Photos by Geneva Nodland
Disclaimer: Article published Wednesday, February 15th.
The idea for KidCo. Children’s Museum was first brought to life in November of 2021 when Aaron Duma was stuck at home with COVID. Rather than binging a series on Netflix or doing some spring cleaning, Duma took a different route. He decided to put an entire business plan together for a one-of-a-kind, local children’s attraction that would become known as KidCo. Children’s Museum.
“We’ve always talked about this idea, so we took that time to put the numbers together and a plan in action for our small business. We knew that there was no reason it couldn’t work when we took into consideration what we really liked about children’s museums, as well as how we could make ours even better for the Fargo-Moorhead area,” Duma said.
Duma is thrilled to showcase the Puppet Area, which wouldn’t be complete without over a dozen pretty outrageous puppets!
The launch of KidCo. Children’s Museum is personal for Duma, as he states that the inspiration behind the project’s launch is his own children, as well as the need for it for other children in the community.
“We’re just a couple parents who enjoy taking our kids to things like this. My business partner, Tom Kemmer, is a contractor, my wife Emily does real estate and I come from the entertainment industry, so we combined all of our forces to make this happen and bring our idea to life. It’s kind of crazy that Fargo-Moorhead has somehow ended up without a children’s museum. We don’t really have anything like this in the area,” Duma said.
“Tom’s a father as well and he’s always been kind of a mentor to me. We both have kids of different age groups, so we have a great in-house research and development department that gets to come in and try everything out. We’re making sure everything’s safe because we’re building it for our own kids. It’s been a whole lot of fun and we’re really excited to share this with the community.”
KidCo. Children’s Museum is aiming for no wasted space! This ledge will have a fun track for the kids to race cars on. Parents have a comfortable place to relax and keep an eye on their kids the whole time, all while the children are having a blast!. KidCo. Children’s Museum’s ‘Toddler Area’ keeps the little ones safe!
Tiny Town offers two floors of fun for the kids! A Tiny Town wouldn’t be complete without a Tiny Jail where kids can stage a breakout and escape
Both owners’ families have been to children’s museums across the globe, ranging from Vienna to Seattle, Austin to Phoenix and even Otter Cove Children’s Museum in Fergus Falls. They’re taking inspiration from around the world as they build their personal children’s museum for the FMWF community.
“We take the best of what we’ve seen and what our kids enjoy playing with the most while they’re there. We’re asking ourselves what the ‘wow factor’ is at each place, along with seeing what’s getting actual replay value. We’re basing each attraction’s success on that, as well as a lot of internet research. It’s been between personal experience and ideas that we’ve come up with on our own. We want to consider what we think would be amazing if we were these little dudes again,” Duma said.
After researching and deliberating what attractions would be incorporated into KidCo. Children’s Museum’s launch, Duma appears thrilled about what they have to offer upon opening. Standout attractions that Duma anticipates to be smash hits include the “Tiny Town” and “Glow Zone,” among others.
“In our Tiny Town, we’re going to have a little jail where kids can escape through the roof and run across the rooftops of other buildings. There’s also a little rooftop ice cream bar on top of the restaurant.
We’ll also have a Glow Zone, which is a UV-lit room that’s been splattered with UV-responsive paint. The kids are allowed to draw on these giant dry-erase boards on the wall and get crazy. Then, they can wear UV-responsive glasses, necklaces and other crazy things like that. Overall, we just tried to get really silly with it,” Duma said.
Furthermore, Duma is harking back to his entertainment roots by paying special tribute to the popular Minneapolis live music venue, First Avenue. The museum will have a special live performance stage for kids and local children’s entertainers, and will have painted stars with artists’ names reminiscent of those on the walls of First Avenue.
“Rather than having artists like U2 and Prince on the stars, we’re going to have children’s artists like Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Raffi. Who knows, maybe we’ll keep a star saved for Prince. Our goal is to host kiddie concerts and other performances from musicians, magicians, over-the-top face painters, balloon artists and more,” Duma said.
“We want to incorporate those events into our memberships, in which those people will get first access to tickets to things like that. There’s a variety of tiered memberships that are all based on how often the kids want to play.”
- One of the founders of the Sanctuary Events Center in downtown Fargo
- Owner and Partner in the RiverHaven Events Center in Moorhead
- Comes from a bar and restaurant background, including Hotel Donaldson and Usher’s House
“Originally, I went to school for teaching prior to getting sucked into the Fargo bar and restaurant scene, so KidCo. isn’t completely off for me. I’m actually a licensed substitute teacher, so it’s not that crazy, but I catch folks off-guard who don’t know that part of my background.
- Owner of Kemmco Construction
- Owner of the Hawks Nest
- Runs NDSA (North Dakota Skateboarding Association)
- Partner at Harold’s On Main
- Real Estate Agent in Fargo
- Owner of Vesta Realty
- Fitness and Yoga Instructor at Mojo Fitness
Admission for the first parent is free!
In general, children’s museums often charge the parent the same amount as the child. At KidCo. Children’s Museum, the first adult is free, with each additional adult being charged $4!
In addition to the stage, KidCo. Children’s Museum is offering a wide array of different attractions for its visitors.
“Tom built a really cool little puppet theater that the kids are going to love. We’ll have over a dozen pretty outrageous puppets that they can play with in our puppet theater. There will be costumes where kids can put on a superhero mask, cape or outfit and play as superheroes. They can also dress up as a firefighter and play in the firehouse. We don’t know what will be the biggest hit yet, but we know that it’s going to be a lot of fun for them,” Duma said.
