New focus for Zeum as it becomes Children’s Creativity Museum 

click to enlarge Clay play: Dasha Yarkevich, 9, sets up a clay giraffe she sculpted in the animation studio at the new Children’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner) - CLAY PLAY: DASHA YARKEVICH, 9, SETS UP A CLAY GIRAFFE SHE SCULPTED IN THE ANIMATION STUDIO AT THE NEW CHILDREN’S CREATIVITY MUSEUM AT YERBA BUENA GARDENS. (MIKE KOOZMIN/THE EXAMINER)
  • Clay play: Dasha Yarkevich, 9, sets up a clay giraffe she sculpted in the animation studio at the new Children’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)
  • Clay play: Dasha Yarkevich, 9, sets up a clay giraffe she sculpted in the animation studio at the new Children’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)

Children laughed, played, climbed and tinkered Sunday at the newly reopened — and rebranded — Children’s Creativity Museum.

The former Zeum at the downtown Yerba Buena Gardens, which previously focused on hands-on creative, multimedia and educational activities primarily for ages six to 12, opened this past weekend after a five-week remodel with expanded hours and a new emphasis to include younger children ages 3 to 5.

“We really hope with the new name we can move from being one of the best-kept secrets in The City to a top destination,” museum Executive Director Audrey Yamamoto said.

Along with the name, the $250,000 redesign includes what may become a new favorite for the museum’s youngest visitors, the Imagination Lab.

“It was really designed to capture our educational approach, which is to have kids imagine, create and share,” Yamamoto said.

On Sunday, kids were experimenting with green-screen technology, starring in their own puppet shows and music videos, building forts with Velcro tubes, and stacking magnetic tiles into towering sculptures.

Other youngsters were hard at play molding clay into tasty “food” for the lab’s “Sculpt It” food truck. “It’s soy-based,” Yamamoto said, smiling. “So it’s not too bad if they do end up eating it.”

The museum’s animation, music and digital studios remain popular attractions, as does the historic 1906 carousel outside.

Museum officials hope the expansion will over the next four years help double yearly attendance from 50,000 to 100,000.

Though Sunday’s admission was free, if the long lines outside were any indication, it may be on its way.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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