When it's rainy outside, and I feel like we've been cooped at at home for too long, I always think, "Oh, we should go to the Children's Museum." Such a cozy place to spend a gray afternoon.
Maybe it's because the first time I visited was on a drizzly sort of day. But I think there's more to it than that: The Children's Museum has always been a bright spot in the midst of a very dark memory.
A little more than 20 years ago, a man carried a gun onto the playground at Cleveland Elementary School in central Stockton. He fired more than 100 rounds, killing five children.
Five years later, the Children's Museum was opened in their memory - the vision of a Cleveland School teacher who had been wounded in the attack.
It doesn't have all the flash of other children's museums you might have been to. But, in a way, I think that's part of what makes Children's Museum of Stockton such a warm place. What seem, to an adult, like fairly simple exhibits in a fairly modest space, make smaller jaws drop. A grocery store where you can run through the aisles! A barbershop where you can spin on the stools! Firefighter turnouts you can pull over your skinny shoulders!
The scale is right.
Everything about the place tells a kid, "This is for you."
According to the museum's blog, a new exhibit has just opened. We can't wait to check it out.