Who We Are:
The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a private non-profit, 501(c)3 institution founded in 1986 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to provide an environment where children’s intellectual curiosity and self-expression could be freely expressed through play. Their goal was to provide inventive and interactive exhibits and programs which encourage children to learn about themselves and the world around them.

What We Do:
Today, The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is where youth, families, teachers and the community collaborate and participate in joint projects and partnerships in learning...It is where we celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the Coachella Valley, and broaden understanding and tolerance. Currently the museum serves over 65,000 people per year.

Where We Are:
The Museum’s beautiful campus is located at 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage. The six and a half acre site was donated by The Honorable Walter Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation and the facilities were built with the donation of public and private funds. Its proximity to Interstate 10 provides excellent access for the Valley’s more than 70,000 school children.

How We Grew:

1986>Conceived by a group of concerned private citizens.
1987>
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City of Palm Desert Funding for museum needs assessment and facility
Incorporated in the state of California.
Charter member in Association of Youth Museums
1988>Achieved nonprofit 501(C)(3) status.
1990>
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Initiated outreach programs in the schools.
Opened Museum office and first exhibits.
1991>$1.6 million Building Trust Fund created by Cove Cities: Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and Indian Wells.
1992>
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Winner of the California Teachers Association State Gold Award.
First Annual Educator's Community Resource Faire.
1994>First traveling exhibit "Garbage... and all that Trash" at the Palm Desert Town Center Super Saturdays Open Museum
1995>
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Discovery Edu-Kits Outreach Program introduced.
Family Theater Series partnership with the Rancho Mirage Parks and Recreation
Museum Partnerships with Scholastic, Microsoft, Crayola and the Los Angeles Times
International children's art exhibition "Discover My World".
1996>
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Named Nonprofit of the Year by the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce.
Co-Sponsors of the Celebration of Young Children in Palm Desert.
Museum Operations in Palm Desert Town Center Mall June-September
Construction begun September 1996
1997>
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Completion of Phase I and delivery of exhibits
Recruitment and training of Professional Staff and volunteers
1998>
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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony January 29, 1998
Discovery Partners' Adult Fun Night Opening Celebration January 30, 1998
Grand Opening-free tours to the public February 1, 1998
Served over 65,000 visitors
1999>
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Rancho Mirage Nonprofit of the year Award
Served over 50,000 visitors
2000>
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Add Design Corner (Interior Design Exhibit)
Add Westfield Shoppingtown Mall Exhibits (Outreach Program)
Served over 55,000 visitors
2001>
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Ranked #20 in the nation; #2 in California
Served over 56,000 visitors
2002>
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Rancho Mirage Nonprofit of the year Award
Served over 55,000 visitors
2003>
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Kaleidoscope Traveling exhibit serving over 8,000 children in 17 days
New Exhibit; Fur Fins Feathers and Fun w/Animal Samaritans
Rancho Mirage Nonprofit of the year Award
Served over 62,000 visitors
2004>Served over 65,000 visitors
2005>
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Served over 62,000 visitors
Mural Project installed and unveiled.
2006>
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Gallery Refurbish and addition of 5 new exhibits
Rancho Mirage Non-Profit of the year Award
Served over 64,000 visitors
New Web-site design unveiled
Application and approval of Preliminary Development Plan for Master Plan Expansion
2007>
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First Children's Champions Award Gala recognizing Betty Barker
Rancho Mirage Non-Profit of the year Award
Strategic Plan reviewed and expanded upon
Unveil new design of Museum newsletter, the Discovery Gram
Served over 66,000 visitors
2008>
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Confirmation received of City of Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage pledges for expansion
First Phase of Master Plan finalized
Second Children's Champions recognizing; Barbara Sinatra, Palm Desert National Bank, Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation, and Jean Benson
Served over 59,000 visitors
2009>
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KPSP Local 2 and the H.N. Frances C. Berger Foundation Coachella Valley Spotlight award
National Recognition as ACM "Good to Grow Museum" One of the 4 in the Nation
Served 55,000 visitors
2010>
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Developed Children's Gardens
Partnered with ASID for 10th Annual Home Tour
E-newsletter developed
Broke Ground on Phase I Expansion project
Served 55,000 visitors
2010>
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September 2011 New Multipurpose Building ready for occupancy
Outdoor play areas and maze completed
November 2011:11 new Hands-On Exhibits installed
Ribbon Cut, Media Play day, Evening Celebration Event, and Healthy Family Day
Naming of the interior of the Dinah Shore Building to the Betty Barker Gallery
Installation of newly donated art sculpture- "R.Hero"

2013

  • Served over One MIlion paid visitors at the Gerald Ford location!

2014

  • Built an Exhibit Fabrication shop on site
  • Installed 22 new STEM exhibits including: 20 Puzzler exhibits to challenge your creativity
  • Installed a Cup Copter exhibit and a Harmonograph exhibit
  • Installed a Swiss Cheese Maze activity
  • Began Family Science Nights programs - Children and families from Title 1 schools come enjoy an evening of fun, family learning (at no cost to the families or the school)
  • Redesigned the museum lobby and moved the Gift Shop into the lobby
  • Made the old Gift Shop into a new Hands-On Learning Lab


The Facility:
MGA Partners designed the entire CDMOD complex of buildings. Their award-winning designs are known all over the world. The dramatic angles, curved walls, and floor to ceiling windows are only a few of the special touches created by their superior architects.

Exhibit design and fabrication was primarily developed by Hands On! Inc., a leader in Children's Museums. Today the museum has its own Exhibit Shop and the museum has begun making exhibits in-house.

The Present:
The museum has embarked on an ambitious new initiative to expand the value of our exhibits to children of all ages and their families, make the museum even more accessible to people with limited resources, and to develop more science, technology, engineering and math content so essential for success in today's world.

Phone: 760-321-0602 , Fax: 760-321-1605: 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. CDMOD is a 501(c )3 non-profit organization.