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Childrens Museum of La Crosse Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children's Museums, Performing Arts Centers

Mission: The mission of the Children’s Museum of La Crosse is to offer affordable opportunities for the young and young at heart to learn, connect and grow through interactive play.

Results: The Children's Museum celebrated an exciting milestone in August of 2016--we welcomed our 1 millionth visitor! A successful $2.5 million PLAY it Forward campaign in 2017 has allowed us to make many building and exhibit improvements and additions to prepare for the next million visitors.

Target demographics: Children age 1-10 with adult companion

Direct beneficiaries per year: 73000 visitors

Geographic areas served: western Wisconsin, north eastern Iowa, south eastern Minnesota and beyond

Programs: Visitors to the Museum can learn and play via three floors of interactive exhibits. Regular programs include Wee Move, Little Learners, Save on Sundays and more. Additional programming includes summer day camps, scout overnights, holiday parties and more. School groups and child care centers visit the Museum for field trips, and children may have their birthday parties here too. The Museum welcomes approx. 70,000 visitors per year.

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Karen H.11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful space for families with children of many ages. We have been coming since my oldest was one, and now both of our kids love it at ages 2 and 4. Our oldest attended one of the summer Adventure Camps this year and absolutely loved it! Every time we visit they gravitate toward something different, from the mini Kwik Trip to the train table to the fire truck!

maggiemcdermott0202

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing place for kiddos of all ages to learn, play and have fun.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Childrens Museum is an amazing place for grown-ups and kids alike. Nothing brings more smiles to our day than to wake up and announce it's a Children's Museum Day. I can feel great about the learning and fun that will take place and always cherish the opportunity to slow down our busy lives and schedules and have fun together as a family. There is a great variety of activities for all our kiddos and every visit is an enriching experience. Of course this is due to the wonderful staff and behind the scenes work done by an amazing group of people dedicated to providing the best to our community.

1 Peter S.7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The museum is a fun place for both kids and adults. It is fun volunteering for various events and jobs around the museum.

1 Ethan P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great place for kids and parents alike! The museum is a fixture of La Crosse and I believe it to be one of the city’s greatest assets.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have taken my step kids and now my own child to the Children's Museum of La Crosse for over 15 years. This museum is a gem in our community and such a wonderful place to really engage with your child in a creative and memorable way! The museum helps to bring out everyone's playful and imaginative side. You make memories that last a lifetime!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum of La Crosse is a wonderful pillar of the La Crosse community. They work hard to serve all of the families and children in our region and educate through play. The entire staff is always friendly and focused on their mission to help kids in the community.
The museum is a place that kids can go to have fun with their families, learn and grow. They make sure that reduced and free memberships are available. Simply amazing.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for hosting my son's kindergarten class from Summit Environmental School. At the end of the school year he mentioned his field trip to the Childrens Museum as his favorite thing about kindergarten!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an exciting place for kids and families to visit. The exhibits are wonderful and the staff is very friendly and welcoming.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve known the Children’s Museum of LaCrosse since it opened 20 years ago. Every visit is still exciting and new! They do a great job welcoming families and providing a variety of exhibits and activities that keep children engaged and happy!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love going to the Childrens Museum of La Crosse with my grandchildren or even by myself, though I feel less guilty going with them. The simplest things are their favorites: the Whoosh wall with scarves blown through mazes of tubes; the flash room that makes shadows from poses; the clamshell climbing tower; and the banks of lights that have to be hit when the lights go on. The Museum is a terrific place to spend minutes to hours playing, learning, and enjoying.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family has been museum members for years and my kids love to visit and participate in their awesome programs!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum of La Crosse is run by some very special people! Anne and LeAnne are 2 of those that always show that they care and how they want kids to experience the museum in a most positive manner. They continue to make changes to displays and are always looking for new fun and exciting exhibits. This is a gem to the city of La Crosse!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is my happy place! I have been volunteering here with my fur babies, doing Pet Therapy for the last 15 years. Over the years my dogs have played dress up, gone for a ride in the fire truck, snuggled on the floor and just have fun! The Staff over the years have all been so wonderful. Everyone goes the extra mile with their enthusiasm and sincere willingness to help and ensure you have an enjoyable experience no matter the age. Whether it be to play, have a birthday party or host an event, it’s an all around wonderful place to be. They make everyone feel very welcome the minute you walk through the doors. There really is something for all ages, and if need, there is an elevator to all the floors and benches throughout. The kid sized Kwik Trip store to the new climbing structure, and everything in between is very hands on. It’s a fun place for young and old to learn to play and play to learn. The Children’s Museum has been such a great asset to our town and I feel so fortunate to be a part of.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What I see as a volunteer is tireless dedication from the top down from the "extra mile crew", who in addition to their regular jobs can be counted on to drop what they're doing and it's all hands on deck for that extra needed push, pull, or lift to make my work easier. That and a friendly congenial and cooperative atmosphere will keep me coming back.
Ron Bean, repairs volunteer.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum in La Crosse Wi is one of the best attractions in downtown La Crosse for children, grandmas and grandpas, and parents. It was a great learning experience for all of us, learning about the Mississippi River from it's early history to modern day environmental concerns which is a win, win for everyone. There are exhibits which highlight the city's health care clinics and hospitals from a child's perspective. How fun to walk through the heart!
The staff was so energetic and helpful. The museum gives employment opportunities to students at the three La Crosse colleges. Because it is located in the heart of downtown La Crosse, it also brings shoppers and visitors to the retail section. What an asset to La Crosse, Wi. We will be back.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Childrens Museum of La Crosse is such a tremendous community asset - providing fun learning experiences for families who live in or are visiting our community. I appreciate all that they do both professionally, as a community development specialist and Downtown Mainstreet Board member, and personally as a father of two. I appreciate the economic impact that the museum has on our community, but more importantly, I appreciate the FUN that it has provided for my family! Thank you to the museum's leadership and staff for your dedication to learning and fun!

