The mission of the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum is to inspire children to learn about our world through exploration, imagination, and experimentation.
A Brief History
Founded as the Escondido Children’s Museum (ECM) in 2001, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum today is a dynamic and successful cultural institution that serves our diverse communities and visitors to North San Diego County. Over the last ten years, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum has flourished as it has served a growing clientele of members and guests. Our staff, donors, sponsors, board members and volunteers are dedicated and passionate about our mission—to inspire children to learn about the world they live in through exploration, imagination, and experimentation.
In 1999, based on research on other start-up children’s museums, the ECM began with a traveling educational program for elementary school students combining physics and art through kite-making. In 2001, ECM opened the doors of its first facility on historic Grand Avenue, a small-scale but fully diversified museum, the first phase of the vision for the organization and a growth strategy that prioritized close involvement with successful community groups. The facility’s central location and petite size enabled the Board to plan for growth. This approach paid off when the City played a key role in helping the Museum move to its second facility in 2004, a 4,500 square foot indoor-outdoor space at the California Center for the Arts. This facility provided a crucial opportunity for the museum to grow internally and to create a dynamic role for itself in the community and region.
In 2010, the board changed the name of the organization to better reflect the growing community of guests and supporters. What has been consistent over these ten years is that by offering an inspirational and non-commercial hands-on setting, the SDCDM provides a distinct and valuable space where children learn about world cultures and science through play. Numerous studies have shown that through play, children learn to act and think in a way that harnesses their imaginations, which helps them achieve and succeed early in school and throughout their lifelong learning journey. The SDCDM has been a pioneer in this area for ten years, and has proved the value of this experience for families, pre-schools, schools, and home-school groups, and groups such as scouts, Mommie-and-Me, and special needs children.
Serving children ages 0-10, SDCDM focuses on these critical years of child development while also encouraging families to learn together. Through professionally designed exhibit spaces and programs, children engage a wide range of concepts about science and world cultures. Whether children are playing musical instruments, putting on costumes to perform, discovering history in an archeological dig box, learning about the amazing world of plants and insects, or building structures out of recycled materials, children are able to combine learning with creativity for an educational experience all their own.
SDCDM is not only an important educational resource for San Diego County and southern Riverside County children and families, but also serves a great need locally. In Escondido, SDCDM is the only hands-on children’s museum for the approximately 18,000 students in the 23 K-8 schools. There are 10 Title I (low-income) schools in the area, four within walking distance of the museum. SDCDM is dedicated to providing these children with exhibits and programs that meet or exceed California State Standards in Education at low to no-cost admission.
From the beginning, SDCDM has been passionate about encouraging children to engage with the world through an appreciation for diverse global culture and traditions. With the support of donors and supporters, SDCDM has now established a permanent facility in historic downtown Escondido. Passionate about continuing to build connections in the community, SDCDM thinks creatively about making connections in our neighborhood, along the Highway 78/I-15 corridors, through the Internet and satellite media. We are a private non-profit organization that is committed to continuing to run our small business efficiently and in as green a manner as possible. We have become an integral part of the North San Diego community and cultural landscape, and based on where we are today, we look forward to a bright future.