Junior Museum of Bay County, Panama City, FL

Children's museums are places for children and adults to explore the world in a different way. The Junior Museum of Bay County in Panama City, Florida is just one place in the United States dedicated to helping children learn. Their exhibits are based on interactive options regarding science, cultural studies, history, and the environment. The Junior Museum was started in 1967, with the Junior Women's Club. They felt it was a good idea to help children learn. It took two years for the building to be completed and opened. At that time it was a 12 acre Museum designed for preschool aged children up to middle school. Part of the museum offers education, entertaining programs, and classes. In 1972 a trail was built as part of the museum to get children outside and enjoying the area.

There have also been a number of additions to the Junior Museum to increase the learning experience. For those interested in visiting the exhibits discussed below the hours of operation will make it fairly easy. The hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm, and closed Sundays and major holidays. Admission is quite reasonable at $5 per person for all ages 1 and up. There are group and military discounts, and teachers with ID's are free. The museum also offers a membership.

The museum exhibits vary from live critters to replications of real things. One exhibit is the reptile area where one can observe how they move, sleep, and live. Every Thursday there are live feedings of the reptiles at 3:30pm. From this exhibit one can reach Fishing in St. Andrew Bay. There is a replication of a boat and fake pond for children to learn about the different fish and how the bay habitat works.

Toddler Town is for the younger set where they are also able to learn more. In Toddler Town there are chairs for children and adults to sit in. The entire area is safe for crawling, playing, and learning. The Biology Lab takes children into a different corner of learning. This area offers Mr. Bones in which one can assemble the skeleton and anatomical parts to learn anatomy.

Music is also part of the education and learning offered at the Junior Museum. Instruments and a dance floor are offered. Children can hear the music of the world, learn some moves, and just get a sense of what music is. Light is another science area for children to learn about. One gets to learn how light works, enter a darkroom, make drawings, and even write secret messages with light. From here the attendees are moved into a hands-on Science exhibit. In this area there are 25 different stations to keep children's minds active and engaged.

If that was not enough, the Junior Museum also has a complete authentic replication of a Pioneer Homestead. The cabins date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Children can look at the cabins to see how people of the past lived.

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