If you're a local parent or a Bay area visitor searching for a great outing for your kids this summer, the Tampa Bay Business Journal recently made the perfect suggestion: The Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa.
This summer, the *Tampa Bay Business Journal *presented the museum with its "Nonprofit of the Year" award. The Journal's award is intended to "honor nonprofit organizations making a difference in the community every day, [while] also focusing on recognizing organizations that utilize sound financial practices."
Glazer Children's Museum Development Director Kerry Falwell said the Journal's award is a validation of the museum's efforts since it first opened in September of 2010.
"The museum is honored to win the Arts, Culture and Humanities Nonprofit of the Year," said Falwell. "This prestigious award confirms that the museum is living up to its expectations to be a valued part of the Tampa Bay community."
The Children's Museum was one of three finalists for the Journal's award, along with Bok Tower Gardens and M.A.D. Theatre of Tampa. Participants were judged in several categories regarding the value brought to the community and how well the business is run.
"The judges looked at everything from our financials to our community programs," said Falwell. "This means that all the generous community members who showed support during the capital campaign made a solid investment in the museum's ability to serve the community."
The museum features 170 hands-on activities in 14 themed areas. In addition to showcasing traveling exhibits, the facility offers school workshops, leads educational scavenger hunts and regularly partners with community organizations to provide special offers and unique events. Recently, the museum held themed weekends including "Happy Birthday, U.S.A." in honor of the Fourth of July, and "There's a Monster Under My Bed," in recognition of the popular children's book.
Since opening its doors just under two years ago, the museum has remained focused on developing impactful, interactive programs for its visitors. This concentration on educating youth in a fun, diverse environment has driven hundreds of thousands of visitors through its doors.
"The more engaged a child is with the museum, the more they will interact with a new learning opportunity," said Falwell. "Science has proven that learning through play is an effective way to promote knowledge retention, and we are happy to provide that."
Not only has the museum provided an invaluable resource for children to become lifelong learners and leaders, but it has helped bolster downtown Tampa while strengthening the cultural and artistic community.
"It is vital to our mission that the museum stays active and involved in the Tampa Bay area," said Falwell. "We have partnered with HART [Hillsborough Area Regional Transit] to pair a bus pass with some donated ticket programs to bridge the transportation barriers. Collaborations like these will help us continue to serve our mission of providing learning environments where children play, discover and connect to the world around them."
And while the Glazer Children's Museum has been decorated with awards recently, the accolades have only increased the staff's drive to work harder to make a difference in the community.
"We are looking at expanding out accessibility initiative to include military families as well as increasing our relationships with youth social service providers," added Falwell. "From our daily guests to our Title 1 elementary school partnerships to our special programs for our children with disabilities, the Museum has become a resource for learning, regardless of an ability to pay admission."