For the past 24 years, the Children’s Museum of Wilmington has opened its doors to young imaginations.

Playtime is essential for our kiddos! The Children’s Museum of Wilmington (CMOW) was closed for six months due to COVID but is thankfully open and available as a creative, interactive outlet once again.

A local option for childhood learning and fun since 1997, CMOW grew over the years so much to meet the imaginative needs of area children that it moved to a newer, bigger location in 2004: the three buildings in downtown Wilmington that were the former home to St. John’s Museum of Art.

The newest exhibit, which opened on January 29, is called The Wonders of Water and is sponsored by Duke Energy Water Resources Fund. The interactive water table is chlorine based.
“It basically teaches about water filtration, the way the rain system works and also about like taking care of our planet and why it’s important to not pollute and all that good stuff,” says Jamie Longshore, marketing coordinator at the CMOW.

Wilmington NC Childrens Museum

Other hands-on exhibits currently open at CMOW are:
• Ahoy Wilmington, a pirate ship the kids can climb aboard.
• Toddler Treehouse, an actual treehouse for ages 4 and younger.
• The Studio Featuring The Lawson Learning Center, where kids can paint, sculpt, draw, weave and more.
• Community Market, a re-creation of Publix Supermarket, where kids can grab a cart and shop in the aisles.
• Kid Power, sponsored by Planet Fitness, an area that features a long jump, vertical jump, balance beam, hand bike, stationary bike and aerobic area.
• Discovery Diner, an interactive exhibit teaching kiddos about making healthy eating choices, complete with a life-like dining area and cafeteria stocked with foods from all five food groups.
• Toothasaurus, where kids can learn about oral care, brush model teeth and take a seat in the dentist’s chair.
• Port CMOW, a smaller scale display of all the North Carolina ports; kids can move the freighters up and down the river and load cargo on the trains.
• Animal Alley, where kids take on the role of pet groomer, trainer and pet owner.
• The Science of You, an exhibit that teaches all about the human body, from head to toe.
• Wellness Way, an exhibit that focuses on infant care, anatomy and wellness.
• Bone Health & Healing, a newer area centered around a life-sized skeleton on a surfboard inside a curling wave that allows visitors to hold up their smartphones up to the skeleton to identify bones.
• Matching Wall, an interactive game that pairs with The Science of You.

Imagination Playground, a play area filled with life-size blue blocks, remains closed because of the high-contact nature.

In addition to the hands-on exhibits, CMOW offers eight educational programs Tuesday through Friday, and these are included with admission. Programs include story time for all ages, toddler play time and explore topics, like STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and nature.

An upcoming event that the CMOW will be hosting is the Teddy Bear Tea on September 12. Bring your favorite doll or stuffed friend and enjoy a teddy bear and dolly parade, dancing and games, Bundt cake decorating, fun food and a mimosa bar (for the grown-ups, of course).

For event or admission tickets or to become a member of CMOW or donate to the museum, visit

Childrens Museum Wilmington Downtown NC

Safety First
Because of COVID, of course, certain safety measures have to be played out for our precious children.

“We’ve actually had to make a lot of changes, such as our capacity limits,” says Jamie Longshore, marketing coordinator at the CMOW. “All of our programs can have up to 10 people, including the parents. And that is also the same for our birthday parties, which can have up to 10 people.”

Longshore adds that the CMOW also boasts a really nice courtyard that can accommodate up to 20 people, which is the perfect setting in the summer weather.

“We have also implemented new sanitizing techniques,” Longshore says. “We basically sanitize everything in the museum twice a day. We use natural solutions and a sanitizing fogger to deep clean each area, but we also continuously sanitize pretty much everything that’s being touched, of course, because we’re a high-touch facility.”

Additional safety protocols at CMOW include:
• To limit crowding and to control the number of guests in the museum, all (including members) are required to purchase tickets online. Event tickets are also limited.
• All guests older than the age of 5 are required to wear a mask.
• New hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the museum.
• There are no costumes in the exhibits.
• The water fountain is closed; water bottles can be purchased at the front desk.

Photos by Amy Conroy Davis