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Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert closes indefinitely, lays off staff because of pandemic


The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert announced Tuesday it was in the process of laying off its remaining staff and discontinuing all museum programming.

A statement signed by its board blamed the state's pandemic restrictions for its tight finances and being unable to open to families.

"A modified reopening plan was developed using an appointment-based system to allow for social distancing and disinfecting and was to be implemented in November," the statement read. "Due to the tiered system of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy – and our county remaining in the most restrictive tier – the museum is unable to open to families."

“This decision was not made lightly,” said CDMoD Board Co-Chair Davis Meyer. “We understand the history and importance of the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert and its staff to our community.”

The statement added the board will call on the community for their support to save the museum and that financial donors will be essential to a renewed comeback. Support from the community is needed for their return post pandemic. Meyer said, “It’s going to take modifications, we are certain, to accomplish some of the things that are going to be required.” The facility is closed with security cameras and maintenance still running. They are still seeking the community help to keep all maintenance costs up and running through this time.

"Financial donors will be essential to a renewed comeback," said Katie Stice, IOM, Board Co-Chair. "We will also need corporate partners, leaders, and volunteers to assist in this grand effort. It almost feels we are at the forming stage again, similar to when the museum first began. It took a large group of private citizens and community donors to make the dream a reality,” Stice added.

The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert has been closed to the public since the governor's stay-at-home order was first issued in March.

The museum had been offering online programming and virtual camps to keep families engaged and keep staff members working, but without admissions, membership renewal, or revenue-producing camps, the museum said it's been using its limited reserves to pay for the very bare minimal maintenance costs and limited virtual programming.

Janet, a parent in the Coachella Valley told News Channel 3, "I think it’s a great loss because we don’t have a lot of activities for the kids." She expressed that it's sad to hear the center is closing. Meyer mentioned, “I’m a mom and we don’t have a lot of options with little ones here so we know how important this has been for the community.”

Meyer expressed her thanks to community partners who have stepped up to help already. She thanked the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa who have taken the museums Desert Tortoises until the museum can reopen. She also thanked Lighthouse Aquatics for taking the fish until the museum can reopen.

News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more on this story tonight at 6 p.m. on KESQ.

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories

Jeff Stahl

You can watch Jeff every weekday morning on News Channel 3 in the Morning and News Channel 3 at Noon. Learn more about Jeff here.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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