Children’s Discovery Center is a great adventure

March 18, 2019

If you haven't taken your kids or grandkids to the new Children's Discovery Center at the Lewes History Museum, you are missing out on a great adventure.

Opened this past December, the center is on par – or better – than any small, interactive children's museums I've visited. Located in the Marshall/Schell Family Room, the center is fun for children of all ages.

My twin grandkids absolutely love it. Colby loves the river pilots’ boat simulator, and Jenna loves the general store and lighthouse keeper's kitchen.

The Delaware River Pilots’ simulator is the same program used by river pilots in their training. Children – and adults as well – can pilot a variety of boats passing by familiar landmarks such as Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware and the Salem nuclear plant.

Children can also build one of three sailing ships using an interactive computer. If they build the ship properly for the cargo they select – produce, bricks or lumber – they will have a successful voyage that is featured on the front page of the Lewes newspaper complete with their name as captain.

However, the captain can also be responsible for allowing the ship to sink, which also ends up on the front page of the newspaper.

Children can learn how the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse keeper lived, right down to hoisting the lighthouse flag and completing a daily checklist. A replica of the ill-fated Cape Henlopen Lighthouse is the centerpiece in the children’s section.

In the replica of the general store in the Lewes Historical Society's Shipcarpenter's complex, children can use an antique cash register to ring up sales of milk, fruit and vegetables. They can also sort mail at the Lewes Post Office inside the store. Many of the names on the wooden letters are familiar ones from Lewes history.

A Morse code telegraph machine and signal flags teach children different forms of communication. In addition, children can learn to tie knots and use blue foam blocks to build a breakwater.

The center is another example of the first-class work done by the Lewes Historical Society, truly a gem in the First Town in the First State.

Plan to spend at least an hour. Each time I've taken my grandkids, I literally have to pull them out of the place. While there, also take a walk through the historical society museum filled with fascinating artifacts and displays from Lewes history.

Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There is no admission charge to the museum at the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center on Adams Avenue, but donations are accepted. The museum is located in the former Lewes library adjacent to the new library and the Lewes-Georgetown Trail.

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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