Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQs

How long will the Children’s Museum remain closed?

Due to the pandemic, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County temporarily closed to the public as of Saturday, March 12. CMOSC made this decision before government authorities mandated public closures. Soon after, many art and cultural institutions followed suit in accordance with the social distancing guidelines recommended by public health officials to stop or slow the spread of the coronavirus. We are proud of the early action we took to protect the health and safety of our members, our team, and our community. It is for this reason that the Board of Directors has made the very difficult decision to keep the Children’s Museum closed until 2021.

How will this affect my membership?

CMOSC is committed to extending all active memberships to cover the full length of this closure. For memberships purchased before April 13, 2020, we will apply an additional two months to show appreciation for your patience during this challenging time. Member support means so much to us, and we want to ensure there is every chance to visit and take advantage of all the membership benefits. Expiration dates will be adjusted once we know when the Museum is able to reopen. Meanwhile, we are optimistic that you will be able to engage with the Children’s Museum in numerous ways online.

What if I have field trips, events, parties, or trainings scheduled during the closure?

Like Museums across the globe, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County temporarily closed our doors out of concern for the health and well-being of our community. Regrettably, we have had to pause taking new birthday party reservations, field trips, and other activities. We are sad to deliver what might be disappointing news and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact aymie@cmosc.org

What can we do while the Children’s Museum is closed?

The Children’s Museum has explored new ways to engage with the community and has increased its social media presence with resources for its audience that include videos, articles, art and science projects, and educational resources for parents who are suddenly the primary educators for their children. These are all available on the Children’s Museum’s new PLAYology Playbook webpage.

To continue learning and playing remotely, please visit our website and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter. We invite you to use the Children’s Museum’s website as a family resource; we will share information, safety practices, and fun suggestions for home learning through play on the website. Please visit our blog and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. We are providing activities that use basic household items to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

What is the Children’s Museum planning?

The Children’s Museum is excited and hopeful for the future. We are using this time effectively: the exhibits will be refreshed, programs revamped, and new concepts included. Our plans for the expansion of the Children’s Museum are moving forward as scheduled, including the completion of the Space Odyssey for Galactic Explorers, and the design and building of a new outdoor exhibit called FortFAM, an adventure area will have construction tools to build forts, spaces to hide, and things to investigate.

How can I help support the Children’s Museum?

Your support is more vital now than ever. Please help us continue our mission to inspire curiosity and creativity through joyful, transformative experiences by donating today.

How will my donation be used during the closure?

Your support ensures that the Children’s Museum can continue to provide online resources, programs, and activities to families at home during this challenging time. Donations will help the Children’s Museum adjust for lost revenue during this time. Finally, your investment is an investment in the future of the Children’s Museum.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes, donations are tax-deductible in the United States. The Children’s Museum is a registered 501(c)(3), and our U.S. federal EIN is 20-3496878.

I am an existing donor – will any of my donations go to COVID-19?

No. Only donations specifically marked for COVID-19 relief at point of donation will be designated for emergency relief funding due to the impact of COVID-19. Donations marked for annual giving, programs, or capital (or those donations marked “undesignated”) will not be used in emergency relief efforts.

Why do we need resources like the Children’s Museum?

When we reopen, we will be on the front lines of helping children and families cope with the trauma they have experienced by providing opportunities to play through their experiences. Until we reopen, resources and activities will be updated regularly.

What is the evidence on play-based experiences?

Research shows impact across a range of outcomes. Learn more on our research page.

Will Children’s Museum staff be available for questions?

The Children’s Museum’s staff is working from home during its public closure. Team members are available by email and telephone for questions.

General FAQs

What are the Children’s Museum’s hours?

Temporarily Closed until further notice.
OPEN
• Wednesday – Monday: 9am – 4pm
• Sundays: 9am – 11am for Members only; 11am – 4pm for everyone
CLOSED
• Tuesdays (open select Tuesdays during winter, spring and summer school breaks)
• Holiday Closures: New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day
• Annual maintenance closure (see calendar for dates)

Where should I park?

The Children’s Museum has limited parking. On busy days it can fill up quickly. Please only park in our parking lot or on the public streets.
Please do not park in the Charles M. Schulz Museum or Snoopy’s Home Ice parking lots.

Can I get to the Children’s Museum with public transportation?

Yes, the Children’s Museum is accessible through the Santa Rosa City Bus Route 11. The bus stops directly in front of the Children’s Museum.

How much do you charge for admission?

• Adults & Children: $12
• Babies 0 – 11 months: FREE
Members: FREE
• For information on discounts, see the Visit page

Why do adults have to pay for admission if they won’t be playing?

During a visit to the Children’s Museum, adults are invited to explore the exhibits together with their little ones. As a not-for-profit organization that subsidizes each entrance, we count on admission dollars to keep the Children’s Museum open.

Does the Museum have free days?

