A new Munchkinland

Early learning: Parksville’s Munchkinland a dream come true for BLT

The new Munchkinland Exploration Centre at Family Place opens Monday

The new Munchkinland Exploration Centre at Family Place opens Monday

The realization of a dream for the area’s early learning and literacy coalition comes in the form of its third giant child-sized interactive play centre opening Monday, April 9 in Parksville.

“For us, Munchkinland at Family Place is the completion of a dream we had 13 years ago,” said Deborah Davenport, Community Literacy Co-ordinator and president of Building Learning Together (BLT). “We all hoped one day we would have a centralized location but we knew that was a big dream. But see where dreams have taken us.”

Grand opening tours for a “look and see” will take place Monday, April 8 from 4-8 p.m. and opening day will be Tuesday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to noon.

This is BLT’s third Munchkinland in District 69. BLT is a coalition of community partners made up of over 180 businesses, service clubs and schools, over 20 ministries and agencies, and over 200 individuals.

The partnerships at the new Munchkinland (called Munchkinland Exploration Centre at Family Place) includes Science World, Vancouver Island University and the local senior high schools, among BLT’s regular partners. Features at the new centre include a Gizmos and Gadgets room with a large wooden airplane and a First Nations portal to multicultural storytelling including a stage, an archeological dig site and a fire pit. There’s a food room that will change from time to time, housing a mini restaurant, bakery, diner or cafe and kids can also enjoy a town centre where they may find a babershop, a post office, a construction assembly plant and other town shops. A baby zone will allow the young ones to join in the play and there will be a science and craft area and lending library kits to take home.

There is also an intergenerational community kitchen and a full garden that will grow flowers and edibles.

Munchkinland Exploration Centre is open Monday though Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information visit www.sd69.bc.ca/programs/BLT.

• Staff from BLT’s Munchkinland Discovery Centre in Coombs will be returning to staff the new Family Place Munchkinland in Parksville, but that doesn’t mean the Coombs location will be closing.

“That’s just by committing to working differently, to understanding what’s valuable and shifting the resources and personnel to make it work,” said BLT president Deborah Davenport.

Three organizations are committed to working together to keep the centre open: BLT, PacificCARE Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) and the Arrowsmith Recreation Team (ART).

CCRR will facilitate two public drop-in days a week at the centre located at the French Creek Community School (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and ART will take the reins Wednesdays mornings  until the end of the school year, all from 9-11 a.m.

ART is endeavouring to fundraise to hire an early childhood educator to facilitate public drop-ins two days a week during the next school year. They have already held one event where they raised $700 which means they have about $2,000 to go.

To donate to ART’s Munchkinland Discovery Centre Fund (in Coombs) contact Marilynn Sims at 250-752-2300 or e-mail mailsims@telus.net.

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read