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Palo Alto approves Junior Museum and Zoo expansion

Original post made on Dec 5, 2017

One of Palo Alto’s most popular family attractions received a big boost Monday night, when the City Council gleefully backed an ambitious plan to rebuild and expand the Junior Museum and Zoo.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 12:08 AM

Comments (10)

5 people like this
Posted by Congrats to the JMZ
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 5, 2017 at 7:28 am

Congrats to the JMZ and all the people that worked hard to move this forward. What the article didn’t mention was how negative Karen Holman was about the project, but at least she voted for it.


2 people like this
Posted by Mindful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

"aimed at promoting exhibits and programs that would be accessible to children with physical and developmental disabilities."
Some of which should go toward making Briones Park more disability friendly, since it sits right across the street from a long-time program for student disability rehabilitarion. (A better use than taking the only community space over there away and making it a dog park, of all the insensitive north-south inequities.)

I hope the new design will still make it possible for parents to park themselves and let their very young charges have a safe place to explore, unhelicoptered, as this space does.

Congratulations! Thanks to everyone involved in creating what will surely be a wonderful place.


7 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

Marie is a registered user.

Sadly, the new Junior Museum will only be available to rich students with physical and developmental disabilities as the council also endorsed a gigantic policy change: a free museum for children (although with lots of members who support it financially) will now cost - well who knows. I've seen $10 for adults $5 for kids but the latest said maybe $8. Anyway, this wonderful resource, will now only be for the 1% or maybe in wealthy Palo Alto, 5%. Forget seeing any more kids from East Palo Alto. The museum was particularly good for entertaining toddlers for 1-2 hours - about their attention span - but not at this price.

Why couldn't the well heeled supporters funding the millions of construction dollars spend a pittance of this amount to enable the museum to be available to all? Maybe they didn't like how crowded it could get with so many little kids that were "not their kind". This is a big loss to Palo Alto and children from our extended community.


12 people like this
Posted by Lou
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 5, 2017 at 11:37 am

I'm not sure where the negativity of the above commenters is coming from. The JMZ raised the money from private donors. Saying "Oh the money should go to x y or z project not that one" makes no sense. If the American Cancer Society raises money, do you complain that AIDS research should get the funds? All that happened was that the city council approved their plans to use the funds they themselves have raised.

As for it being a pay-to-enter museum, I have LONG taken my kids to the current museum. There has always been a suggested donation, and we initially did pay the $5 per person suggested entry, until we decided we went often enough to justify the membership. The museum and zoo as they are are awesome. The staff is wonderful, and they put on fantastic programs. The space is dated, sure, but we love it. I wish them the best for their expansion. I just hope it does not turn out to be super-cold-modern, concrete and glass, all hard & cold surfaces as is the trend these days. It's so NOT homey for young kids! But sigh, such are the times. :-)


1 person likes this
Posted by cold hard surfaces
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Agree with Lou:
>I just hope it does not turn out to be super-cold-modern, concrete and glass, all hard & cold surfaces as is the trend these days <

Like the cold, hard City Hall lobby (not only ugly, but noisy too, glass walls, huge screens on the wall); and the Mitchell Park Library, cold, hard, wasted open spaces.

This is a trend we need to oppose.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I for one am deeply saddened by this.

Our family would go to the zoo, often times several times a week, while waiting for the school bus to come down from Foothill Park, or as part of a trip to the Childrens Library, or with a swim.

We paid a donation and felt happy to help.

I don't think the new zoo will be an addition to another trip. Instead it will be a destination in itself full of out town school field trips. I would like to find myself mistaken, but the ad hoc type visits we experienced will be a thing of the past.


11 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Reading this article I have 3 thoughts: 1) good for the Friends group; 2) we are lucky to have Cubberley to use as a temporary location of yet another community service; and 3)thank goodness for the Peery Family Foundation. This is another stellar example of their community support.


5 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Question: What happens if a family visits but doesn't have money for admission?

It would be nice if there was some fund that would cover the cost for children from low-income families. I'd contribute to such a fund!


5 people like this
Posted by mattie
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Thank you thank you thank you to the donors!

I understand that the path was not without its bumps. Take solace in the fact that the path through torturous bureaucracy DOES have upsides, even if they're not always so apparent. Your effort and generosity are beautiful!


Like this comment
Posted by reSources54
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm

I cannot imagine growing up without the Junior Museum and the art & craft opportunities next door. The Junior Museum allowed me to see and touch and learn about snakes and trees and birds and insects etc in formal and informal settings. I learned to integrate ideas about how the species and environments they occupy support each other and that each suffers if one is lost. I learned respect for natural surroundings and the species that live there at a young age, which has shaped the way I consider donations and volunteer activities to this day. It was entertaining and fun back then (1960's), and set a course in my life that I am grateful for to this day. I do hope these wonderful places of learning, fun, and understanding may continue for the children and youth to come who will one day shape this world as we have done, hopefully with concern for, and stewardship of, the natural world. We need those coming up after us to take care of the world, without which nothing else really matters very much.


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