C’mon, get ready: Children’s Museum holds kickoff for inaugural gala

Sandi Wilson, and Tina and Chris Berte toast the success of the CMON. The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples held the kickoff party for their Inaugural Dream Gala, scheduled for March of 2012, Wednesday evening at the Naples Beach Hotel. Lance Shearer/Special to the Daily News

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Sandi Wilson, and Tina and Chris Berte toast the success of the CMON. The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples held the kickoff party for their Inaugural Dream Gala, scheduled for March of 2012, Wednesday evening at the Naples Beach Hotel. Lance Shearer/Special to the Daily News

— “I was inside an igloo today,” C’mon Executive Director Joe Cox told the partygoers assembled at the Naples Beach Hotel.

Cox had not just returned from an Arctic expedition; he was telling supporters of C’mon — also known as the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples — about the many exhibits and programs of the soon-to-be-unveiled facility.

Wednesday evening, C’mon held the kickoff party for their Inaugural Dream Gala, to be held on March 23, 2012. That day will mark the official opening of the museum, although the museum will actually have a “soft opening” and be up and running February 11, said publicity coordinator Heather Patton.

Wednesday’s event, said gala chair Shelia Davis, was just to get supporters excited, and remind them of the fundraising necessary to give the new museum a healthy start.

“If you were here when the Phil opened, you know how exciting that was. I guarantee, there were not nearly so many people in the room,” she said. The Inaugural Dream Gala, she said, will be “a magical evening celebrating a dream come true.”

The proceedings were emceed by sponsorship committee chair Vicki Tracy, from the Arlington of Naples, which sponsored Wednesday’s event.

“It’s all about the children. They represent the youth of our town,” she told the group, and brought along a couple of representatives. “You’re the reason we’re doing this,” she told them.

The museum, a whimsical structure that even from the outside proclaims itself as out of the ordinary, is taking shape at North Collier Regional Park on Livingston Road. The 30,000 square foot C’mon, says the promotional material, will have 12 exhibit galleries and thousands of interactive experiences.

Exhibits will include “Space Kidettes,” “At the Beach,” “The Banyan Tree” and “The Four Seasons,” which presumably is where that igloo comes into play. “Journey through the Everglades” promises the chance to “explore the sights, smells and sounds of the ’Glades.”

On Wednesday, attendees partook of the open bar, nibbled on fruit and cheese displays as well as passed hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed the soft rock sounds of Smokin’ Joe & Konnie on guitars. The sighting of a bald eagle, perched on the corner of a building across the hotel grounds, brought out the child in everyone.

The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is a nonprofit organization. To learn more, or contribute to the work of the organization, call (239) 514-0084, or go online to www.cmon.org.

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