After the flood: Children at Play Museum reopens

By on February 16, 2013

Theater exhibit (Teuta S. Towler photo)

Theater exhibit. (Teuta S. Towler)

The Children at Play museum has reopenedin a new location at Buccaneers Walk Mall in Kitty Hawk, across U.S. 158 from the shopping center where Hurricane Sandy closed it down last fall.

Children dashed from one exhibit to another, checking out the entire museum in minutes before figuring out what they liked best and settling down to play and learn.

The Theater Exhibit, a new addition, stands out as soon as you walk in the door. Children can dress up in a variety of costumes and pretend to be stars onstage. They sing and act out stories as wild as their imagination. The theater, built by James Triple Horn, will be used for music activities on Fridays with plans for workshops in the future.

“The Teddy Bear Wellness Center is the only exhibit that survived the flood,” said Alyssa Hannon CAP director.

This educational exhibit teaches children how to examine, diagnose and treat patients. Instead of prescribing medicine, they are encouraged to choose the right healthy food and exercise available within this exhibit. They also learn about medical equipment, which helps them when seeing real doctors themselves.

Grocery Store Exhibit (Teuta S. Towler photo)

Grocery Store Exhibit. (Teuta S. Towler)

“Every children’s museum has to have a grocery store,” Hannon said.

Children use shopping cards donated by Harris Teeter to go shopping and check out at the register. The cashier has an opportunity to practice math and learn about money while helping “customers” check out. The Corolla Book Shop donated the shelves.

Another Children’s Museum favorite is the OBX Express, a neat little train station that goes from the Currituck Beach Lighthouse to the Ocracoke Lighthouse. It has many other local landmarks but it’s a work in progress.

Airplane exhibit. (Teuta S. Towler)

Airplane exhibit (Teuta S. Towler photo)

When you live in the birthplace of aviation, it makes sense to have an airplane exhibit. There’s a multipurpose prop plane in the museum the children can either pretend to fly or use the wings as a teeter-totter.

The bird house exhibit teaches children how to follow step-by-step instructions to build a bird house. Boys in particular love hammering, and it’s another way for them to learn building and practice fine motor skills.

The newest exhibit coming to the museum is the Carolina Flair Fishing Boat. This is exhibit is unique to the Outer Banks since it’s made in Wanchese and Manns Harbor.

“The exhibit teaches how the North Carolina Flair Boat is made,” Hannon said.

The back of the boat will be finished but not the front. Children will be able to go inside and see how the framework is built, learn about fishing, boat tours and other nautical experiences. This exhibit is sponsored by Kellogg Design.


Tuesdays Together is a program for preschoolers with the Monarch Club and the Lighthouse Beach Club at 10 a.m. They are two clubs from Currituck and Dare County. Women with disabilities volunteer their time and work with children on the exhibit of their choice. This program is sponsored by the Outer Banks Community Foundation 2013 and it’s free admission for local preschools.

Wednesdays is art at 4 p.m. for school-age children.

Thursdays is science at 4 p.m.  There are guests speakers coming every Thursday in February and in April a contest in conjunction with the North Carolina Science Festival. The egg drop contest will require little scientists to build a box for eggs. The contest will entail dropping the box from the porch at the CAP without breaking the eggs.

Every other Friday the museum hosts a music program and is seeking local musicians to volunteer 30 minutes time at 4 p.m.

Community Connections offers free memberships for low-income families. There are 42 memberships currently available. Call the museum to see if you qualify.

The museum is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join its board and committees and artists as guest speakers for art activities — 30 minutes on Wednesdays, and musicians –- 30 minutes on Fridays.

The grand reopening is March 1 with free admission for Outer Banks residents. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information visit, or call the museum at (252) 261-0290.

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