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Go Ask Mom

Kidzu gears up for bigger space at University Mall, plans free events

Posted February 5, 2015
Updated February 6, 2015

The museum's popular Gravitron has its own spot at the museum.

The nomadic Kidzu Children's Museum is about to get a less temporary, but still temporary, home in March when it moves into a new space for its Launch Pad at University Mall.

The children's museum, which opened in 2006 and is designed for babies to tweens, spent its first years on Franklin Street and, more recently, in a couple of spots at University Mall. Kidzu leaders hope to enter the museum's final, temporary space at University Mall in mid-March. Kidzu is currently in discussions with Carrboro officials to build a permanent location there, but expects to be at University Mall for the next three years.

"The new 8,500 square foot museum promises to be multi-sensory, play-centered, and focused on providing area children and their families, teachers, and caregivers an ever-changing menu of exhibits and programs that inspire creativity, collaboration and community," according to a press release. 

The new Launch Pad will include some of Kidzu's popular exhibits, including The Makery, Gravitron, Build Guid and Farm to Fork. The  goal is to continue to focus on providing academic, community and artistic partnerships, focusing on the arts, STEM subjects, health and well-being, and early literacy, the release says. There also will be new exhibits and programs designed for babies to tweens.

“We are so excited about the diversity of our programming.  This thoughtful, welcoming space houses what we believe will be transformational experiences in science, health and wellness, the arts, and global cultures for children, families and school groups throughout the wider community,” said Lisa Van Deman, Kidzu’s education director, in the release.

To get ready for the new space at University Mall, Kidzu will be offering some free activities for families this month. The activities will take place at University Mall's indoor center stage. Here's what's scheduled with descriptions from Kidzu: 

Saturday, Feb. 7
Bouncing Bulldogs (1:15 pm to 2 p.m. performance; workshop 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., donation requested)
The area’s favorite, award-winning athletic group presents a free jump rope performance and jump rope workshop to benefit Kidzu. Enjoy an afternoon of fun and fitness, sportsmanship and teamwork! This will be held in conjunction with University Mall’s 23rd Annual Summer Camp Fair, which is 10 a.m. to 2p.m., Saturday. 
 
Feb. 14
American Dance Festival, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kidzu and the American Dance Festival! Through sounds, rhythms, and creative movements, Jody Cassell and Jude Casseday will create a heart-warming dance experience that is great fun for children and their families. Bring your valentine to Kidzu and dance your heart out!
 
Feb. 21
Dental Health Month, 10 a.m. to noon
Staff of Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry and Kidzu presents an interactive Growing Healthy Smiles event featuring dental-related stories, answers to questions about tooth care and puppets to demonstrate proper brushing techniques. Each child will get a chance to practice their brushing skills with the puppet and take home a “dental goodie bag.”
 
Feb. 28 
Teddy Bear Clinic, 10 a.m. to noon 
UNC Hospital Nursing Diversity Council
Doctors, nurses and other professionals will help children learn about health procedures by “examining” a brought or borrowed teddy bear, doll or stuffed animal of their choice. Kidzu staff will register their “patient” and children will follow along as the toy passes through examination procedures with UNCH Nursing Staff. This event aims to help young children feel less afraid about medical procedures and equipment. Chapel Hill ambulance and EMTs will also be visiting in the parking lot to allow kids to explore and learn about their important work in the community.

University Mall is at 201 S. Estes St., Chapel Hill.

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