Sandcastles Children's Museum Open Weekends Now Through June 6

Sandcastles will be open weekends from April 10-June 6.

Summer Hours are in effect from June 12 to September 5. Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm. Fall/Winter Hours are Fridays 9:30am-1pm and Saturdays 9:30am-3pm. Daily admission is $5/person with babies under 1 year free. An Annual Family Membership is $80 and covers March 27, 2015-December 31, 2015.

The exhibits at Sandcastles keep growing, thanks to local volunteers. The exhibits invite hands-on interaction for children from birth to 12 years old. John Bloomquist of Chicago has donated an LGB electric train to Sandcastles. It adorns the rim around the dome of the upper play level of the museum, so children can see it, but not get hurt. There is even a train whistle that kids can pull.

The water table at Sandcastles has new features, thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Energy People Fund. Now called a Stream Table, children can see how erosion occurs and how rivers are shaped and changed. In another area, they can make animal tracks in wet sand and a plaster mold of them to take home.

The Little Castles Puppet Playhouse is the new puppet stage sponsored by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. Puppet Shows are at 11am Tuesdays, and Puppet Playtime is from 10am-12pm Thursdays in the lower level.

In 2013, an actual 1958 Cessna 172, titled "Take Flight," was purchased and then donated by the Mason County Pilots Association.
To go along with the Cessna is a Control Tower, where kids can use radios, lights, and sounds and communicate with whoever is in the plane.

Kids get their own passports and experience going through customs and a baggage claim area.

Another exhibit is"Egypt" featuring sarcophagi and a station where kids can create their own hieroglyphics. An archeological dig with sand and pulleys complete the "Egyptian" feel of this exhibit. The West Shore ESD career tech program donated its own exhibit to Sandcastles. They built a two-story bilingual dollhouse, where half the house is labeled in Spanish and the other half in English.

Exhibits added in 2012 were the Bouldering Wall, a horizontal climbing wall presenting a new kind of challenge and fun for Sandcastles visitors; a Saltwater Fish Tank Watch with new fish and other sea life added throughout the year; and Construction Zone, where children can build creations of all kinds using less common building toys as well as some old favorites.

Check out the Badger Play Ship modeled after the S.S. Badger carferry and featuring a slide. Children are captivated by its many attractions, including real instruments, a wheelhouse, space to drive cars on and off, plus nooks and crannies to play in. A telescope is used to find the hide and seek animals along the top of the climbing wall, located across from the playship Badger.

Other great activities for kids include the interactive Michigan Tree House, the Vet Center, Discovery Bins, Post Office, Theater Stage and Dressing Room, Art Center, Sand Box, Ice Cream Parlor & Pizza Restaurant, and Grocery Store. At the Planting Gardens, children can pick and pull vegetables and learn how they grow. The bubble table lets kids create giant bubbles, perfect for popping!

During the summer, Sandcastles offers special programs in June, July, and August. There are also several other special programs which will appeal to all children. For the detailed list of activities click here.

Sandcastles Children's Museum has been in operation since 2006, and first began as a "summer sampler museum." Visitation to the Museum has grown from 1,500 its first year to more than 20,000 annually since 2011. They first occupied a small building on South James Street, then moved to a larger facility four times bigger on W. Ludington Ave. Now they have found a permanent home in the former Elks Lodge, corner of N. Harrison and Ludington Avenue. Through donations and many volunteers, the building is being renovated to make it into a kid-friendly museum.

If you would like to make a donation to Sandcastles, you may write a check to the Community Foundation for Mason County and send it to Sandcastles at P.O. Box 595, Ludington, MI 49431. Or go online to to make a credit card donation directly to the Sandcastles Capital Campaign fund.

For more information, contact:
Sandcastles Children's Museum
129 E. Ludington Ave.
Ludington, MI 49431
(231) 233-9326

Last Updated: 05-12-2015 03:00 PM ID: 159