A family-focused creative place of discovery, Explore-It-Torium Children’s Museum of Marion provides hands-on learning for children ages 2 through 12. “We want to thank the community for getting us through the COVID pandemic with their generous donations, which also provided funding to improve, update and change our exhibits so that guests always have a new experience with each visit,” stated Cindy Binns, Director. The children’s museum, a non-profit organization, was closed from March through July 2020 due to the pandemic.
Last fall, Explore-It-Torium was excited to present their first Escape Room in the Wizard’s Workshop. “Escape rooms provide the opportunity for a safe, fun family adventure, free from social interaction with individuals not in your bubble. They are also educational and help children develop critical thinking and problem-solving
skills,” stated Binns. Their escape rooms are staged in the room that was formerly used for birthday parties. “Due to COVID restrictions of gatherings no larger than 10 people, and for the safety of our guests, we stopped hosting parties in March of 2020. Our party room has now been transformed into the Lost Mummy’s Tomb. Guests will attempt to solve puzzles and find out the mummy’s identity before time runs out. Following the escape room adventure, families may play in the museum for an unlimited amount of time.” Escape room admission is $10.00 per person.
The team has been busy adding a Vet’s Office in the Little City area with funds from Junior Service Guild. This recently opened with a Love Your Pet celebration throughout the museum and features pet-themed crafts in the art room, habitat building in the Maker Space, and a drawing for prize winners in the pet-themed scavenger hunt.
A sensory integration project is also underway in the building of a sensory room with funds provided by the Marion Community Foundation, the director stated. “Our Barnyard is growing with the addition of a Farmhouse Kitchen through a grant courtesy of the Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative Community Fund. Changes are happening all of the time!”
Binns said that she was encouraged to establish this community resource after her preschool teaching position ended with the closing of the former Tri-Rivers Career Center preschool several years ago. This career transition gave her a chance to pause, rethink the next phase, and research new opportunities. The former teacher traveled all over the country, visiting and learning from other children’s museums and activity centers, including Curious Kids’ Museum in St. Josephs, Michigan; the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and, Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield, just to name a few. After studying social work at Marion Technical College, Binns later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. “Operating the Explore-It-Torium really combines all of my strengths and experiences into one rewarding role,” she said.
The Explore-It-Torium is open Fridays from 11 am to 4 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. If a youth group, homeschooling group, or scout troop wishes to come during special hours, please contact the museum at 740-206-9097 to make arrangements. Admission is only $5.00 per person ages 1 to 100. For updates on activities and hours, check their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Explore.IT.torium.ofMarion.