Categorized | Family, Kids, Living, People

Please Touch Museum Brings Family Fun Through May

By AML Publisher
Photos courtesy of Belle Vie Photography

Hip cats can learn to appreciate jazz as the museum’s 18th annual junior jazz festival winds down this weekend.

Hip cats can learn to appreciate jazz as the museum’s 18th annual junior jazz festival winds down this weekend.

The 18th Annual Junior Jazz Festival

Hip young cats across the Delaware Valley take note! It’s time for Please Touch Museum’s jazziest festival of the year! The 18th Annual Junior Jazz Festival, the only area event to introduce young children to the wonderful world of jazz, is winding down this week at Memorial Hall. The fun family event transforms the museum into the biggest and hippest jazz club around! Live music, theater performances, and educational activities will fill the museum for five weeks focusing on musical expression and the history of jazz. “Jazz is a genre for everyone to enjoy,” explained Francis Coates, the museum’s music coordinator. “Music and embracing the creative arts is so important to the development of children and their education. It encourages creativity and discipline that translates into many areas of life-science, math, and improvement of speech patterns. And, jazz is fun! Every performance we have had this month has been filled, so parents should come at least thirty minutes early to make sure they can get in,” enthused Coates.

Top kid-friendly musicians will take the stage of the museum’s Playhouse through February 28th. And, kids will also learn a bit of jazz history by taking in a Please Touch Playhouse performance of “Scat Cat’s Junior Jazz Jamboree.” This interactive show tells the “tail” of an everyday alley cat who happens upon “Max Roach,” who teaches her the history of jazz. Max also introduces her to some of the well known artists who made it popular—Stingray Charles, Bunny Goodman, Louie Arm and Hammerstrong and Piggy Lee. “Scat Cat’s Junior Jazz Jamboree” will be on the Please Touch Playhouse stage weekdays February 1-26, with performances Mondays-Fridays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Free with museum admission.

Main Line and Philly-area families can escape the winter chill and head indoors to the Museum for a unique environmental education exhibit-‘Exploring Trees Inside and Out.’

Main Line and Philly-area families can escape the winter chill and head indoors to the Museum for a unique environmental education exhibit-‘Exploring Trees Inside and Out.’

Special Performance Schedule

Performances take place Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and are free with museum admission. Schedule is subject to change. Free with museum admission.

Saturday, Feb. 27
Francis Coates Ensemble

Making its debut at the 2010 Jazz Festival, this young ensemble adapts jazz standards for both parents and children to enjoy.

Sunday, Feb. 28
Putumayo

Making its debut at the 2010 Jazz Festival, Putumayo Kids is sure to entertain with fun music that educates, while inspiring cultural curiosity.

Big Band Swing Dance Party
Noon & 2 p.m.
Under the direction of Matthew Schwartz, the St. Joe’s Prep Jazz Band will have all our little jazz cats swingin’ to the music as we hold a Big Band Swing Dance Party in Hamilton Hall to end our Junior Jazz Festival in style! Four swing dancers will also take the floor and demonstrate their moves to all the junior dolls and daddy-os.

Everyone enjoys a carousel!

Everyone enjoys a carousel!

Exploring Trees Inside and Out

Main Line and Philly-area families can escape the winter chill and head indoors to the Museum for a unique environmental education exhibit-“Exploring Trees Inside and Out.” Presented by Doubletree Hotels and the Arbor Day Foundation, “Exploring” is a national traveling exhibit that opened at the museum on Saturday, January 23. At a time when Philadelphia and its 63 parks are experiencing the traditional winter chill, spring will be in full swing at the museum as children and families warm up to the sounds of woodland creatures beneath colorful green tree canopies.

This three-year touring environmental education project encourages family members of all ages to explore the beauty of the great outdoors through the wonders of trees. The spacious, 2,500-square-foot exhibit, developed by Arbor Day and the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, is designed to create a better understanding among children age two to 10 about the significant role trees play in the environment. A variety of interactive activities encourage children to explore trees in a multi-sensory way through its fun-packed and educational components. For example, children will be able to:

  • Crawl through a log and experience it as a habitat for other living things
  • Help a seed “grow” into a young oak inside a huge acorn
  • Explore the “heart” of a tree trunk and move the “blood” of the tree up and down its “veins”
  • Smell scents from various trees, then discover just a few of the many products we get from trees
  • Hear the sounds of animals that live in trees, and even become a forest creature in a “green screen” experience that allows children to fly like a bird and soar over the treetops
Please Touch Museum's Autism Access Program with Holly Robinson Peete is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th from 6 to 9 p.m.

Please Touch Museum's Autism Access Program with Holly Robinson Peete is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th from 6 to 9 p.m.

Exploring Trees Inside and Out will be on display at Please Touch Museum through May 1, 2010.

Autism Access Program with Holly Robinson Peete

Please Touch Museum’s Autism Access Program with Holly Robinson Peete is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th from 6 to 9 p.m. The Museum is teaming up with Variety, the Children’s Charity of Greater Philadelphia, for its first evening event for families of children with autism. The evening of hands-on, interactive, sensory-filled activities will take place at Please Touch on Saturday, March 27 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Children of all ages are welcome. The event is a partnership between Variety’s Autism Initiative, which provides support for families and caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Please Touch Museum’s Autism Access Program, which aims to provide families of children with ASD with innovative tools to make a museum visit more comfortable and enjoyable.

Families can connect with caregivers and other professionals while exploring and playing in the museum’s exhibits, where accommodations have been made to provide a sensory-friendly experience for all. A highlight of the event will be a reading in the Museum’s Story Castle by actress Holly Robinson Peete and her twelve-year-old daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete. Their new Scholastic picture book, “My Brother Charlie,” will be published on March 16 to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April.

Tickets are required to attend the event and are available at a cost of a $20 donation per family. One hundred percent of the $20 donation will go towards the growth of Variety’s Autism Initiative. Families must register for the event at www.varietyphila.org. Organizations interested in sponsoring a resource table at the event may contact Marissa Tabak, Variety’s Autism Resource Center Director, at marissatabak@varietyphila.org.

Please Touch Museum® at Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park is dedicated to enriching the lives of children by providing learning opportunities through play. Recognized locally and nationally as one of the best children’s museums, Please Touch is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and children age one and over. Children under one are free. For more information, please call 215-581-3181, or visit www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.

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