Terre Haute Children’s Museum to Open New FIT Gym Exhibit  

Terre Haute Children’s Museum to open new FIT Gym exhibit

What is your heart rate?  Stretch those arms! Get stepping with your legs! How far can you reeeeea-ch? Use those core muscles to balance on a wobbly disk! It’s all in our new exhibit, FIT Gym!  Guests to the Terre Haute Children’s Museum will have the opportunity learn the five components of fitness and measure their progress in the all-new FIT Gym, opening October 5, 2018 at 4 p.m.

John Newport, president of the Terre Haute 20180927_122131BChildren’s Museum board of directors, said this new exhibit adds to the excitement for kids and families in the Wabash Valley.

“We’ve learned,” Newport said, “that families love the Museum and appreciate the hands-on learning opportunities, but they want more active exhibits and experiences that would engage their kids as they grow older.  FIT Gym helps accomplish that.”

When the museum surveyed health and fitness experts to determine the focus of the exhibit, they resoundingly said we need to get kids moving. Indiana physical fitness standards highlight five elements of fitness as does the exhibit: body composition, cardio, endurance, flexibility, and strength. FIT Gym has equipment and challenges that make exercising for these elements fun and inviting.

Body composition has two aspects. Photographs by Harold Schatz show a long row of Olympic men and women athletes in all shapes and sizes, reassuring children that whatever their shape there is a sport for them. A BMI tester and skin calipers encourages visitors to take note of their body fat in relation to lean mass. Get the heart pumping in the cardio section chasing lights on the Cardio Wall, rowing or stepping on child-sized machines. Pulse monitors let children compare their heart rate at rest to that after exercise. For endurance, do sit-ups and curl-ups or master the battling ropes recording how long you can go. Being flexible can be seen with a sit and reach test, balancing on an inflated disk, or lifting your trunk. Demonstrate your leg strength in jumping high, your body strength moving sideways on a climbing wall, or your arm strength using stretch bands for resistance exercises. Can you do more with each repetition?
The exhibit teaches the science behind keeping our muscles, mind, and heart healthy, but also incorporates technology and math as you measure and mark your progress. Together with the Ropes Challenge Course visitors can discover that physical challenges can pay off psychologically, physically, and mentally. As John Ratey, M.D. from Harvard University wrote: “Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain…it is so good it is like Miracle Gro.” “The more fit the child is, the better learner they are.” With the new additions, Terre Haute Children’s Museum brings that philosophy and opportunity to the Wabash Valley.

20180927_122144B 4Jamie McDowell, interim executive director of the Museum, said this addition gives our guests another opportunity to learn, this time about their own bodies, and measure their growth.

“It’s one thing to learn the definitions of ‘cardio’ or ‘flexibility’ but it’s another thing to measure your own flexibility, perform some specific activities to improve and then measure again!”

This project continues the fundraising campaign that began in 2016 and helped add the Ropes Challenge Course in June 2018.  To date, the campaign has raised nearly $500,000 towards these projects, with major gifts and pledges from the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation, the Charles Morgan Carraway and Joanne M Carraway Charitable Foundation, Fitness Solutions, Inc. and Vectren.

FIT Gym is located on the first floor of the Museum, under the new Ropes Challenge Course.



The Terre Haute Children’s Museum, located at the corner of 8th Street and Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute, is a nonprofit institution dedicated to enriching our children’s lives through the exploration of science and technology. The Museum receives no city, state or federal funding, relying solely on visitor fees, gifts, donations, and grants to fund its world-class educational exhibits and programs.

Museum admission is free for members of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum and children under 24 months. Regular admission is $8 for adults and children over 24 months. Families who participate in qualifying assistance programs can enroll in the Access Pass program, which allows them to visit the Museum for just $2 per family member per visit. To learn more about this program, visit thchildrensmuseum.com/join/accesspass/.

For more information about the Museum, visit www.thchildrensmuseum.com, email info@terrehautechildrensmuseum.com, or call 812-235-5548. You can also like us on Facebook at facebook.com/terrehautechildrensmuseum, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/thcmuseum, and check out our Pinterest page at pinterest.com/thcm.