Children's Museum To Reopen In Everett -- Hands-On Exhibits Are Highlights; Facility To Move Again In 18 Months

EVERETT - Feel like visiting France, but you're just a kid living in Snohomish County?

No problem, mademoiselle or monsieur.

Just pull up a chair in the French cafe at the new Children's Museum of Snohomish County and order a taste of haute cuisine from a French-language menu. While you're waiting, take in the scene of children bustling about the French bakery and the produce market across the way.

If that setting is not for you, pardner, mosey on over to the Snohomish County homestead set in the 1800s. You can learn how to earn your keep by sweeping the front porch, brushing the horse or cooking over the campfire.

The two sets will be among the featured attractions at the museum, which will reopen Sunday after being homeless since last year. The museum was evicted from the Marysville Mall when new management opted to rent the space to another tenant.

Although museum officials kept active during the year by lending exhibits to schools, it seemed incomplete not to have a home for the museum, said Diane Covington, its executive director.

"A children's museum needs to have a home," she said. "There needs to be a place for children to go."

But even this new location will be only a temporary home for the museum.

The exhibits will be on display at the Colby Avenue location for 18 months as part of a service contract with the city of Everett. Covington said museum officials will pay a monthly discounted rate of $1,000 for the space while working with a budget of less than $60,000.

The museum then will contract with the county to permanently set up shop at McCollum County Park near Mill Creek.

Covington said many exhibits at the temporary museum, including the French set and the medieval-themed Creative Castle, are new. But the idea of social interaction between children as they cook and shop in a city setting remains from the former site, she said.

At Creative Castle, children can dress as kings or queen in velvet capes or become puppet masters and put on their own shows.

Three personal computers will be available for children interested in improving their math and spelling skills. The museum still has an area for children to create their own art piece from recycled items.

The search for the temporary, 4,000-square-foot home was long, but Covington is pleased it's finally over.

"We will have a place from now on," she said.

----------- GRAND OPENING -------------

The Children's Museum in Snohomish County will host its grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at 3013 Colby Ave., Everett. The museum's regular hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $2. Children under 2 are admitted free. For further information, call the museum at 258-1006.