Brookshire's Museum gets updated look

Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 23:38 - Written by By Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

A fire truck, swings and slides were among children’s favorite features as they explored the newly remodeled playground at Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Country Store.

Some children climbed onto a fire truck, while others took a turn on a slide or talked to the costumed Burble the polar bear, a character from the Danger Rangers TV program.

“It’s a really good park,” 4-year-old Adisen Daniels said as she stood by a play area.

The playground debuted during a grand opening event Wednesday. Mayor Barbara Bass, Brookshire Grocery Co. President and CEO Rick Rayford, community members, area children, Brookshire Grocery Co. officials and representatives from the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce all were in attendance. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place inside due to weather.

Brookshire Grocery Co. spokeswoman Rebecca Sanders called it “a great day” and went on to recognize those who have been involved in the six-week construction project as well as the museum’s supervisor and staff, volunteers, and Brookshire’s partners. She also thanked parents, day care workers and teachers for their input on the playground project.

“It really helped us as we formulated the right equipment,” she said.

Overall, Ms. Sanders said, “It’s about the kids and what we can offer them to enjoy.”

The playground includes canopies, which will help shield heat and rain, along with soft ground surfaces and specific structures for ages 2 to 5, 5 to 8 and 8 to 12, Ms. Sanders said. A 1952 LaFrance fire truck, which was donated to the museum in 1991 by late board chairman Bruce G. Brookshire, and new equipment also are part of the playground, according to a news release.

Rayford also addressed attendees Wednesday and recognized chamber representatives, children, Brookshire’s partners, and the Brookshire family.

Additionally, Brookshire Grocery Co.’s Chairman of the Board Brad Brookshire thanked city officials and talked to the children in attendance.

Mayor Bass said Brookshire’s is an integral part of Tyler and East Texas, and the new playground is “another way they continue to amaze us with their heart” when it comes to the community.

A ceremonious ribbon was later cut.

After the ribbon-cutting, parents and children talked about the playground, and children had a chance to enjoy it.

Ella Cheatham, 4, said she was excited about a fire truck and enjoys the slides, and Ashley Johnson, who was there with 2-year-old Remy, said she loved the playground and was excited about what it offers.

Four-year-old Colbie Varnell said the remodeled playground is cool, and she too enjoys sliding.

Her aunt, Leah Memmel, said, “We can’t wait. We can’t wait to go play on it.”

The playground originally opened at the facility about 20 years ago with features such as monkey bars, slides, swings and tunnels, according to Ms. Sanders.

No significant additions or changes have been made on the playground in years, so Brookshire Grocery Co. wanted to make it more modern and appealing to children who visit, she has said.

According to a news release, the museum dates back to the 1970s, when it was established by Brookshire Grocery Co. founders Wood T. and Louise Brookshire, “who loved the outdoors and wildlife.” The release states that the museum includes “more than 450 animals from various regions of the world, and is divided into regions, taking guests on a journey of different areas of Africa and the arctic.”

“The World of Wildlife Museum was created by our founders to be an educational facility,” Rayford said in a news release. “We continue to offer the museum as a free service to the community because it was their vision for a place where children could come to learn and have fun. We are happy to provide new equipment for children to enjoy for many years.”

There is no admission cost for the playground.

Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. In March, the hours will change to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.