Supporters of the Children’s Discovery Museum will feel like they are strolling through the streets of Paris from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Spring Creek Event Center.
They will encounter cancan dancers, contortionists, Cyr wheel acrobatics and French mimes as a DJ plays music appropriate for the French-inspired evening. They will admire the blossoms as they pass by a flower shop, and they will sample macarons from the patisserie at “Ooh La La: A Night in Paris,” the museum’s fifth annual gala.
“This is not your average fundraiser,” said Tiffany Corbell, executive director of the museum. “The Children’s Discovery Museum does a great job, so it’s a celebration, not a stiff fundraiser.”
Each year, the museum has created an experience of a particular area of the world with its gala, and past destinations have included Mexico, Texas, Brazil and Italy. Money raised at the event will be used for operating expenses, camp scholarships and program materials. Donations will help maintain the museum and the permanent exhibits and increase programming to ensure the museum is a resource for the community, Corbell said. The museum hosts about 20,000 visitors annually.
Tiffany Corbell, executive director of the Discovery Children’s Museum, talks about upcoming “Ooh La La: A Night in Paris” gala.
John Welder of Alimento Catering will prepare beef tenderloin, golden French frittes with aioli sauce, fresh green beans with caramelized onions and bacon, salad and dessert, and guests will enjoy an open bar. About half of the 350 people expected to attend had already purchased tickets at the time of the interview last week.
Silent auction packages will be available for bidding at bidpal.net\parisgala one week before the gala and will close at 9 p.m. during the event. All of the packages will be available for viewing online, and bidders will set up an account to place their bids. Those who are unable to attend the gala also can bid on the packages through the internet, and they can pick up their merchandise at the museum after the event if they win. A $10 raffle ticket, also available online, will purchase a chance to win a $1,000 VISA gift card, and the drawing will take place at the event.
“This is a good way for everyone to support the museum,” Corbell said.
Auction items will include tickets to the Texas A&M vs. Alabama football game, a weekend getaway to Rockport, a designer purse, jewelry and about 50 unique packages. Also on the list is a dirt-dump party including 4 yards of either topsoil or sand for digging and hauling with Tonka trucks.
The gala guests will learn about Phase 2 of the museum expansion that will be funded by money raised during the past few years. A discovery hospital, bank, ranch house, market, bakery and theater are among the new exhibits that will encourage imagination and learning. Outdoor additions will include a construction zone, where children will learn to plan and build with a scaled-down crane and other heavy machinery. Also outside, children will develop green thumbs in the container garden and the younger children will play in the tot yard, a space designed specifically for them.
“One of our biggest successes is adding new programming to our museum,” Corbell said. “We also increased the number of summer camps we are able to offer and filled them with record-setting attendance.”
Six camps were offered this summer. They included water adventure, Texas Lone Star, mad science, storyland and Lego robotics camps as well as a mash-up camp that combined all of them.
The next traveling exhibit, “The Adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog,” which was developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, will open Sept. 21. Based on the popular Clifford books, the 2,500-square-foot exhibit is geared toward children ages 10 and younger. A ferry will transport visitors to Birdwell Island where a 9-foot-tall Clifford has a tail that doubles as a slide. Clifford’s 10 big ideas teach lessons through a creative landscape, including a giant dog bowl that needs filling and a sandcastle-building station. The ideas include being a good friend, playing fair and telling the truth. Children learn to respect and help others, among other lessons.
“Of course, thank you to all the sponsors who have already purchased their sponsorships – this couldn’t happen without their generosity,” Corbell said. “The museum is a unique resource for our community that really gives all ages an opportunity to learn, problem-solve, discover and find their inner creator.”