Mary Jo Shaw has some advice for her fellow Panorama residents: take your grandchildren to the Hands on Children’s Museum.

“It’s a great bonding activity,” she says. “We didn’t have to worry about how to entertain them. It’s like a smorgasbord. We came home and told our neighbors, ‘You have to go and experience that when your grandchildren come.’”

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Even the youngest children find interactive play and learning at the Hands On Children’s Museum. Photo courtesy: HOCM

During September, Panorama is co-sponsoring Grandparents Month at the HOCM. Discounts will be available for grandparents throughout the month and on September 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. all grandparents who bring a grandchild to the museum will get free admission. In addition, a special photo booth will be available to record your visit partnered with frame making crafts in the Make Space.

“Panorama is very committed to supporting non-profits in our community,” says Director of Philanthropy Meghan Vu. “Society is becoming even more age segregated, and this provides an opportunity to encourage interaction between generations. It makes a lot of sense for us.”

Many Panorama residents are grandparents and some also volunteer at the museum, so a connection already existed when Panorama first became a sponsor four years ago. “It’s about extending beyond our residents and into the larger community,” says Vu. “We want to support grandparents and grandchildren in spending more time with each other.”

That approach has certainly worked for Shaw, a Panorama resident since 2011. She started bringing her granddaughter Hope to the museum several years ago and later added two more grandchildren into the mix. “They didn’t want to leave,” she says. “Each had their favorite activities. They all loved the miniature store and took turns running the cash register and polishing the fruit. They also loved the rubber ducks and the water table.”

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Grandparents’ Day at HOCM is a great way to encourage interaction between the generations, says Panorama’s Director of Philanthropy Meghan Vu. Photo courtesy: Panorama

It wasn’t just the kids who had fun. At the time, Shaw’s daughter had just moved her family to the area and the museum proved a good way to introduce the family to their new home. “It was such a wonderful experience,” she says. “Parents, kids and grandparents alike enjoyed it. It was really time for a granny and poppa day.”

Personally, she was drawn to the museum’s craft area, which also appealed to the younger members of the family. “They’re always into crafts,” she says. “That’s my thing too. My husband and I participated in everything and we enjoyed every bit of it.” In fact, the only thing they didn’t experience was sliding down one of the museum’s chutes.

Now, Shaw’s family have become unofficial ambassadors for the museum. Granddaughter Hope tells all her friends about it and when her parents visit, they tell their friends as well. “It’s like Las Vegas,” Shaw says. “You drop people off on the strip and everybody’s entertained. There’s something for everyone. The kids even love just looking out the windows.”

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Visit on September 10 for free admission and plenty of special activities. Photo courtesy: HOCM

As for Shaw and her husband, their efforts have borne fruit. “We take pictures and bring them back to show people at Panorama,” she says. “Now we hear them telling other people about it. They’ll come to us after visiting the museum and say, ‘You were right.’”

Take advantage of the discounts throughout the month of September for Grandparents including $10 off a grandparent membership and half-price admission, and plan now to take your little ones to the Hands On Children’s Museum for Grandparent’s Day on September 10. Smiles guaranteed for all.

For more information about Panorama visit www.panorama.org or call 877-208-6274.

*Note: The HOCM will be closed September 11 – 15 for their annual cleaning.

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