Art & Culture
Play Café Exhibit Introduces International Tastes at Woodlands Children’s Museum
THE WOODLANDS, TX – The Woodlands Children’s Museum celebrated and introduced its new Play Café exhibit with a day of fun, food and special activities January 25.
The grand opening event featured recognition of the exhibit’s generous sponsors, including Nordstrom Charitable Giving and Junior League of The Woodlands, as well as the Martineau Family and The Rieser Family Foundation.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of our partners,” Executive Director Angela Colton said. “Their support offers families unlimited potential to learn and play together. The Play Café will allow children to explore foods from different cultures, opening up wonderful opportunities for communication and interaction.”
The Play Café has been named “Russ’ Place” in memory of Russell “Russ” Martineau of The Woodlands, who dedicated his career to aging veterans at the DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. His favorite activities were family centered.
“Russ would have loved the idea of the play café,” wife Julie Martineau said during the grand opening, which was attended by many of his family members and friends from the VA medical center. “Russ loved children, and he loved food,” she said.
The new Play Café, located in the museum’s market exhibit, is an ideal spot for children to engage in hands-on, imaginative play. Guests can try a variety of international foods at the café throughout the year, beginning with Asian cuisine. In the café, children can be introduced to foods that are common and unique to different cultures, try new recipes, assemble and “cook” food, serve meals to guests and role play.
The Play Café features a countertop and seating, a food display case, food prep station, grill, serving dishes and utensils. Children can also wear a chef hat and coat while preparing food in the café.
“The immersive experience in the Play Café matches well with our education objectives at the museum. Young children can explore colors, shapes and sizes by sorting food and matching ingredients to the recipe cards, while older children can role play as a chef, server, cashier, or customer. It’s a wonderful opportunity for parent-child engagement,” stated Colton.
To complement the cultural focus of the new exhibit, the grand opening event featured food tasting stations provided by Junior League of The Woodlands, and a “paper sushi” art project in The Muse. Families also enjoyed a special Storybook Theatre presentation of The Prince’s Breakfast by Joanne Oppenheim, an award-winning children’s author with more than 50 books in her portfolio. The rhyming story featured a prince who goes on a global adventure to find new foods he enjoys.
The new exhibit is a permanent addition to the museum and can be visited during regular museum hours. The exhibit is included in the museum’s $7 admission for visitors ages 1 and older.
The Woodlands Children’s Museum is located at 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381. Exhibits and activities are recommended for ages 7 and under. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The Woodlands Children’s Museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded out of a desire to meet the community’s proven need for a positive environment where children and their families can learn, play and make special memories throughout the year. At the museum, fun and learning go hand in hand, whether children are creating art, singing along to a musical performance or conducting a science experiment. The museum also has made it a priority to bring children multi-ethnic and multicultural experiences that celebrate cultural and global differences and strengthen common bonds. Programs frequently are delivered in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, always with the goal of making a positive difference in the life of a child. For more information, visit woodlandschildrensmuseum.org, or call 281-465-0955.