Exhibits At The Children's Museum

Mary's Garden & Ella's Art Studio - Exhibits

In June 2014, the Children's Museum of Sonoma County opened Mary's Garden and Ella's Art Studio full-time to the public.  Interactive exhibits are designed for hands-on play, perfect for families with children ages 10 years and younger.

Mechanical Waterplay Area

With an apparent magnetic, magical pull, nothing draws children more quickly than water play! A series of galvanized steel water tables cascade from high to low providing opportunities for extensive outdoor water experimentation and exploration. Children build dams, float objects down stream, create floods, waterfalls, waves and more. A wealth of learning takes place through pouring, dumping, filling, pumping, funneling, straining and sifting!

(available for sponsorship - email for more information)


Hydroelectricity Exhibit,

Learn about hydroelectricity and how to generate energy using gravity and water.  Gravity pulls water down and moves it through a turbine. When flowing water turns a turbine, a generator in the center of the turbine transforms the motion (or kinetic energy!) into electrical energy.  The faster the turbine moves, the more electricity it generates.

Sponsored by Pacific Gas & Electric


Russian River Waterway

The Russian River water feature will begin with a spring as the headwater. The water flows from the ground from atop a high point, then cascades down a hill. There are a series of small stone basins, each holding the water until it spills into the next tier. This will feed into the ‘Russian River’.

(available for sponsorship - email for more information)


Salmon Lifecycle

A salmon lifecycle exhibit integrated into the ‘Russian River’ waterway providing an exciting and important educational element related to the sustainability of Sonoma County’s ecosystem.

Sponsored by the Sonoma County Water Agency


Soft Sculpture Caterpillar

This three foot high soft sculpture will be large enough to illustrate the detailed beauty of a caterpillar’s colors and markings.  The hearts and imaginations of children will be captured as they climb on and experience a caterpillar from a tactile perspective as well as visual.

(available for sponsorship - email for more information)


Mary the Butterfly, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente

Mary, the butterfly, is the focus in the garden and cars and pedestrians can see this main butterfly exhibit as they pass by the museum. This sculpture will mechanically flap her wings when children team up to pull and push levers that provide movement. Learn about the physics of simple machines and explore Mary’s metamorphosis into a butterfly at this interactive exhibit!

Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente

Renewable Energy Butterflies - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

Within the nature walk, three separate butterflies that will allow visitors to experience wind, solar and simple machine features. Sculptures will vary in size and height to allow children of all ages the opportunity to try and see if they can make the butterflies move.  Learning about renewable energies provides valuable education that children can take with them as good stewards of the land and our resources.
Using a simple machine, children use their own energy the flutter the wings of this interactive butterfly.  With large wings formed by solar panels, small butterfly wings take flight when children expose the exhibit’s leaves to light.  Through powering a mini-windmill by hand, children make this butterfly soar.  And on windy days in Sonoma County, this butterfly takes flight all on its own.

Gravel Exploration Pit - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

Designed to illustrate the Sonoma County coastline, this exhibit is similar to a sand pit, but with a completely different feel!  Pea gravel allows young diggers to sort, dump, build and play with their hands, shovels, trucks and more.  Explore how soft gravel feels while you dig for buried items!
Bubbling rocks recycle water from the Russian River exhibit, adding another powerful and tactile element to the Gravel Pit.  Build an elaborate water system, catch pretend salmon from the miniature Russian River, load dump trucks to haul away treasure and ‘water-paint’ on the stones.

Tractor - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

Climb aboard this real life 1940’s tractor and imagine you are operating the vehicle!  Kids can climb into the cars seating or any other part of the vehicle.  Kids can learn about the history of tools used in farming while they play on and in the tractor!

Butterfly Egg - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

Climb into this interactive butterfly egg and learn about what it feels like to be in the first stage of a butterfly's life cycle!

Chrysalis - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

Curl up in this hammock like chrysalis exhibit!  Learn about how a caterpillar forms a chrysalis as it prepares to become a butterfly and act out what it would be like if you were a caterpillar in that stage!

Windmill - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

A windmill is one of the most energy efficient and ingenious ways ever devised to pump water from under the ground. A windmill harnesses the free and renewable energy of the wind and uses that energy to lift underground water to the surface for farm and ranch uses.  Because windmills are so efficient and durable, the basic design hasn’t changed in almost 150 years. The secret lies in the way a windmill harnesses the wind’s energy to power ingenious water pump located deep underground.

Redwood Fairy Ring - (available for sponsorship - email for more information)

A grouping of beautiful native California redwoods where visitors can gather to hear a story or just sit and enjoy the coolness of the space on a warm summer day.

Imagination Playground, sponsored by Dean Foundation, Alan & Susan Seidenfeld and Jessica & Mike Sutton

Stack, build, and engineer with your child when you play with these blue blocks. Constructing towers helps children build their gross motor skills and talking about the process provides lots of opportunities to practice language skills. Pass me the long, floppy noodle that’s near the short rectangle, please!

Creativity Window Canvas, sponsored by St. Joseph Health Annadel Medical Center Pediatrics

Located in the corner of Main Street Sonoma County below the charming Victorian House, children will enjoy playing with the puppet theater or listening to stories at regularly scheduled story times throughout the week.  With playful and whimsical puppets of all kinds to play with, children will delight in thinking up plays and acting them out for family members and visitors.   During story time, the puppet theater will be transformed into a cozy place for children to gather together and curl up next to loved ones as they listen books being read aloud or a dramatic storyteller weave magical worlds from words, music and images.