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Wise Wonders unveils new children's museum in Billings

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 10:57:27-04

Wise Wonders Science and Discovery Museum unveiled its new exhibit Tuesday morning in downtown Billings.

It's called the Children’s Grocery Store, and it provides a unique learning experience for young visitors.

“One of the main goals for that exhibit was to highlight the everyday situations where kids can learn. And some of that is learning by playing,” said Lucas Forcella, president of the Wise Wonders board.

The exhibit is built like a grocery store, with the primary goal of giving the children realistic life experiences.

“We’ve got a bunch of exhibits that address science and math that you see in a lot of places. But this is one where I think we can bring the realities of science and math that we all experience to kids at their level,” Forcella said.

In this more interactive exhibit, children are able to go through grocery shopping. The exhibit is fully geared with false cash and toy food and is very hands-on.

“We wanted it to feel as authentic as possible, so that the kids had the real-world grocery store experience. But it’s not just pretend play. It’s about counting, it’s about learning about nutrition, colors, what types of fruits and vegetables are available,” said Shawna Bonini, Wise Wonders executive director.

The nonprofit museum runs on donations from the community. In this case, Billings-based Valley Credit Union is the primary donor. To them, the decision to help out was a no-brainer.

“What a better place to give back than to the kids, right? This is our future. We’ve got to take care of them,” said Brandon Scala, senior vice president of business development of Valley Credit Union

While the employees of the museum may have been most excited for the ribbon cutting, the excitement for the kids was evident once they finally walked through the front doors.

“Instant chaos, but that’s what it's about. Right, these kids need to have that. They need to be able to have a safe enclosed environment where they can have instant chaos," Scala said.