Spooktacular Harvest Fest 2020

In this post, the CMA describes the changes made to the Museum’s annual Halloween event to keep everyone safe and distant while still having fun.

Halloween will be a little different this year at the CMA, but Museum staff has been working tirelessly to plan a safe, socially distant, and fun Halloween celebration for families with young kids. Let us share with you what to look forward at the CMA’s Halloween festivities.

A family-friendly Halloween event full of with social distancing built in

First and foremost, there will not be just one CMA Halloween event – there will be ten! This may be the best news of 2020! Guests may choose to attend one 2 ½ hour session for some Halloween fun at the CMA’s Spooktacular Harvest Fest 2020. Each event session will be limited to 80 guests to keep families and groups socially distant from one another. Dates and times to choose from include:

Sunday, October 25th – 1:00pm-3:30pm or 3:45pm-6:15pm
Friday, October 30th – 9:30am-12:00pm, 12:15pm-2:45pm, 3:00pm-5:30pm, or 6:00pm-8:30pm
Saturday, October 31st – 9:30am-12:00pm, 12:15pm-2:45pm, 3:00pm-5:30pm, or 6:00pm-8:30pm

Enjoy fun kids’ activities in a safe environment

Secondly, Halloween activities that minimize contact and interaction between guests have been selected and extra Museum staff will be keeping everything sanitized. The fun activities to look forward to include posing with Stuffee in his Pumpkin Palace, dressing like a scarecrow, Ring O Pumpkin, Jack-O-Lantern’s Face, Ghost Alley Games, Bootiful Arts & Crafts, and a Gross Out Science Station with Snot Slime and Vomiting Volcanoes. Also, dress up for the Festive Selfie Station and post your fun action photos to social media with the hashtag #spookharvest2020. Finally, instead of trick or treating, as kids leave Spooktacular Harvest Fest 2020 they will be given Just Treats No Tricks Grab Bags.

By limiting the number of guests at any one session and modifying kids’ activities, the CMA will provide children, ages 10 and under, with a memorable Halloween celebration that meets the needs of the year that is 2020. Admission will be $8.00 per person (Members $4.00 per person) and children 12 months and under free.

Since reopening the CMA has been encouraging contactless admissions with advance, online ticket sales at http://www.cmalaf.org. With only 80 tickets available per session, tickets will sell out quickly. To get your first choice of date and time, buy your tickets sooner than later. And if you are feeling extra spooky this year come more than once!

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Give to the CMA on South Louisiana Giving Day

In this post, the CMA shares how you can participate in improving Harmony Park.

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana (CMA) is in the midst of transforming the outdoor courtyard – Harmony Park – into a unique, family-friendly recreational venue, and we ask for your financial support. With your help, Harmony Park will become an attraction that will hit all the right notes. Imagine outdoor botanical themed musical instruments surrounding the play structure, bright solar lights, a commercial-grade shade structure ADA accessible picnic tables and benches, and an outdoor stereo speaker system playing vibrant tunes. The musical instruments will allow children to be the conductor of their own orchestra, solo drummer in a rock band, or pianist in Carnegie Hall. In Harmony Park children will release their creativity in the fresh outdoor air.

To raise money for these improvements, the CMA is participating in South Louisiana Giving Day this Thursday, May 7, 2020, because we realize when we come out at the other end of the pandemic response people will seek communal experiences. If you have the resources to participate in the development of Harmony Park, the CMA will make enhancements as funding allows.

Let us share a few reasons your involvement matters.

Outdoor spaces with family-friendly recreation are even more important than ever. The public spaces being made available to people first as states reopen are our outdoor spaces. Children learn through play so let’s take it outside! By enhancing Harmony Park, it will become an attraction that provides families an inclusive, comfortable, safe place for enriching recreation. In addition to being fun, engaging in music expression offers a plethora of benefits, and by installing musical instruments around the play structure will offer guests outlets to improve both their mental and physical health.

Your charitable donation will be deductible even if you don’t itemize. Shortly after the pandemic spread to the United States, Congress approved that taxpayers, who do not itemize their returns, can make up to $300 in charitable deductions and deduct them from their 2020 tax returns. This means your cash gift to the CMA will cost you nothing, andthe CMA will be sure to acknowledge your gift to include in your 2020 tax paperwork.

Your contribution will help the CMA earn its matching donation. An anonymous donor will contribute funds if the CMA secures enough donations by midnight, Thursday, May 7th! Your contribution will help the CMA succeed at winning this challenge.

There is no cost to enter, play, and relax in Harmony Park. Harmony Park is open to the public at no charge during Museum hours and special events hosted either on-site or in Parc International. It is a perfect playground venue in Downtown Lafayette, LA, as it is enclosed by fences and gates on all sides.

