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A hands-on education & fun experience for young minds

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Two-year-old Brandon Lugo checks out the display in the special exhibit and performance area of the Children’s Museum of Stockton.


POSTED January 21, 2012 2:18 a.m.

STOCKTON – Two-year-old Brandon Lugo was like a child in a fairy tale, playing and enjoying every toy dear to his young heart.

He climbed behind the wheel of a full-size police car, grinning from ear to ear as his excited eyes opened wide at the flashing lights on the roof of the vehicle. Then he went “shopping” at Food 4 Less, running from one end of the grocery aisles to the next and stopping every now and then to pick up and study the colorful boxes of cereals on the child-sized shelves.

Every movement young Brandon took, every excited cry and smile was captured every second by his indulgent father Gabriel who, along with girlfriend Guadalupe Salinas, followed the young tyke throughout the Children’s Museum of Stockton.

In the Valley Farms exhibit, a few feet from the Food 4 Less display, were three-year-old twins Lucian and Jaiden Abundez playing with the cowbell around the neck of a life-sized Holstein cow as their smiling grandmother, Rita Steele, looked on. When they got tired of that, they climbed up the Holt Caterpillar agricultural machine and played Farmer John with Lucian wearing one of the helmets made available for the kids to wear and heighten up their enjoyment.

A few steps away from Valley Farms, Jennifer Abraham watched as grandson Jaidin Wiley, 4, and his friend Lucas Stone, 7, played with the water in the Delta display’s water table. Behind them was a giant fish with its big mouth wide open which doubled as the entrance to the display. Above the children was an angler with its fishing rod suspended over them.

“They seem to enjoy this,” Abraham commented as she watched her grandson and his friend make wet splashes in the water table.

Hearing his grandmother’s comment, Lucas piped in, “We like to play in the fire truck and ambulance!”

Lugo only had nice words to say about the children’s museum located in Stockton’s waterfront across the street at Weber Avenue from the waterfront Warehouse. The museum is located between Van Buren and Lincoln streets.

“This is nice. We were in Las Vegas months ago and we went to the museum there. He’s having a fun time here, too. He likes it,” Lugo said about his son’s reaction to the children’s attraction in Stockton.

He said they found out about the museum by going to Google where they looked for educational places where children can have fun.

Diane Batres, the president of the museum’s board of directors and one of the program’s many dedicated volunteers, encourages everyone looking for a place to bring their children for fun and education to do what Lugo has done, which is to go on the Internet and simply log on to

Among the many hands-on educational attractions in the museum is astronaut Jose Hernandez’s flight suit that he donated to the Galaxy Room, along with two autographed framed pictures of him in his space suit.

“He donated his flight suit to the museum, so we have that in our Galaxy Room,” which just opened, said museum specialist Marianne Prieto.

“Kids go in there and feel like they are in space. The kids just really like it,” Prieto said of the room that looks like a planetarium display when the lights are turned off.

The museum is open Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

For information about group tours and other details, call (209) 465-4386 or log on to

— Rose Albano Risso

city editor

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