Kids Rule – Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

Kids set their own game rules at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.

(photo by John Burgess)

Kids set their own game rules at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, a colorful new addition to the playscape.

Young visitors are free to invent their own games and activities, so they “can really make it their own,” Rohnert Park teacher Lori Stark said during a recent visit. “It leaves a lot of room for creativity.”

Built to inspire creative fun and imaginative discovery, the museum in Santa Rosa offers engaging activities for little ones, including water play, fort building, art studio, marble run construction set, play market, even a boulder-studded “Russian River” filled with fish to net and set in a flowering landscape.

Water tables with hand pumps, tubing, water runs and sluice gates invite youngsters to learn about the forces that generate hydroelectric power.

The outdoor garden features interactive stations illustrating the life cycle of the butterfly, which introduces children to solar power and crank mechanics, with colorful wings for them to wear and a kid-sized chrysalis to duck into.

Initially existing as a collection of mobile exhibits, the museum opened at its permanent location in March. A second phase is under construction and will house a Science and Imagination Gallery and TOTtopia, for toddlers. Colored viewing bubbles set into the wall allow visitors to see what’s to come, generating excitement in advance.

The museum is open daily except for Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $7 for nonmembers, and free for members and those under 12 months.

1835 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa,