Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Children's Museum Sprinkled with Ideas; Its Creator Uses Fun as Kids' Learning Tool

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Children's Museum Sprinkled with Ideas; Its Creator Uses Fun as Kids' Learning Tool

Article excerpt

Byline: Alliniece T. Andino, Times-Union staff writer

Everything at Sprinkles' Children's Museum was just the right size for 3-year-old Amanda Hartwell.

She went to pedal around the mini-carousel, then to slip on a pink dress from the costume corner, then to tickle the baby baby grand piano keys, then to shop at the market.

"They like the freedom to be able to go from one thing to another," said Amanda's mother, Dianna Hartwell. "I think it sparks their imagination."

Five days a week for three hours a day, it's not unusual to see children tugging adults through the museum. It's common to hear clanging cymbals, banging bongos and children's screams and squeals within the 5,000 square feet of the museum.

But many Jacksonville residents don't know about Sprinkles'. They don't know that housed in the basement of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum on the southern edge of Springfield is an indoor playground that attracted nearly 20,000 visitors last year.

Another Sprinkles' Children's Museum is being planned for the Mandarin Landing Shopping Center at San Jose Boulevard and Interstate 295. Museum Director Cheryl Alleman, who doubles as Sprinkles the Clown, expects the new museum to open the first week in May.

The second Sprinkles' museum will simulate a miniature city with kid-sized shops for children to pop into and role-play careers.

"When they know the choices, then they'll know what kind of education they will need," Alleman said.

The concept of "when I grow up" is something both museums will share.

The Sprinkles' museum in Springfield includes a Shands Jacksonville Kid's Career Center where a Sesame Street Ernie doll is the patient. Children dress up as nurses and doctors, look at real X-rays and inspect medical instruments.

In other areas, they can lift foam weight sets, buy and sell plastic fruit or ride a colorful horse on a carousel powered by pedals. …

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