WAIPOULI — The excitement can’t help but be infectious when the primary designer and creator of a new children’s science exhibit is so into it that she goes out and collects her own calcite to add to the realism of the exhibit.
“Jana Rothenberg actually went out and dug up the deposits of calcite,” said Susan Little, executive director of the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum said.
The sounds of happy keiki told the story of the shared excitement on opening day of the Kids Kaua’i educational playhouse Rothenberg and others created at the museum at Kaua’i Village Shopping Center.
Rothenberg collected the calcite deposits on the island so keiki visiting the new display would be able to see first-hand those actual deposits.
The Kids Kauai portion of the KCDM opened Saturday to many residents and visitors who took advantage of a “free day” (admission waived) to check out not only the new display, but experience the hula display that Little said is on loan from leaders of the Bishop Museum.
“The Kids Kauai display ties together all the peripheral displays and is a permanent display,” Little said. “The idea for Kids Kauai was conceived by former director Robin Mazor, with Rothenberg coming up with the academic concepts and design.”
One of the facets of Kids Kauai utilizes watershed concepts, and drew the interest of keiki and adults alike as they watched a raindrop, symbolized by a white, plastic, practice golf ball, make its journey from the sky to the ocean.
The dynamic display utilizes a series of pipe flow ways as well as a rope lift to demonstrate how the water recycles to the atmosphere once it reaches the ocean.
A climbing wall in the volcano section leads keiki to the top of the mount where the calcite cave is located somewhere in the valleys of Waimea Canyon.
“Where in the world am I?” greets youngsters entering the Kids Kauai, a globe to help navigate greeting patrons at the stairways that lead to a maze of adventure and learning.
“It’s a stunning beauty,” Little said. “It’s like a living painting.”
Little said that there are plans to convert one of the rooms in the back of the museum to center around the Kids Commotion concept, with that phase scheduled to open later this year.
The Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum is located in the whale tower at the Kaua’i Village shopping center off Kuhio Highway in Waipouli.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.