Orpheum sledding

Kids of all ages enjoy indoor sledding at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum’s annual Snow Globe.

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The end of the year marks the end of one of our busiest seasons at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. We recently wrapped up our ninth annual Snow Globe event.

Each year during Snow Globe we turn the museum into a winter wonderland, giving families the feeling of being inside an actual snow globe. This classic event at the Orpheum has been a Champaign-Urbana favorite since 2011. For News-Gazette readers who have never had the chance of experiencing Snow Globe, we had holiday games like our penguin snowball toss, ornaments and snowflakes crafts, a visit with Kriss Kringle, trolley rides in Champaign, ice fishing and many more fun activities.

The most popular feature of this festive event is indoor sledding. As readers might recall, our humble children’s museum is located in the historic Orpheum Theatre, a 105-year-old building in downtown Champaign. The theatre auditorium was originally constructed with sloped floors and fixed theatre seating. After we finished major renovations in the theater nearly a decade ago, we were left with an empty auditorium still with sloped floors. In 2011, our museum staff at the time had the fabulous idea of utilizing the auditorium for sledding, but with scooters instead of sleds. Nine years later, indoor sledding continues to be Snow Globe’s main attraction.

Snow Globe is just one example of how we can do remarkable things for kids and families with a small, dedicated team of staff and volunteers. I am thankful for the countless volunteers from the University of Illinois and the community for contributing over 500 hours to help make this event possible. Now that the event has come to an end, I am thrilled that we were able to spread holiday cheer to over 1,200 people who attended Snow Globe this year.

Events and daily admissions enable us to be a local destination and educational resource for families six days a week all year round. Unlike other educational institutions in the community, the Orpheum is an independently funded non-profit charity that has been supported by the generosity of thousands of community members since 1994. Donations from individuals and corporations help us enhance the mission of the museum.

We recently launched “Power Up! Orpheum Kids” to raise $30,000 by Jan. 31, 2020. We need your help to power up the Orpheum and enrich our classrooms, enhance the museum experience and improve our historic building. With your help, we can create unique experiences that will lay the foundation for future generations of scientists, artists, and innovators. This holiday season, please take the opportunity to make a charitable donation to the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum and support the exploration of the sciences and arts. To learn more about “Power Up! Orpheum Kids,” please visit tinyurl.com/PowerUpOCSM.

Also, remember to plan your family’s next visit to the Orpheum today. We are located at 346 N. Neil St. in downtown Champaign. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays every week (closed on New Year’s Day).

Xander Hazel is the assistant executive director of the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. He also serves on the board of directors of the Champaign Center Partnership. He can be reached at xander@orpheumkids.com.