Bib’s World has opened at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate! The new permanent exhibit is named after Michelin's mascot Bibendum, as it is a gift from the Michelin Corporate Foundation. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning, and we were able to explore the two-story cityscape on Sunday.
Utilizing tires and other sustainable materials, Bib’s World incorporates the former “Trike Track” into the futuristic city located behind the museum. Accessible from the first floor, the giant mural on the wall near the entrance features the artwork of 600 local children including Mikus and Vilis – but we have yet to find their drawings. Emerging into the outdoor exhibit there are informational placards and a giant tire-climber to the right. The play structure as well as the sandbox are covered to provide shade, a necessary feature for the hot sunny days ahead.
A wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round is in the center of the exhibit, and the “interactive cityscape” beyond. With slides, climbers, rollers, wheels and gadgets of every type, there is plenty to keep the kids occupied. The climbing structure even features a mini replica of the Liberty Bridge.
The ladybug-mosaic wall has found a new home at the entrance to the museum, but the cob wall entrance built by an artist-in-residence just last year sadly had to be demolished. The trikes from the previous exhibit will be put to use on the new ‘roads,’ the signage another nod to Michelin and its heritage; the Michelin brothers helped develop the very first road signs in France.
The day was full of other surprises, including a baguette et le fromage snack for the boys along with storytime - en français, and there were all sorts of activities to commemorate the opening of the exhibit: face painting, tire-track art, coloring maps of France and Lego racecars. Of course the boys wanted to explore some of the regular exhibits as well, and with all the art activities and play it was a really full day.
We’ll be returning to more fully explore the new exhibit on a day when it’s not so busy, although it has yet to be seen how well the shade sails work in the summer heat – I can imagine Bib’s World will be a welcome change of pace on our visits to the museum, but that we’ll only spend an hour outside before returning to the air conditioning on extremely hot days. However, it is refreshing to see such an captivating exhibit join the list of attractions at TCMU, and it’s really no wonder The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is the first children’s museum to become a Smithsonian Affiliate. I hope you get the chance to explore Bib’s World for yourself!