While the owners may still be unsure what the most beloved aspects of the business are yet, they have an idea as parents themselves. They have geared and packaged aspects of the business toward what they would want and need as parents themselves, as they considered what they’d appreciate seeing in a children’s museum in terms of time limits, birthday packages and more.
“Sessions will last 90 minutes. We found that to be the perfect time as we’re geared toward the younger kids that don’t really have an attention span for much longer than that. We’re a one-stop shop for birthdays. You bring the kid and the cake, and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll have plates, napkins, pizza and juice boxes, and we’ll take care of the cleanup. All you have to do is show up with the kids. We try to make it as easy as possible for the parents,” Duma said.
What Makes KidCo. Children’s Museum Trendsetting
KidCo. Children’s Museum is truly one-of-a-kind, as they’re the only children’s museum in the FMWF area. What sets them apart from many other children’s museums is their perspective on capacity. Rather than aim for high volume from open to close, they’re focused on avoiding chaos and creating an inclusive environment for everyone.
“We’re not really big, but that’s kind of our whole point. We don’t want to be a giant, loud, chaotic space. We’re going to have 30 to 40 kids in here at the most, with probably 15 to 20 parents per visit. We want to be very inclusive and accessible to everybody. We want to be crazy, but not chaotic,” Duma said
“We’re a one-stop shop for birthdays. You bring the kid and the cake, and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll have plates, napkins, pizza, juice boxes and take care of the cleanup. All you have to do is show up with the kids. We try to make it as easy as possible for the parents.”
– Aaron Duma
MultiPlay Buys Wiggle Reducer 5 plays – $49
According to Duma, many other children’s facilities tend to be overrun and understaffed. It can be complete chaos, with parents just waiting for it to end. They aimed to create an environment where parents have a comfortable place to relax and keep an eye on their kids the whole time, all while the children are having a blast.
“There’s room for every parent or adult to have a seat, relax, have a cup of coffee, charge their phone and watch their kids play. That’s where we differ from a lot of the other children’s museums. In other places, the adult has kind of been forgotten about. They’re left to be the coat hanger and watch the kids play. I’d personally love it if I could just have a seat, relax and buy some juice boxes, snacks and pizza for the kids,” Duma said.
“We have comfortable bar stools at both table height and bar rail height that go all the way around. There, adults can relax and still see every angle of the place and keep an eye on their children, other than the Glow Zone, which they’ll have to escort the kids through since it’s a darker area.”
De Wiggler Package 10 plays – $89
The KidCo. Children’s Museum App
In the KidCo. Children’s Museum app, adults can schedule play sessions a week before, or even up to three months in advance. “That’s how we can control attendance. If we gave people the ability to walk in anytime they want, we would never be able to control attendance and guarantee people spots that they scheduled in advance,” Duma said.
“I’ve never seen anyone else ever do this in the children’s museum world. Generally, I think it’s because they’re open as nonprofits and want to cram as many kids into them as possible, which isn’t our goal.”
Wiggle Buster Package 20 plays *All packages have a 6-month expiration – $149
“We’ll always be adding and tweaking things. For example, if we find that the salon isn’t being played with as often as we hope for it to be, we’ll rework it into something that will get the kids excited again. It’s all very organic, so we expect there to be changes.”
– Aaron Duma
Join the Fun!
First Adult is FREE
2nd Adult for $4
2 plays for $20/month
4 plays for $35/month
Unlimited for $55/month
*Plays do not carry over month to month
Unlimited 7-Day pass for $25
*Must reside outside of the Fargo-Moorhead area
“If someone has family coming from out of town, they can grab a week-long pass for an unlimited number of play sessions each day or throughout that week. Over the holidays, we go to Arizona to visit my parents. When we’re there, we’ll grab a pass for the local children’s museum and go three to four times a week because the kids have to get their wiggles out!”
Stay tuned for upcoming events, as Duma shared some of the many fun sessions they have planned to further promote inclusivity among all kids. These special sessions include devoted time for those who are sensory sensitive and time dedicated for young children.
“We’ll have sensory-sensitive sessions at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings, so there will be time set aside for children that are sensory-sensitive. In those sessions, we’ll have lower lights, lower music and lower numbers of attendance,” Duma said.
“While we do have a toddler zone, we’ll also be doing a Toddler Time on Saturday mornings with the whole place reserved for the little ones. As a parent, it always annoys me when the little ones are getting run over by older, bigger kids. During Toddler Time, the whole place will be theirs to run around and not have to worry about any of the bigger kids running them over.”
Aside from in-house events, KidCo. Children’s Museum also anticipates working with different organizations to create positive change across the FMWF community.
“Once we open to the public, we can focus on the good that we can do in the community. We’ve talked with Rape & Abuse Crisis Center and the Ronald McDonald House, and we have friends at Make-A-Wish, so there’s a ton of awesome stuff that we want to do once we get the doors open,” Duma said.
Stay up to date with the latest from KidCo. Children’s Museum through their Facebook page, app, website and other social media below.
KidCo. Children’s Museum opens March 1st!
Support KidCo. Children’s Museum
Phone: (701) 429-7432
App: KidCo. Children’s Museum
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: KidCo Children’s Museum
Address: 814 Center Ave, Suite 3 Moorhead, MN
MONDAY Field Trips and Birthday Parties Only
TUESDAY – FRIDAY
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Party rentals available at 5 p.m.
SATURDAY – SUNDAY
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Party rentals available at 4 p.m.