You will be in good company and your joy in giving can only be matched by the joy in all who visit. Your donation will enable you to be part of this venture of stimulating the mind with musical expression, and the ripple effect of your generosity will continue in Harmony Park, and the CMA, for decades to come. Join the many people and companies who have already made a donation including: Kiwanis of Acadiana, State Farm Charitable Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Walmart Foundation (Ambassador), William Martin “Mart” Hudson III Memorial Fund, and many individuals to whom the CMA is grateful.

If you can give, visit the CMA’s profile on South Louisiana Giving Day between now and midnight, Thursday, May 7th.

 

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Give to the CMA on South Louisiana Giving Day

In this post, the CMA shares how you can participate in improving Harmony Park.

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana (CMA) is in the midst of transforming the outdoor courtyard – Harmony Park – into a unique, family-friendly recreational venue, and we ask for your financial support. With your help, Harmony Park will become an attraction that will hit all the right notes. Imagine outdoor botanical themed musical instruments surrounding the play structure, bright solar lights, a commercial-grade shade structure ADA accessible picnic tables and benches, and an outdoor stereo speaker system playing vibrant tunes. The musical instruments will allow children to be the conductor of their own orchestra, solo drummer in a rock band, or pianist in Carnegie Hall. In Harmony Park children will release their creativity in the fresh outdoor air.

To raise money for these improvements, the CMA is participating in South Louisiana Giving Day this Thursday, May 7, 2020, because we realize when we come out at the other end of the pandemic response people will seek communal experiences. If you have the resources to participate in the development of Harmony Park, the CMA will make enhancements as funding allows.

Let us share a few reasons your involvement matters.

Outdoor spaces with family-friendly recreation are even more important than ever. The public spaces being made available to people first as states reopen are our outdoor spaces. Children learn through play so let’s take it outside! By enhancing Harmony Park, it will become an attraction that provides families an inclusive, comfortable, safe place for enriching recreation. In addition to being fun, engaging in music expression offers a plethora of benefits, and by installing musical instruments around the play structure will offer guests outlets to improve both their mental and physical health.

Your charitable donation will be deductible even if you don’t itemize. Shortly after the pandemic spread to the United States, Congress approved that taxpayers, who do not itemize their returns, can make up to $300 in charitable deductions and deduct them from their 2020 tax returns. This means your cash gift to the CMA will cost you nothing, andthe CMA will be sure to acknowledge your gift to include in your 2020 tax paperwork.

Your contribution will help the CMA earn its matching donation. An anonymous donor will contribute funds if the CMA secures enough donations by midnight, Thursday, May 7th! Your contribution will help the CMA succeed at winning this challenge.

There is no cost to enter, play, and relax in Harmony Park. Harmony Park is open to the public at no charge during Museum hours and special events hosted either on-site or in Parc International. It is a perfect playground venue in Downtown Lafayette, LA, as it is enclosed by fences and gates on all sides.

You will be in good company and your joy in giving can only be matched by the joy in all who visit. Your donation will enable you to be part of this venture of stimulating the mind with musical expression, and the ripple effect of your generosity will continue in Harmony Park, and the CMA, for decades to come. Join the many people and companies who have already made a donation including: Kiwanis of Acadiana, State Farm Charitable Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Walmart Foundation (Ambassador), William Martin “Mart” Hudson III Memorial Fund, and many individuals to whom the CMA is grateful.

If you can give, visit the CMA’s profile on South Louisiana Giving Day between now and midnight, Thursday, May 7th.

 

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Give to the CMA on South Louisiana Giving Day

In this post, the CMA shares how you can participate in improving Harmony Park.

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana (CMA) is in the midst of transforming the outdoor courtyard – Harmony Park – into a unique, family-friendly recreational venue, and we ask for your financial support. With your help, Harmony Park will become an attraction that will hit all the right notes. Imagine outdoor botanical themed musical instruments surrounding the play structure, bright solar lights, a commercial-grade shade structure ADA accessible picnic tables and benches, and an outdoor stereo speaker system playing vibrant tunes. The musical instruments will allow children to be the conductor of their own orchestra, solo drummer in a rock band, or pianist in Carnegie Hall. In Harmony Park children will release their creativity in the fresh outdoor air.

To raise money for these improvements, the CMA is participating in South Louisiana Giving Day this Thursday, May 7, 2020, because we realize when we come out at the other end of the pandemic response people will seek communal experiences. If you have the resources to participate in the development of Harmony Park, the CMA will make enhancements as funding allows.

