The located in Seabright – a.k.a. the museum with the giant whale – celebrates learning with two more Super Summer Saturdays.
Captivating programs and performances supported by the museum hope to boast curiosity in even the youngest viewers. More than 350 enthusiast children and their families experienced a close up look at live native California animals presented by the Wildlife Association last week.
All summer long, the museum which is no longer run by the city because of budget cuts, has kept its doors open to the community while focusing on fun, educational shows and activities for everyone in the family.
A small, nonprofit staff and board of directors strive to keep the museum engaging with a lot of help from numerous volunteers and docents.
Museum education manager Deborah McArthur, who organizes the Super Summer Saturdays events in July, hopes to draw attention to the museum and gain new members.
“We want to be a community hub for families and members,” says McArthur.
"By letting the community have a place of its own to get to know the live creatures, we hope to strengthen ones understandings of the inner workings of the museum," she added.
This is no hands-off museum. Just the opposite.
“We encourage families to come to this space often and get to know the touch tank and watch the bees and see what they do over time,” McArthur says.
Local families were not disappointed with last Saturday’s California native show just outside the museum. The Penny Ice Creamery helped sweeten the day with an ice cream cart.
Gault Elementary School second grade teacher Charlene Oatey, 31, biked over with her family for the wildlife animal show and activities at the museum. As a member, Oatey says she learned of the performance online.
“The museum is a fabulous place, definitely a gem of our city,” says Oatey.
She has also walked her classroom over to the museum for observation in the past which is only about a half-mile away.
A favorite for many school kids is the live bee hive enclosed in plexiglass that allows the bees to escape through clear tubes extending outside through the wall.
The live king snake also draws enormous attention.
Snake enthusiasts can look forward to the museum's sensational snakes live snake show scheduled for Saturday, July 23.
Last week's wildlife show drew raves.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to see animals that people don’t get a chance to see and to be able to ask questions,” said Victoria Harder.
According to McArthur, the museum has many extensions that foster learning outside of the building and into the field.
Close by Neary Lagoon hosts numerous field trips organized by the museum for curious third graders identifying birds and fifth graders collecting water specimens for testing.
“The space is so small, that we have to branch out to the field. There are species that are located in Scotts Valley and Bonny Doon that are endangered species nowhere else,” says McArthur.
The sand hills are a big part of the museum’s education for older school children. Off of Mt. Hermon road there are flower species that we hardly even understand and other endemic species. The public is learning a lot about these facts as a result of the museum’s educational program, say McArthur.
The kids' corner at the museum offers activity books about wildlife and a photo contest. The approach, according to McArthur, is how long it took to take the shots of wildlife and understand that the photographer may have waited to get pictures of moving wildlife. The kids can then submit their photos electronically onto the museum blog.
Other upcoming super Saturday events during July include: Sensational Snakes on July 23rd and endangered neighbors with the Banana Slug String Band on July 30th.