“When we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, we’re celebrating the joy his work brought into learning to read for generations!”—Jenny Powers, Family Engagement Coordinator for the Springfield Museums
It’s fun to have fun and we’ll show you how at the Springfield Museums Celebration of the 115th Birthday of Dr. Seuss. The Springfield Museums announces the Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration, Saturday, March 2, from 10 am to 5 pm. Jenny Powers, Springfield Museums Family Engagement Coordinator has been planning for this action- and activity-packed party since the day after last’s year’s record-breaking event.
Dr. Seuss used a lot of exclamation points in his writing—they help convey the urgency and joy of his message to children. Powers, who bubbles with enthusiasm, also employs exclamation points when she talks, especially when sharing her plans for a whole lot of Dr. Seuss Birthday edutainment (education + entertainment).
“Dr. Seuss would be 115 this year!” Powers said, “When we celebrate his birthday, we’re celebrating the joy his work brought into learning to read for generations!”
Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, wanted to engage children in reading that was exciting and fun, not like the old Dick and Jane primers most teachers in the 1950s used to teach reading to children. In order to create a new and better early reader, Geisel considered a list of words for beginning readers. After some contemplation, he decided to begin his story with the first two words that rhymed: “cat” and “hat.” The rest is history. Although The Cat in the Hat (1957) didn’t at first find favor with teachers—the cat was too mischievous, too zany—children loved it. Some said the book sold by “playground word of mouth” as children told other children how wonderful the page-turner was. In other words, Dr. Seuss revolutionized learning to read by making it FUN!
The Cat in the Hat also found acclaim with book reviewers. In 1957 New York Times writer Ellen Lewis Buell was impressed by the simple vocabulary and lively illustrations. “Beginning readers and parents who have been helping them through the dreary activities of Dick and Jane and other primer characters are due for a happy surprise,” she wrote.
The Cat in the Hat sold more than a million copies by its third year of publication and remains to this day among the top sellers for children’s books. Many of Dr. Seuss’s books remain on best seller lists, notably Green Eggs and Ham (1960); One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960); Dr.Seuss’s ABC (1963); and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! ( 1990).
Since Ted Geisel’s death in 1991, Random House has continued to publish a series of books that focus on nonfiction—science and math—called The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library (for ages 5-8). This series carries on the Dr. Seuss legacy with the idea “Learn to read. Read to learn.” Written in rhyme, the books feature the characters from The Cat in the Hat—The Cat, Sally, her brother, Thing 1 and Thing 2—and introduce basic science concepts. One of the writers from the series, Tish Rabe, will be at the Springfield Museums from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm to help with the celebration, signing and giving away books from the series.
This action-packed day also features Seuss-inspired cakes and decorations; a dance party; art and science activities; and meet and greets with The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch and the Lorax!
“We want to make this year our biggest celebration ever!” Powers said. “We’re hosting a day filled with magic, hands-on STEM, art activities, live animals, and of course, Dr. Seuss’s most famous characters led by the Cat in the Hat! We hope lots of people join us for the fun!”
All activities are free with museum admission! (Activities and times listed below.)
Please note that while the birthday activities will be open to all visitors, timed tickets for the Dr. Seuss Museum will sell out fast–order advance tickets today!
Dr. Seuss Birthday Party 2019
11 am-1 pm and 2 pm-4 pm Meet The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch, and the Lorax – These lovable Seuss characters will be in various places throughout the museums.
10:30-2:30 Meet Tish Rabe & Receive a Free Book – Tish Rabe has written over 160 children’s books for Sesame Street, Disney, Blue’s Clues, Curious George, Huff and Puff, and many others. In 1996—five years after the death of Dr. Seuss—she was selected by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to be one of the writers for The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, a line of rhyming science books for early readers. Each child 12 and under will receive one free copy of her book, Night Lights. While supplies last, additional books are available for purchase in the Museum Store.
11 am-3 pm: Kids Karaoke and Dance Party – Wear your dancing shoes and maybe even be the star and belt out a tune of your own! Join DJ Marty Fullwood for music, lights, and fun during Dr. Seuss’s 115th birthday party!
11 am-4 pm Build Our Own Seussville – Use recycled materials like paper towel tubes, boxes, and cups to help create a fun and whimsical city! Be inspired by the castle in the Oh the Places You’ll Go, Whoville, or your very own hometown. Add your own architecture to this group project!
11 am-4 pm We All Need Trees You might be surprised to learn how many different products we get from trees! You’ll get to examine various products and determine which ones are made from trees, and then brainstorm ideas on how these can be conserved.
11 am-4 pm One Fold, Two Fold – Many objects in the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum depict fish! Go on a scavenger hunt to find all kinds of different fish and then make an origami fish of your own to take home.
11 am-4 pm Mount Crumpit Derby – Use all of your STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) skills to design a mini-sleigh to race down our mini-mountain and see who can bring the Grinch down to Whoville the fastest!
Noon to 3 pm If I Ran the Zoo – Meet from our favorite friends from Forest Park Zoo! Theodor Robert Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s Dad) was superintendent of Forest Park Zoo and his work inspired many of Dr. Seuss’s wild characters! Get up close to some birds, mammals, and maybe even reptiles.
11 am-4 pm Dr. Seuss Cakes and Decorations, See real cakes and alternative creations throughout the galleries in every museum.
11 am-4 pm Digital Dr. Seuss Read and explore short stories from our favorite author digitally on the museum’s tablets. While batteries last.
11 am-4 pm Dr. Seuss Photo Booth Grab a Seussian prop to take some fun and memorable family photos.
11 am-4 pm Seuss Trivia Spin the big wheel, answer a trivia question, and win a prize! Questions are appropriate for all ages.
11 am-4 pm Seuss Puppet Theaters Create your own performance with our Seuss shadow puppet and finger puppet theaters.
11 am-2 pm Family Science Adventures Explore the Science Museum and find the Roving Scientist. You never know what kind of demonstrations and hands-on activities they have in store for you!
Noon-4 pm Art Discovery Center Trace Chinese characters, try on costumes, play gallery games, peek under lift-up panels on the Wall of Symbols to discover the meaning behind Asian motifs, put on a puppet show, and make an art project.