At the Exploreum, we recognize that every child is born a scientist! The Wharf of Wonder, a Community Project of the Junior League of Mobile, is an optimal learning environment designed especially for the smallest Exploreum visitors, ages 0-6, and their parents or caregivers.

In this whimsical setting, your little one will learn fundamental skills that build self-confidence, creativity and curiosity about the world. A secure area free from the competition of older children, children can:

  • Climb aboard the S.S. Crichton sea vessel and take off on a shrimp-fishing expedition.
  • Peek through the lighthouse and imagine the world from a new perspective.
  • Scoop sea creatures from the ball “ocean” and sort and weigh them at the fish market.

The exhibit area is filled with objects that foster dramatic play, promote tactile exploration, stimulate sensorimotor learning and encourage peer interaction. Scaled and designed to meet the physical needs of preschoolers, toddlers and infants, the Wharf of Wonder is outfitted with smaller steps, smooth surfaces for crawling and quiet areas to rest and read. With opportunities for all developmental stages, children will gain a greater sense of accomplishment with every return visit.

Stroller parking and a changing area are also available in this area.



Wharf of Wonder Policies

Creating a Playful Space for Early Learning

The Wharf of Wonder promises to be one of the most popular Exploreum exhibits and in great demand. In order for it to achieve its goals, however, Exploreum staff will have to enforce several important rules. These are based on the experiences of other museums that have similar pre-K exhibit spaces and the recommendations of early childhood learning specialists.

  1. Only children 0 to 6 years of age and their parent or caregiver will be allowed into the Wharf. This is critical to ensure that our youngest guests can play and learn without competition from older children. Furthermore, the exhibits are scaled to the size and physical needs of this age group. Children 6 and older are invited to enjoy the adjacent Hands On Hall exhibits, in view of parents in the Wharf.
  2. The maximum number of children allowed in the Wharf at any one time is 30. Again, this ensures the children’s safety and the quality of the learning experience. On busy days, some parents may have to wait their turn to enter the Wharf.
  3. An adult must accompany and supervise children at all times. By sharing the fun and observing their children at play, parents will learn more about how young children learn and be able to carry over those lessons into the home.
  4. Light snacks, bottles and drinks in closed containers are permitted. This breaks precedent as food and beverages are not permitted in other Exploreum galleries. However, we understand the special needs of infants and toddlers.
  5. Clean up is an important part of the play. Accidents do happen and caregivers are expected to deal with them as they would at home. Soiled toys or smaller items in the Wharf should be dropped into specially marked bins for sanitization at the end of the day.