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The woodworking bench lets children use real tools.

Southeast Colorado Springs is the new home for the Pikes Peak Children’s museum, which officially opened the doors at its Airport Road and Circle Drive location on April 11. The museum currently features six different exhibits, including a woodworking station, a makerspace and a coding room.  

“We have been at this since 2005 without a location,” said Nohea March, executive director of the Pikes Peak Children’s Museum. During that time we’ve just been a mobile museum and have done a lot in the community. We’ve gotten our name out that way, going into schools, community centers, all the community events we could get to.”

The target audience for the museum is children 0 to 10 years old, but children of all ages are welcome. The exhibits are designed to encourage education through play. 

“We’re really big on STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics,” said March. “We’ve got a whole art and makerspace room so they can create to their heart’s desire. The big talker is the woodworking bench, which has real tools on it. We’ve got a 0 to 5 [year old] room that’s a lot of imagination play, and for the older kids we’ve got a coding room — robotics, technology — and then we have a program room for community collaboration and classes and birthday parties.”

District 4 El Paso County Board of Commission member Longinos Gonzalez attended the museum’s VIP night prior to its grand opening. 

“I wanted to learn more about what opportunities our local community is doing for children,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to see how they’re utilizing a new children’s museum to help educate the youth.”

The Pikes Peak Children’s Museum will also host exhibits from local creators. 

“We’re hoping to soon have the Southeast exhibit space up,” said March. “It’s a collaborative piece we’re working on with Julie Ramirez with the 719 Daily Dose. We’re going to blow up her images with QR codes so people can watch the different podcasts from their phones.”

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The museum currently has six different exhibits.

The Pikes Peak Children’s Museum’s location in Southeast Colorado Springs will provide opportunities for local children and those from across the county. 

“For a long time I’ve been a huge supporter of having the Children’s Museum in Southeast Colorado Springs,” said March. “I might be a little biased because I’m a Southeast resident, but at the same time, the more I learned about Children’s Museums and the history of children’s museums, a lot of times they start in lower-income neighborhoods and they help with the revitalization of those neighborhoods. Children’s museums need to be where all children can attend.”

March said the museum will provide educational enrichment opportunities for Southeast families, teaching kids through play.. 

“Tons of research have been done that kids learn so much through play, so just being able to have a safe place for them to come and play and not even realize they’re learning is super important,” she said. “As great as our schools are, we want to be that outside of the box way of learning and thinking and creating. We love collaborating with our schools, but at the same time we want to be that different way to learn.”

Early childhood education has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in Colorado, which does not legally mandate that students attend kindergarten. 

“One of our biggest concerns is the lack of kids who are attending kindergarten, and that’s across the state, across the U.S,.” said Wendy Birhanzel, the Harrison School District 2 superintendent during a February interview with Southeast Express. “Those kids who are missing those beginning school skills and lessons is really concerning.”

Due to COVID restrictions, access to the Pikes Peak Children’s Museum is on a reservation basis. Reservations can be made on their website, pikespeakchildrensmuseum.org

Disclosure: Nohea March is a former employee of Colorado Publishing House.

Heidi Beedle is a former soldier, educator, activist, and animal welfare worker. She received a Bachelor’s in English from UCCS. She has worked as a freelance writer covering LGBTQ issues, nuclear disasters, cattle mutilations, and social movements.