1 Alison Poellinger P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

La Crosse is so lucky to have the Children's Museum. Every time we have gone, my son has had a wonderful time! The staff is very friendly too!

1 swhitewater

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love taking my CASA boy to the Children's Museum, since my children are grown. He always finds something new to learn and loves going there!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Played for hours with my little cousins at the museum. Their excitement was contagious and it was fun to go from one activity and exhibit to another.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The museum is a beloved part of our community, offering a safe, nurturing place for families to play, as well as a full lineup of activities and events. Excellent leadership and a passion for serving families make this a top-notch nonprofit!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is not just a 'rainy day' place to go visit ... it is great fun all year round! The staff and volunteers are welcoming and keep the place full of positive energy. Fun for kids of all ages and kids at heart. Exhibits are creative and meaningful, you will also be surprised how much you learn and discover about the La Crosse area. Five Stars (Five Smiles) for sure!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For a relatively small Midwest town, this Children's Museum has it all! The exhibits and play areas engage people of all ages. The staff goes up and beyond to make sure your visit is a memorable one! And while you're there, be sure to take in all the other great places in downtown La Crosse!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Excellent museum with great leadership within the organization. Have a wide variety of activities/exhibits for children to lean and play. Recently underwent a successful capital campaign to help the museum continue for another 20 years.

1 Christan2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I love this place. We just became members on Saturday!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a fun experience for kids of all ages! Learning through play is the best way. Such a wonderful & helpful staff too. Fun place for parties too! The Children's Museum of LaCrosse is amazing!!

1 Leanne11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I may be biased because of my association with the Children's Museum of La Crosse, but I know that all the staff and volunteers are truly dedicated to providing affordable, enjoyable experiences for all visitors. The value of play is celebrated every day! After welcoming the Museum's one millionth visitor in August of 2016 and turning 18 in February of 2017, the Museum is currently working to raise $2 million for exhibit and building improvements.

1 Miranda J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My boys have so much fun here. There's always so much to do, so much to learn and there's never a dull moment. When the weather is nice we will go to the farmers market afterwards, because the museum is so convenient. When the weather is crummy, it's the perfect place to be!

1 Heather300

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My kids are 1 and 3 and they love going here! There are activities for each of them to enjoy. We live about 45 min away and try to get here 1-2x a month because they have such a great time!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

We've been members of the Children's Museum for almost 2 years now and my daughter absolutely LOVES it! It's a great place for her imagination and she is able to run around and get tired! We usually try to meet friends there at least once a month for a play date as well. Something for kids of all different ages!

1 Tracy126

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A wonderful place for family fun. We love the tiny tots area for our 1 year old to explore while our 4 year old explores the entire museum. The special events are really great.

1 Tim_97

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family loves going to the museum. We have been members for the last 2 years and my son absolutely loves it.

