TreeTunes, a musical playground, opens officially to the public Friday - just in time for Spring Break. The outdoor exhibit sits in the fenced in courtyard just outside Splash!, the water exhibit. It features a variety of bells, chimes, drums and xylophone-like instruments. Kids are invited to bang, tap and play the metal instruments, experimenting with all of the different sounds they can make.
"We read our comment cards all of the time and what they were saying is, 'We want to have more music at Marbles,'" said Chris Alexander, Marbles' director of exhibit production.
TreeTunes opens thanks to a grant from the Jandy Ammons Foundation, which made possible some upgrades to the space, along with the purchase of the instruments and other exhibit pieces. The exhibit will be open through Spring Break, but closed for a few days in early April for a some finishing touches.
The metal instruments come from Freenotes Harmony, a Colorado-based firm that specializes in outdoor musical instruments. The exhibit has about eight separate pieces - from xylophones and metal drums to tall chimes, which sit amid a stand of bamboo trees. The instruments are designed to all be in tune with each other. The courtyard's large fountain and water play area will add to the "music" in the space.
Taylor Rankin, Marbles' content coordinator, said plans call for special programs and staffed activities for the space. There might be an impromptu drum circle, for instance.
There also are some subtle opportunities to learn - a composition board with magnetic notes and inspirational quotes scattered around the space. Rankin said the goal is for kids to have fun and, just maybe, develop an appreciation for music and interest in learning more about it some day.
TreeTunes is open during museum hours. It's free with admission, which is $5 per person.