Let us share a few reasons your involvement matters.

Outdoor spaces with family-friendly recreation are even more important than ever. The public spaces being made available to people first as states reopen are our outdoor spaces. Children learn through play so let’s take it outside! By enhancing Harmony Park, it will become an attraction that provides families an inclusive, comfortable, safe place for enriching recreation. In addition to being fun, engaging in music expression offers a plethora of benefits, and by installing musical instruments around the play structure will offer guests outlets to improve both their mental and physical health.

Your charitable donation will be deductible even if you don’t itemize. Shortly after the pandemic spread to the United States, Congress approved that taxpayers, who do not itemize their returns, can make up to $300 in charitable deductions and deduct them from their 2020 tax returns. This means your cash gift to the CMA will cost you nothing, andthe CMA will be sure to acknowledge your gift to include in your 2020 tax paperwork.

Your contribution will help the CMA earn its matching donation. An anonymous donor will contribute funds if the CMA secures enough donations by midnight, Thursday, May 7th! Your contribution will help the CMA succeed at winning this challenge.

There is no cost to enter, play, and relax in Harmony Park. Harmony Park is open to the public at no charge during Museum hours and special events hosted either on-site or in Parc International. It is a perfect playground venue in Downtown Lafayette, LA, as it is enclosed by fences and gates on all sides.

You will be in good company and your joy in giving can only be matched by the joy in all who visit. Your donation will enable you to be part of this venture of stimulating the mind with musical expression, and the ripple effect of your generosity will continue in Harmony Park, and the CMA, for decades to come. Join the many people and companies who have already made a donation including: Kiwanis of Acadiana, State Farm Charitable Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Walmart Foundation (Ambassador), William Martin “Mart” Hudson III Memorial Fund, and many individuals to whom the CMA is grateful.

If you can give, visit the CMA’s profile on South Louisiana Giving Day between now and midnight, Thursday, May 7th.

 

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Virtual Learning @ Home

This month the CMA shares how to access STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) activities for families with young children to do at home. 

Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home

With the closure of the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, the Museum’s educational programming has moved online with “Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home.” Visit  to access coloring sheets, the CMA’s Social Story, and videos that share a plethora of fun STEAM activities families with young children can do with materials found around the house. Join Lore Linton, Director of Guest Services, and her son, Drew, in interactive activities ranging from making Super Squishy Spring Time Slime and Crayon Resist Art to discovering chemical reactions with a homemade Mini Volcano Experiment. 

Join us for a Virtual Story Time

Follow the CMA’s Instagram feed  and  watch “Virtual Story Time” with Taja’ White, Miss Louisiana Collegiate America 2020, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020. Taja’ will be reading Kathryn Otoshi’s “One” and sharing we can all accept each other’s differences.

YouTube Channel and Facebook Feed

For even more activities subscribe to the CMA’s YouTube Channel as Lore and Dean demonstrate making Catapult Launchers, 4 Layer Density Towers, and more! On the CMA’s Facebook page guests can stay up to date about upcoming programs and events.

The CMA hopes everybody stays healthy, and our staff looks forward to seeing you at the Museum soon! We miss you!

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Virtual Learning @ Home

This month the CMA shares how to access STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) activities for families with young children to do at home. 

Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home

With the closure of the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, the Museum’s educational programming has moved online with “Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home.” Visit  to access coloring sheets, the CMA’s Social Story, and videos that share a plethora of fun STEAM activities families with young children can do with materials found around the house. Join Lore Linton, Director of Guest Services, and her son, Drew, in interactive activities ranging from making Super Squishy Spring Time Slime and Crayon Resist Art to discovering chemical reactions with a homemade Mini Volcano Experiment. 

Join us for a Virtual Story Time

Follow the CMA’s Instagram feed  and  watch “Virtual Story Time” with Taja’ White, Miss Louisiana Collegiate America 2020, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020. Taja’ will be reading Kathryn Otoshi’s “One” and sharing we can all accept each other’s differences.

YouTube Channel and Facebook Feed

For even more activities subscribe to the CMA’s YouTube Channel as Lore and Dean demonstrate making Catapult Launchers, 4 Layer Density Towers, and more! On the CMA’s Facebook page guests can stay up to date about upcoming programs and events.

The CMA hopes everybody stays healthy, and our staff looks forward to seeing you at the Museum soon! We miss you!

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Virtual Learning @ Home

This month the CMA shares how to access STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) activities for families with young children to do at home. 

Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home

With the closure of the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, the Museum’s educational programming has moved online with “Daily Discoveries: Virtual Learning @ Home.” Visit  to access coloring sheets, the CMA’s Social Story, and videos that share a plethora of fun STEAM activities families with young children can do with materials found around the house. Join Lore Linton, Director of Guest Services, and her son, Drew, in interactive activities ranging from making Super Squishy Spring Time Slime and Crayon Resist Art to discovering chemical reactions with a homemade Mini Volcano Experiment. 

Join us for a Virtual Story Time

Follow the CMA’s Instagram feed  and  watch “Virtual Story Time” with Taja’ White, Miss Louisiana Collegiate America 2020, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020. Taja’ will be reading Kathryn Otoshi’s “One” and sharing we can all accept each other’s differences.

YouTube Channel and Facebook Feed

For even more activities subscribe to the CMA’s YouTube Channel as Lore and Dean demonstrate making Catapult Launchers, 4 Layer Density Towers, and more! On the CMA’s Facebook page guests can stay up to date about upcoming programs and events.

The CMA hopes everybody stays healthy, and our staff looks forward to seeing you at the Museum soon! We miss you!

Have an idea for our next blog post?

Preventing the Spread of Germs

This month the CMA shares details with readers about how the Museum keeps its exhibits and components clean as well as tips for preventing the spread of germs. 

Clean up clean up everybody everywhere.
Clean up clean up everybody do your share.
Clean up clean up everybody everywhere.

Remember Barney’s Clean Up song? Even though the program shows kids picking up toys, it is just as applicable to keeping public spaces, like the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, germ-free. Nobody wants to come home from a fun day out to find themselves or children sick, and the CMA has protocols in place to keep the Museum as clean as possible and prevent the spread of germs.

CMA Cleaning Protocols

Before the CMA opens each day and after it closes each evening, Museum staff cleans Museum Exhibits thoroughly including the toys with a bleach and water solution. Restrooms are deep cleaned, floors are mopped, and carpets are vacuumed. During Museum hours, staff constantly monitors Exhibit and toy usage. If a big field trip or crowd comes through, staff wipes down surfaces and toys to sanitize them for the next round of visitors. After the pretend food in the Restaurant is handled, it is cleaned.  If a toddler puts a toy in their mouth, it gets removed to be sanitized and replaced with another toy. Staff check the restrooms every half hour to ensure they are clean and tidy. Every week, each Exhibit is deep cleaned which includes disinfecting toys either by wiping them down or running them through the washing machine. Every three to four days, the liquid used in The Bubble Factory Exhibit is replaced. Also, keeping the temperature low helps prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. (That’s why hospitals are always so cold.) With the frequent cleaning of surfaces and toys and cool environment, the CMA does everything it can to eliminate the spread of germs.

What Guests Can Do to Avoid Germs

Guests are encouraged to wash their hands frequently. Staff are required to wash their hands regularly. Hand soap and hand sanitizer are available in the restrooms. A hand sanitizer station is in the Museum lobby. The CDC recommends people avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs. Guests are encouraged to report to a staff member if the restrooms, exhibits, or objects need attention.

Germs Are Part of the Human Condition

Minimizing germs is important to staying healthy, but the truth is germs are everywhere – even in the cleanest homes and public spaces. Aside from isolating yourself from the outside world, there isn’t much you can do to prevent contact with cold or flu germs. In fact, there is an extreme example of a family isolated from the outside world for forty years suffering deadly consequences once they were re-exposed to germs. That said, you can and should take precautions to avoid germs from spreading throughout your family as does the CMA. As Robert W. Dolan, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, states some germs “are normal and live on or inside our bodies. If we got rid of all these germs they might be replaced with worse germs.

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Special Access for Kids with Special Needs

This month the CMA shares details with readers about, “Mornings at the Museum,” a program dedicated to serving special needs children and their families who want to visit the Museum during “off” hours.

Why Special Needs Kids Need Special Program

Do you know or have a child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or a sensory processing disorder? If not, you have probably come across a family with a special needs child at the grocery store or another public venue. At the time you may have thought to yourself, “Wow, that kid is out of control.” And, you were right for the wrong reasons. The child was out of control because they were overwhelmed, felt like they had no control, and didn’t have the means to communicate their emotions with their caregivers. Welcome to the world of kids with special needs.

How the CMA Helps Families with ASD and Sensory Processing Disorders

Kids with special needs are, well, special. They aren’t any more or less smart than other kids. They’re just wired differently. Kids with ASD or sensory processing disorders “feel” the world differently than other kids, and they don’t experience it identically to one another either. For caregivers, parenting these kids can be frustrating and challenging. The typical kid can visit a place like the Children’s Museum of Acadiana and have a good time. Sure, on an occasional visit they may have a melt-down. That’s normal. The special kids we’re talking about enter crisis-mode regularly, and getting them out of it seems impossible. Families with special needs children become so fearful of unknown triggers, they are afraid to leave the house. Literally.

