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Kids In Action! Healthy Living Exhibit debuts at Children’s Museum

A new exhibit opens Saturday at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.

The Kids in Action! Healthy Living exhibit opens with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, in the east wing of the Museum. The exhibit opening will feature special activities in the gym and drawings for door prizes throughout the day, with one week of summer camp as the grand door prize. The museum is open until 4 p.m. Saturday.

A members’ sneak preview of the new exhibit will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the museum, which is at 461 West Outer Drive in Oak Ridge. Museum visitors may join that evening if they wish to participate in the sneak preview.

“The exhibit is an opportunity for kids to learn through play where their food comes from. We have a henhouse and a farmers’ market. Children and families can learn about making healthy food choices,” Beth Shea, the museum’s executive director, said in a press release about the “Healthy Eating” part of the exhibit.

The “Healthy Activity” section of the exhibit encourages kids and families to keep healthy and fit through exercise and movement.

“With childhood obesity rates still so high, it is important for us to offer these kinds of experiences for children and their families,” Shea said.

A mural on one wall encourages kids to “Bike – Run – Stretch – Jump – Swim – Dance.” They will have child-friendly exercise equipment, an exercise bar with suggested movements, and space to jump, stretch, and dance. “Healthy Eating” offers toy vegetables on a produce truck, bins of fruit, and an apple tree, with the exhibit’s mascot Peppy Pepper encouraging healthy snacks and eating foods all colors of the rainbow.

The exhibit was made possible by a $137,108 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2014. Mary Ann Damos—the retired museum director who proposed the exhibit, won the grant, and oversaw the exhibit’s creation—will return for the ribbon cutting. Owen Design Group, of Nashville, designed and fabricated the exhibit. Muralist Gale Hinton painted the mural in the exhibit’s Healthy Activities section.

Matching contributions for the grant came from sponsors, including the Grainger Foundation, a private foundation based in Lake Forest, Illinois, and presented by a representative of W.W. Grainger Inc. in Knoxville; East Tennessee Children’s Hospital; and Oak Ridge Panhellenic Alumnae.

The Museum is still seeking sponsors to add a few more items to the Healthy Living exhibit, Shea said. Any organization or individual interested should contact her at the museum at (865) 482-1074.

“The Healthy Living exhibit is really part of a continuum of experiences at the museum,” she said. “The exhibit connects with the Environmental Learning Center and Garden, where children who participate in summer camps and classes can plant and harvest from the garden, and take produce from the garden to prepare something to eat.”

The Children’s Museum, offering children and families the opportunity for learning through play, is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Museum admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 62 and older, and $6 for children ages 3-18. Admission is free for children under 3 and museum members. For more information, see the Children’s Museum website at http://childrensmuseumofoakridge.org/ or call (865) 482-1074.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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