It's been nearly two years in the making, but the Chico Children's Museum in downtown is finally close to opening its doors.
Founder Dana Leslie said they chose to cover the windows of the museum during the long construction which she said created a lot of speculation and intrigue as to what was happening inside.
But Wednesday night, all the window coverings were removed, giving the public their first glimpse into the space.
“The community deserved that element of surprise, Leslie said. “So much to their dismay, we covered everything and made them wait so that we could do a big reveal.”
The museum includes an imaginary veterinarian's office, a dentist's office and even a farm that teaches kids what it takes to get food from farm to table.
Leslie said she hopes the museum will be an immersive experience where kids can learn through play year-round.
“So that when it's too hot or too cold, the kids will still be able to have the wonder and the magic of nature, but inside,” she said.
Board member Ashley Dekellis said kids learn best through playing and hands-on experiences.
“So they love to model what their parents do in the kitchen,” she said. “So we have everything from these mixers to a full refrigerator, stove, an entire kitchen setup in our pretend cafe.”
Leslie said her inspiration for the project came from her own daughter who expressed a desire to do more creative activities.
“I started looking for places I could do that with her,” Leslie said. “And I decided we needed to create more play spaces that were educational.”
She said the museum has been a long time in the making because they were gifted the building long before they had funding to complete the project.
But they still need to raise about $150,000 before opening their doors.
And they're asking the public for help with that final push as well as with furnishing some of the exhibits.
“It's everything we need to get our doors open, anything for five-dollar items and up, little mixers, little fake food,” Dekellis said. “Anything from that to furniture and some of the larger pieces that are going to go into the exhibit.”
You can click here to learn more about the Chico Children’s Museum or to donate.
Or you can check out their wish list to help furnish some of their smaller needs.