An award-winning organization, the Iowa Children’s Museum engages and expands the imaginations of youngsters with interactive exhibits and hands-on programs. The Move It! Dig It! Do It! event invites pintsized minds to stretch themselves around the enormous equipment wielded by construction professionals, farmers, and bus drivers, and then witness how each vehicle fits into the next to defend the galaxy as Voltron. More than 40 activities and machines ensure all-day entertainment. Tots can scramble into the driver’s seat of a fire truck for a hero’s-eye view of the engine’s three-alarm chili dispenser or enjoy a haystack ride. Create your own cement garden stone before retiring to the Volunteer Guild’s Dig It! Café for purchasable snacks and water divvied up out from under a big tent.
Three animal-welfare advocates started the Iowa Humane Alliance in 2008 to reduce companion-animal homelessness and shelter overpopulation by spaying or neutering local animals. It assists local shelters, pet owners, and feral-cat caretakers with a sterilization program and a hotline that provides information about spaying or neutering. Additionally, Iowa Humane Alliance is in the process of expanding to include a high-volume clinic that will provide up to 8,000 spay or neuter surgeries every year.
Founded in 1933, the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Iowa Junior Chamber of Commerce—or Jaycees—hones the leadership skills of its members through projects and programs that benefit the community. Once-a-month Sunday breakfasts bring locals together in the common pursuit of pancakes, and Uptown Friday Nights in Green Square Park are filled with music, food, and drinks. The Jaycees also fling wide the doors of its newly opened Jaycee Center to renters for conferences, parties, wedding receptions, and driving-school-class reunions.
The Science Station illuminates the minds of children and adults on the workings of science, math, and technology with hands-on exhibits, puzzles, and games. Play paleontologist with the Dinosaur Exploration Station, complete with time tunnel and dig box, or visit the Math Mania room to help kids hone number skills through games. In the Animal Clinic, tots can play doctor with faux-furry friends and learn how to care for real ones. The Science Station houses a Museum Store with education games for ongoing imagination stimulation. The Science Station is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.