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Arts & Entertainment

'Bob the Builder' begins project at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

| Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Characters and scenery from the hit PBS show "Bob the Builder" will be coming to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to entertain, inspire and inform kids.

"Bob the Builder -- Project: Build It," a travelling exhibit that opens Saturday for an almost four-month run, brings the popular building contractor and his Can-Do Crew to children. The exhibit replicates elements from Bob's Sunflower Valley, where kids can explore, learn and play, museum officials say.

"It's very true to the program," says Penny Lodge, director of exhibits for the North Side museum. "The idea is, we want people to feel when they walk in that they've kind of been plopped into the television program."

Part of the appeal of the "Bob the Builder" exhibit is the way it fits with the museum's Garage and Workshop area, where kids can try their hands at building things. Throughout the exhibit's run, Lodge says, the museum will conduct "Bob"-themed programming at the exhibit and in the Garage and Workshop.

"We got really excited about taking components and pieces of the exhibit and ... integrating them into the types of things that we like to do on an ongoing basis."

The exhibit -- presented by Delta Faucet Company, and produced by HIT Entertainment and the Children's Museum of Indianapolis -- features many interactive components. Kids can help fix the drip coming from Bob's sink in his mobile home, lay stones in the walls of the machine team's shelter, dig up fun with Scoop the Digger, help Wendy refurbish and decorate her caravan, and more.

Charity Counts, director of travelling exhibits for the Indianapolis museum, says the "Bob the Builder" exhibit drew rave reviews from the museum's visitors when it debuted in 2006. It since has traveled to many children's museums in the country. The Indianapolis museum might bring the exhibit back one more time because it was so popular, Counts says.

"The most telling aspect of things was when kids came in and said, 'Oh no, where did Bob go?'" Counts says. Parents would ask, "Where is it next, so we can go see it there?"

Lodge says she hopes Bob and his friends will draw many visitors to the museum, and inspire them with their teamwork-oriented, can-do attitude.

"We hope to have a really great summer," she says. "We hope to introduce lots of new folks to the museum and what it does all year."

Special activities:

• Bob the Builder will make in-person appearances at 11:30 a.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Sundays throughout the run of the exhibit.

• The Real Truck Series, where kids can check out real construction vehicles like the ones Bob and his crew build, will be June 11 and 25, July 9 and 23, and Aug. 6 and 20.

• The Construction Site Obstacle Course will be June 13-14.

• Construction's Corner sessions, featuring plumbing and making tool totes, will be June 13-14 and June 26, respectively.

Additional Information:

'Bob the Builder • Project: Build It'

When : Saturday through Sept. 27. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission : Exhibit is included with general museum admission of $11, $10 for ages 2-18 and senior citizens, and free for children age 1 and younger

Where : Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, North Side

Details : 412-322-5058

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