1 mhutson18

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had experience with the Childrens Museum since it's inception, as a parent, grandparent, committee and Board member. I have always thought of it as a wonderful place with staff and leadership that create an atmosphere which promotes fun, learning and lots of smiles. Its inception and growth into a thriving community asset has been amazing to watch.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have experienced this organization as a parent, member, board member and committee member. I have always been impressed by the energy and enthusiasm that the management and staff bring to their jobs at the Museum. In the ten years of its existence it has grown into a terrific place for kids and adults of all ages to go to have fun and to learn.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having had the opportunity to be a part of such a great, well run organization where the decisions made each day is based on what experience is best for the children has been extremely rewarding. I get to see this first hand when we visit with our kids either through their interaction with the exhibits or the various programs they attend at CMLC. La Crosse as a community could not be any luckier to have the Children's Museum that we do with a staff that is excellent and truly cares about the experience of the children and their importance to the community at large.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Childrens Museum of La Crosse is a wonderful place for families and an invaluable resource for our community. My children enjoy the varied and changing exhibits. We also encourage the various programming that are offered during the year, especially the summer youth camps. The museum is also a great place to host an event or party. The staff is well trained and professional. We've been to many children's museums across the country and love coming back to our hometown museum. What a special place!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I joined the volunteer task force when I first read about the dream of a gal who moved to La Crosse and wanted to start a children's museum. Having young children at the time, and community volunteerism in my heart made this a natural fit. 25 years later, I'm still a HUGE fan and believe in all the museum stands for. What a wonderful resource for our community. Some day...maybe some day...I will bring grandchildren there!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love this children's museum! Lots for kids to do and traveling exhibits keep things new!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've known the Children's Museum of La Crosse since it first opened. From the beginning, it's been a great place for children and families in our community, and a destination attracting visitors to the area. I'm impressed how it continues to provide a fresh variety of exhibits, activities, and programs that engage children across a wide range of ages. The staff is friendly and kind, and works hard to make sure everyone has a wonderful time.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Childrens Museum of La Crosse is a top notch organization that is driven to provide children a safe and exciting environment to learn, play and just be a kid. They continually look to attract community members by bringing in traveling exhibits which keep their offerings fresh along side the staples (Fire Truck, Kwik Trip and the River).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum of La Crosse was an old furniture store when I first became acquainted with it! As a member of the original board of directors, I have witnessed it grow and change to keep up with current topics. As a result, it has become a very special place where children can play to learn and learn to play!

Board Member

Rating: 5

CMLC continues to strive to be the very best children's experience with the exhibits, classes and programs provided. The staff is excellent and responsive and truly cares about the well-being and growth of our community and most importantly the children they interact with.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum of La Crosse is an amazing destination for any family. My 18 month old grandson absolutely loves the place. Although he lives in Green Bay and time is precious when he's in La Crosse with us , a visit to the museum is planned nearly every time. La Crosse is very fortunate to have such an outstanding family attraction.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had the pleasure of working with the Children’s Museum of La Crosse on their new logo and brand identity. Not only are they a great asset to our community, they are a great group of people to work and collaborate with. They have a clear passion for what they do and that shines through their brand, facility and staff.

Tony63

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Children's Museum of La Crosse has been a destination for our family and friends for many years. They have amazing interactive activities that children, and adults, of all ages can participate in. They are a major asset to our community and provide resources and special events that we can't find anywhere else around here. Plus, the staff/volunteers are incredible!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The Children's Museum is a great example of how a few people can rally many to make something good happen in a community. They are able to continuously bring new, interesting things to families affordably on a limited budget --they make every penny work hard, and garner great will along the way.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing is all I can say. The level of respect and care for the children of the community is second to none. I have witnessed Anne, Leanne, their employees and many of the board members go over and above to meet the needs of the children and families they serve. And serve is the word. The serve them with their programs and displays at the museum. They serve them by the way they make sure everyone can play. They serve by engaging and providing for the community at large. They serve by their attitude; that "give all" attitude that makes people come back and engage in the learning process.

I wish more community based programs would mirror the concept and mission that the Children's Museum of La Crosse has developed. Bravo!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Now that the Childrens Museum has decided to host an adult course in Brewing Beer my family is done with them. They have forgotten their name and core values.

"learn about the science behind brewing beer from the experts at Pearl Street Brewery"

not an appropriate venue for this subject.

Comments ( 1 )

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leanne 12/05/2014

I appreciate your comment about the Adult Recess: Brewology event and would like to share some more information. Children’s Museums promote the value of interactive play as boost to learning and retention. Studies show that even adults benefit from play--it helps them be more creative, more productive and more relaxed. Adult Recess is designed to get people into the Museum that normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the hands-on learning and play available here. The beer part of the Adult Recess: Brewology event was really focused on education. Pearl Street Brewery staff had several interactive stations showing the science and technology involved. They offered small samples and each person got only one full beverage with their admission. The event ended at 9:00 and no one overindulged while here. Everything else at the event was focused on the Museum exhibits and play. We had 200 attendees, many without young children to give them reason to visit the Museum during regular hours. They appreciated the invitation to utilize the Museum.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

