The Lincoln Children’s Museum celebrates its 25th birthday with two giant presents for kids this Sunday.

The 25th Birthday Bash, running from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, will include the unveiling of two new exhibits at the museum, 1420 P St.

Admission for the party is offered at a “throw-back” price of $5 for nonmembers and free for museum members.

Festivities kick off at 1:30 p.m. with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler cutting the ribbons off the new Cuckoo Construction three-story exhibit by Hausmann Construction and the all-new Grow Zone area for infants and toddlers.

The party will feature live performances by local youth acts, activities by area organizations, membership giveaways and free birthday cake.

The museum, which first opened in 1990, was started by a small group of parents and educators with a shared passion -- the belief that child’s play was more than fun, that it played a crucial role in children’s brain development.

Since then, millions of visitors have passed through its doors, including multiple generations of families.

Sunday’s grand openings of the new exhibits mark the end of a capital campaign that started in 2009 to renovate and improve museum exhibits. With the help of donations, the museum transformed much of its 23,000 square feet of exhibits. Those improvements include a main floor full of child-size businesses, a new water exhibit and now a three-story cuckoo clock and magical garden just for toddlers.

Cuckoo Construction is the museum’s largest exhibit ever. It comprises a three-story climber, slide, foam bricks with brick conveyor belts, a fully animatronic cuckoo bird and kid-sized construction zone, complete with hard hats and safety vests.

Grow Zone is a revamping and expansion of the old Tot Town exhibit and is designed for play and learning for children ages 3 and younger. It includes a safe place for babies to crawl, a reading area shaped like a honeycomb, fireflies that sing and light up at the slightest touch, a noodle forest that leads to a small slide and more.

Sunday’s 25th Birthday Bash also will include activities provided by the Nebraska State Museum, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Innovation Studio, Lincoln Children’s Zoo and Lincoln City Libraries. Live youth performances, featuring theatrical productions, kids’ rock and roll and dancing will take place on the stage of the Performing Arts Center from 2 to 4:30 p.m. First National Bank will be giving out party hats, and Nebraska Wesleyan Theater Company will be providing face-paint art. The Marilyn R. Gorham Discovery Gallery of the Museum will be transformed into a giant time capsule, featuring the history of the museum and a few throwbacks to some of the museum’s favorite past exhibits.

The icing on the cake will be actual cake and giveaways. Nothing Bundt Cakes is donating some of its individual Bundtinis for Birthday Bash guests, while supplies last. Lincoln Children’s Museum will be giving away 25 family memberships in celebration of 25 years.

Tickets will be available at the door. For more information go to LincolnChildrensMuseum.org or call 402-477-4000. The public is encouraged to invite their friends to the party via the Museum’s Facebook event. The museum is accepting “birthday gifts” through its donation page at LincolnChildrensMuseum.org or in person at the museum.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7217 or eandersen@journalstar.com.

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