If you’re looking for summer fun for your children, check out the Jasmine Moran Museum in Seminole. Just over an hour’s drive from Edmond, this delightful museum has attractions for children (and young-at-heart adults) of all ages. The ideal range is probably two to thirteen, but even older children find fun activities here.
This whole project was the dream of one couple – Melvin Moran, an independent oilman from Seminole, and his wife, Jasmine. Having visited the Flint Children’s Museum in Michigan with their grandchildren, the Morans came back from the 1988 trip with the notion that Oklahoma needed something similar.
By the end of that year, they had gathered committed supporters. A board of directors was elected; an advisory board was chosen; a mission statement was created; the museum was incorporated and a logo had been designed.
Much more planning and fund-raising was necessary before construction began. Exhibits were designed, volunteers were organized and, in January of 1993, the doors of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum were opened to the public.
For over 25 years now, the museum has entertained and educated children and adult visitors alike. My own grandchildren, now 21, 24 and 27, grew up loving our treks to Seminole. Now I have to borrow other friends’ grandchildren when I want to take photos at the museum.
The core of the museum is Kidtown with areas representing a variety of businesses and services. The grocery store is always a favorite, particularly with younger guests, who busy themselves choosing items from the shelves, putting them in their small grocery carts and checking them out.
Kids can roam from a school classroom, art tables, and construction materials to a courtroom, ambulance, operating room and fire station – and more. OERB has sponsored a great exhibit on oil which is coordinated with elementary school programs.
Other areas have exhibits on fitness – ride a bike and see how a skeleton moves – or experiments with science principles. Explanatory materials are kept to a minimum. The emphasis is on doing – but a lot of learning takes place when kids are just playing.
Imagination is encouraged. It’s great to see youngsters seated in the fuselage of a Convair T-29D – once used by the Air Force for training navigators and bombardiers. Physical activity and a bit of daring is fostered with an avant garde climbing maze. There is an aquarium with native fish and a water play area and so much more. And that’s just the inside.
Outside is a half-mile train ride ($2 extra), a pirate ship, and a safety village. But my favorite thing is a castle maze. If your children need to burn off some energy – or you need more steps on your Fitbit – this is the place to do it. Dead ends and turns that double back on themselves will add to the excitement of getting out of the castle. There’s a ramp that leads to an overview – perfect if your kids want to explore on their own. And when they get tired, you can call out instructions.
I could go on describing the delights at Jasmine Moran – but, in this case, pictures really are worth more words. I recently revisited the museum – but it was late in the day and there were few children there. So I’m relying on the good nature of Clark Shorow (son of Beth and Dr. Chris Shorow, Edmond) who has given me permission to use pictures of him when he was younger.
The small café in the museum is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday. The sell sandwiches, snacks and drinks. There are fast food places and several other restaurants in Seminole. I can recommend Roma, west of the museum on the southwest corner of Boren and Highway 9. The hot, yeasty rolls were to die for and the salad with grilled chicken (I was being Weight Watcherly) was outstanding. It’s rated Number 1 on TripAdvisor. I’d like to go back and try some of the Italian dishes. I’ll bet the pizza’s good, too.
I don’t have great-grandchildren yet. I hope my grandchildren settle in Edmond and provide me with more reasons to go back to the wonderful Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 5. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays, Labor Day and the two weeks following. Admissions are: children 2 and under, free; ages 3 to 59, $10; and $9 for seniors 60 and up. The museum address is 1714 Highway 9 West. Phone: 405-382-0950. Web site: www.jasminemoran.com