few seconds and it appears on a large screen. The drawing can be seen swimming, flying and moving throughout a themed virtual world.
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“We continue to try and improve the children’s museum here at the zoo and make that a more interactive environment for kids,” Mason said. “So this addition is a fun and engaging opportunity that combines creativity through coloring with a digital technology element depending on the theme.”
The current Draw Alive theme for July is African prairie that allows kids to color in animals like an alligator, zebra, tiger, elephant or flamingo, to name just a few. Once the drawing is scanned, the colored animal can be seen flying, swimming and moving throughout the prairie landscape. Mason said the Draw Alive theme will change monthly along with the children’s museum, ranging from a variety of animal and even non-animal interactive scenes.
“What’s really great is this allows us to change the theme monthly, and since the children’s museum theme changes every month, this gives us an opportunity to work within that structure that we’ve already built,” Mason said. “We are trying to step up our game as far as creating a pleasant environment for families, a nurturing area for kids to learn.”
The remodeled children’s museum offers families an indoor, active learning experience with many hands-on and interactive opportunities.
“We have an incredible team here at the zoo who built a lot of the stuff that you’ll see around the Draw Alive feature from scratch,” Mason said. “I’m really happy with how everything turned out. It looks really neat and it changes every month so kids can come back to enjoy it over and over again.”
Riverside Discovery Center is open seven days a week, summer hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.. For more information about RDC and the pop-up children’s museum, call 308-630-6236 or visit www.riversidediscoverycenter.org.
Nicole Heldt is a reporter with the Star-Herald, covering agriculture. She can be reached at 308-632-9044 or by email at [email protected]