We have been going off and on for years with our kids, so it is worth a visit. My kids have fun every time, and its a real asset to the small city of LaCrosse. However, every time I have gone, its been about a two hour experience. Maybe less. Prices for admission were recently raised to $6 a person, and with our large family, that's just too expensive if our toddler flames out after an hour. I've been to many kid-oriented museums over the years and most are bigger and better (pricier too, but worth it since you stay there all day). So while I'm sure it is a good way to spend a couple of hours with your kids, I feel the museum ought to be upgraded, or the price of admission lowered.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son Loves the children's museum in La Crosse. He can spend 2 or more hours there every week if we could find the time to go. In fact he could probably go more than once a week. When we first were deciding whether or not to buy a membership I wasn't sure there was enough to hold his attention time and time again, but I was wrong. We recently went to another museum on our Passport level membership and it included 5 museums in one. I must say it made me see our children's museum in a whole different light. It was located in a city bigger than La Crosse and it paled in comparison. Not that there weren't things that were impressive in some of the museums but the children's museum was nothing compared to what we have here at the museum in La Crosse. I just wanted to say thanks to the Children's Museum in La Crosse because I now see how lucky we are to have such a great place to spend an afternoon. Thanks for all the exhibits and the staff who are so friendly and work so hard to keep the place clean and running. Thank you.

Comments ( 1 )

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leanne 02/27/2012

We are so happy that you and your son are enjoying the Children's Museum of La Crosse! We're glad you have used the Passport level membership to enjoy other museums, and even more glad to hear how well ours compares to others you have visited. We are very fortunate to have dedicated staff and volunteers and generous supporters and members like you!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love the Children's Museum of La Crosse! It is always clean and safe, there are a wide variety of activities to keep infants, toddlers, and elementary school aged children engaged and involved. The activities are educational and fun and my children request trips to the museum over and over. We get the annual pass so we can go as often as we want, especially in the winter months when we need to burn some energy and there is too much snow to be outside!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experiences at the Children's Museum of La Crosse have made it into our family memory books/photo albums...literally! It is a place that provides more than just learning and fun for the kids. It provides an opportunity for family and friends to really connect and grow together. I cherish these memories and look forward to many more!

1

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful afternoon for my niece and nephew from Phoenix it is on their list every time they come to La Crosse. Parents and aunts and uncles can relax and just let kids be kids for the afternoon. A wonderful addition to the La Crosse area.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a 3 year old son that loves the museum. If it were up to him we would be there every weekend. The museum not only provides my son with a great place to learn, but also a safe, and clean environment thanks to the museum staff.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have two children who have grown up with the museum, and we've been members for years. No matter how often we visit, my children are always excited for the next time. The interactive exhibits are engaging and educational, and the museum is constantly bringing in new attractions. It's a La Crosse star!

6

Former staff

Rating: 5

I interned at the museum during my sophmore semester at UW-La Crosse. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and one that probably shaped me the most as a professional. Not only was the staff's passion for what they do contagious, but the community embraces this organization with open, willing arms. I was surprised by how supportive other businesses were and the outpour of support we also received from visitors and friends of the museum. The city would not be the same without this nonprofit; it has helped shape La Crosse as a giving and nurturing place that cares about kids. And I would not be the same without it either.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I served 2 terms as a Board member, and I also visit frequently with my grandkids. The exhibits are always changing, they keep the place clean, and the volunteers and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. My grandkids love it, and I notice that adults really enjoy themselves too!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's wonderful to have the Childrens Museum in La Crosse. My daughters have had birthday parties and Girl Scout sleepovers at the museum. The museum is so proactive in bringing new exhibits and activities to our community. It's a great place for children to learn, interact and have fun.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am one of the founders of the Gertrude Salzer Gordon Children's Museum. I chaired the first capital campaign and am chairing the 10th anniversary campaign. I served on the board of directors and was honored by the board as the first board member emeritus.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the reasons I moved to La Crosse as opposed to another location was because it had a wonderful children's museum. We enjoyed the museum during our interview weekend and then continued to come once we moved here. The continued updating of exhibits keeps my children interested. Now, as a member of the board I see, first hand, the dedication and hard work of the staff. I would recommend this museum to anyone that wants to see their children smile.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Just over a decade ago my wife and I attended the grand beginnig of the Chilrens Musuem. The enthusionam for the project filled the rooms. That and a dedicated staff, most still there, have made the Musuem a centerpice of the city of LaCross.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our family has 5 children from 1 - 13 years old. There is something there for all ages. The older kids like the exhibits and rock climbing wall and the younger ones think they are in Disney Land with all there is to do. There is no better way to breakup they day than grab the kids and head to the Childrens Museum for a few hours especially in the winter months when outdoor activity is limited. The Childrens Museum is an asset this the City of LaCrosse and surrounding area. Bailey Wilson

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I love the museum. It's a laugh a minute for the kids and us grown ups as well. With so much to do and touch and laugh at. The kids forget all about computer games, TV and all the rest that they play with. We were their for Grossology. Who thought burping and snot could be so much fun. My hat is tipped to the staff and all involved with the museum. Great job!!!!! Tom Nolan