To help these families, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana offers free private hours once a month so that they can enjoy the museum in relative isolation. The Museum limits each “Mornings at the Museum” event to fifteen children and their families – siblings are welcome as well – so that they feel like they have space and freedom to enjoy the Museum. Lights and sounds are turned down. Adaptive equipment such as headphones and weighted vests are available for use. The staff on hand is trained to interact and engage with these special guests and help them make the most of their visit. In addition to taking advantage of the CMA’s many hands-on exhibits, activities are offered that are specially designed with these kids in mind. Many of the exhibits are intentionally designed to include sensory equipment that these kids especially enjoy.

Removing Barriers to Inclusion – Why We Host Private Hours

Families with special needs kids feel hesitant about going out in public. The CMA believes that doesn’t mean they should be deprived of meaningful experiences. The CMA strives for inclusion of and accessibility for all children, and through “Mornings at the Museum” offers a safe, accessible, and welcoming environment to kids who need some extra T.L.C. All children benefit from the Museum’s offerings, and it is important for special needs children to enjoy experiences that enrich their lives. So, thanks to financial support from The Daily Advertiser’s parent company Gannett’s Foundation and the Billeaud Companies, the CMA offers private hours to families with these special kids for free. That’s right. There is no charge for special kids and caregivers to visit. We just ask for an r.s.v.p.

How to Sign Your Special Kid Up

If you have a special needs child, we hope you call us to rsvp for an upcoming “Mornings in the Museum.” Access the CMA’s “Social Story” online. We know some kids are at their best later in the day, so sometimes we host evening hours instead. Register online or call the Museum at 337-232-8500, and a spot will be reserved with your special kid’s name on it. If you still have concerns, share them. CMA staff will do everything they can to make your child’s experience a great one.

Upcoming “Mornings at the Museum” dates and times are:

February 2nd, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
March 1st, 2020 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 pm
April 12th, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
May 3rd, 2020 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

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The Benefits of CMA Membership

Welcome to the CMA’s inaugural blog post. This month the CMA launches an updated and simplified membership program for guests who want to support the Museum and visit often.

Why you should join

Membership makes visiting the CMA more carefree. What does that mean? Well, children’s museums are for children, and there are times children (and their adults) have had enough. Imagine you and your child have been at the Museum for 15 minutes and they launch into a full-blown, inconsolable tantrum. Without a membership you think about the money just spent on admission. With a membership you think about returning on another day. Imagine another scenario: your little one spends an hour in the Super 1 Grocery Store, then an hour in the Bubble Factory, and is ready to leave. Again, without a membership you think you haven’t been in most of the exhibits. With it, you think about returning another day. Membership takes the stress out of the equation. With membership, anytime the CMA offers special programs like the “Only One You” Literacy Workshops for Kids Ages 4-7 or art demonstrations by Louisiana Crafts Guild artisans you can come and participate at no extra charge.

Why the CMA is a great investment

Membership to the CMA exposes your child or children to a variety of educationally enriching activities in a safe environment and presents them in a way that is fun. From real world scenarios like preparing and serving meals in Cafe’ des Enfants or tending animals in Happy Paws Hospital to participating in ever-changing art activities in the ReUSEum the CMA always has something to engage young guests. When kids are out of school around holidays and throughout the summer, the CMA kicks into high gear offering “Daily Discoveries” workshops during which children can participate in a new and different STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) activity every day. No child who visits the CMA regularly will experience the dreaded summer slide!

The perks add value

CMA membership offers perquisites beyond unlimited admission during normal operating hours.

  • Discounted admission to special events. You save money on tickets to the CMA’s Easter, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s events.
  • Invitations to member-exclusive events. Four times a year the CMA hosts Member’s Nights with special activities at no additional charge.
  • Discounts on parties, camps, and gift shop purchases. Having a birthday party at the CMA is a rite of passage, our camps immerse campers in exciting themes like pirates, and have you checked out the gift shop recently? There’s good stuff in there.
  • Discount on admission to other participating children’s museums. Over 200 children’s museums
  • – all with unique offerings – participate in membership reciprocity!

In closing

More and more research reveals kids need the type of hands-on exploratory play on offer at children’s museums for healthy child development. Young children thrive in environments they can explore. And, children need unstructured play to hone developmental skills like fine and gross motor skills as well as immerse themselves in creative play. The CMA is a place where children can build foundations for future success, and it is simply a wonderful place for them to go with adults they love to make memories. To purchase a CMA membership, click here

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