The Museum does not have free days.

What if we can’t afford to pay admission?

The Children’s Museumdoes not turn away visitors due to lack of funds. Families are welcome to visit the museum on a pay-what-you-can basis. To participate, tell the front desk staff that you wish to enter under the open door policy.

I am an adult and would like to visit the Museum by myself? May I?

For safety reasons, adults not accompanied by a child are not allowed in to the Museum unless they have arranged an appointment or tour. Please contact us by phone or email (info@cmosc.org) if you would like a tour.

What age range is the Museum designed for?

The Museum is designed for children ages 0 – 10.

Is there a limit of how many children 1 adult can bring?

Yes, we require 1 adult for every 4 children visiting the Children’s Museum.

What kind of activities does the Children’s Museum have?

The Children’s Museum offers a variety of self-directed, interactive experiences that encourage exploration, experimentation, and discovery.  Let the Science & Imagination Gallery fuel your imagination: produce a box office hit in the puppet theatre or play a 3-star menu in the retro diner.  Outside, explore Mary’s Garden, take flight in the winged Ornithopter, find fish in the Russian River, or build waterways in the Sonoma Coastline gravel area.

Do you have a list of your events happening at the Children’s Museum?

Yes. Events are listed on the Calendar and on the Events page.

I want to bring my 1-year-old into Totopia, why can’t my 5-year-old come as well?

Totopia is a multi-sensory experience designed for infants and toddlers only. This exhibit offers crawlers, early walkers, and toddlers a safe and stimulating environment to explore. If you have older children, we recommend bringing another adult to supervise them in the other areas of the Children’s Museum, while you enjoy this space with your wee one.

My parents are here with me and are watching my child, may I sit and work on my laptop while they play?

We encourage all of our visitors to interact and engage with each other and their children. Even if your child is being supervised by other grown-ups, we ask visitors to save their work for another time. Limited space at shared tables also makes laptop use and other similar work an activity best saved for another time and place.

 Do I need to make a reservation to bring my group to visit the Children’s Museum?

Yes, groups are required to make a reservation ahead of time to receive group rates. 
Unregistered groups will be expected to pay full price, and may be turned away at the door due to capacity limits.
Please see the Group Visits page under Visit for more information.

May we celebrate our child’s birthday at the Children’s Museum?

We love to have children visit the Children’s Museum on their birthday! For the comfort of all our visitors, the Children’s Museum cannot accommodate unscheduled parties at our picnic tables. Please see the Birthday Parties page to book your celebration.

Are strollers allowed in the Children’s Museum?

Strollers are allowed in Mary’s Garden only. Stroller parking is available at the entrance to the garden.

Do you sell food at the Children’s Museum?

There are two healthy snack vending machines in Mary’s Garden.

Where can we enjoy a snack or lunch?

There are a number of outdoor picnic tables in Mary’s Garden. Food is not allowed in any of our exhibit areas. Please enjoy all food at our picnic tables only.

Picnic tables are for family dining only and are expected to be shared. Staff may ask families to give up their table after 30 minutes of use if there are others waiting to find seating. Tables cannot be reserved or saved, and birthday parties in the picnic area are not permitted.

Where can I store my personal items?

Open cubbies are available in the lobby on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not leave valuables in the cubbies.

Can I drop my kids off to play?

No; adult supervision is required for all children at all times.

We purchased admission to the Children’s Museum this morning.  Can we re-enter if we go out for lunch and want to come back?

Yes! Stamp your hand or wrist at the front desk on your way out and you can show the staff person when you return.

How can I volunteer at the Children’s Museum? How old do I have to be to volunteer? What would I be doing as a volunteer?

For information on volunteering and to apply to volunteer, please see the Volunteer page under Give.

At times, the Children’s Museum is too loud for my child. What can we do?

The Children’s Museum has a limited number of noise-reducing headphones available to borrow when you ask at the front desk.   

Where can I nurse my child?

The Children’s Museum does not currently have specific nursing areas of the Museum, however we do have a comfy couch in the Family Resource Center (located in the Science & Imagination Gallery), as well as benches and picnic tables in shady areas.

Can we have our shoes off while in the Children’s Museum?

No. For safety reasons, shoes must be worn at all times and in all areas except Totopia.

Why can’t I put my feet in the river?

The water in the Mini Russian River exhibit is not treated with chemicals. Only UV filtration systems are utilized to allow fish and frogs to share the river as it filters into the wetlands area. Putting feet in the river adds germs and pollutants which make the water dirty and unfit for play and creature habitats.

What is the story behind Ella’s Art Studio?

The Loving Ella Foundation generously donated funding to create Ella’s Art studio in memory of Ella Bisbee, a very young artist from Sonoma County.

Happenings

Aug 12
Aug 13
Aug 14

Toddler Playdate

10:00am – 11:00am
Aug 19

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