On Sunday, October 9th, Kidzu Museum of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is hosting the Great Shoot Out of 2011 at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

What’s the Great Shoot Out?

The Great Shoot Out is a fun way to get a professional portrait by one of North Carolina’s kid-friendliest photographers for a great deal! Sessions can feature up to seven people, dogs, cats and what/whoever else you’d like to have in a snappy photo. All funds benefit the amazing programming at Kidzu Children’s Museum. I am one of the professional photographers who will be on hand that day. What fun it will be to have a bunch of a great families in a gorgeous setting doing good deeds together. The event runs from 9 to 4:30.

What is Kidzu?

If you are a Chapel Hill parent with younger kids you most likely know Kidzu very well, but for the rest of you, Kidzu Children’s Museum is an interactive museum for young children and families located in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina.Their mission is to inspire children and the adults in their lives to learn through play. In a town full of activities geared towards college students it is a special oasis for people raising children in the Hill.

I recently spoke with Marie Ong-Tighe of the museum about the event. She told me that in addition to the fundraising photographer sessions, they are also running free, fun, fall activities such as squash bowling, fairy house building, and a Music Together class with Erica Berry to showcase what the Kidzu community is all about.

Said, Ong-Tighe, “We would love to see families come by even if they don’t have sessions, since this is the second year of this fundraiser and Kidzu is hoping to make it a successful annual event. It would be great if people got to experience what a fun fall family event the Great Shoot Out can be!”

You can sign up for a session on-line at The Great Shoot Out 2011.

What is Happening with Kidzu?

Well, if you have been by recently you will see that the location at 105 East Franklin Street is closed. Dennis Schaecher, Kidzu’s board chair, explained to me that in November 2009, the Town of Chapel Hill unanimously voted to provide Kidzu a site for our expansion museum just a block from their original location on top of the Wallace Deck. They hope to welcome visitors to the new site in 2014. To make that dream a reality they are raising an incremental $7.5 million. Until then, they will be located at 123 West Franklin Street, Suite B, on the rear side of University Square. They will open the interim space shortly before Thanksgiving.

Recent fundraising events have included a Kids Rock! concert at Forest Theatre featuring outhern Culture on the Skids, Tim Smith, Mister John Saylor, Flying Hippo; a Kidzu Pirate Party; and a Kidzu Popsicle Party featuring Locopops. The photos below are from that event.

Imagine an awesome, new museum here!

Opal and Margot Benrimo stay cool at the misting station.

The Levinson Family came to celebrate. From left to right they are Savanna Levinson, Howie Levinson, Gavin Levinson, Hutch Levinson and Melanie Hatz Levinson. Hatz Levinson is the curator of exhibits and is really excited about transforming the Wallace Parking Deck into a beautiful, new 15,000 square foot museum for children with exhibits indoors and out.

Theo and Erika Buckholtz plant flowers and to establish roots for Kidzu, along with Cornelia Nisbet, right.

Schaecher said, “We are really fortunate to have such a talented group of photographers volunteer their time for this event. It is a great chance for local families to have a professional photo taken of their family at a reduced rate just in time for the holidays. I encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity. It is easy to sign up by going to http://www.greatshootout2011.com/

See you there!!!!