What: Buzz Alley opening and Honey Harvest festival.
When: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. today (Buzz Alley debut), 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Honey Harvest).
Where: Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St.
* Noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Meet a beekeeper at the observation hive (weather permitting).
* Noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Honey tasting.
* 12:30 p.m. (and following hive visits). Honey extraction.
* 1-4 p.m. Book signing by Mary Priestley, author of "William's Wildflowers."
The Creative Discovery Museum is all abuzz.
This weekend is the opening of new permanent exhibit Buzz Alley, which educates visitors about the life and work of honeybees.
The opening of the new exhibit is taking place the same weekend as the annual Honey Harvest, a festival celebrating beekeeping and local honey.
"We do all kinds of different activities, like making candles out of beeswax, letting the kids taste different flavors of honey, just different activities about the bees for Honey Harvest," said Lynda LeVan, director of external affairs for the museum.
The goal of Buzz Alley, LeVan said, is to teach children about the role of the honeybee in the environment and in crop production.
"Bees are the key pollinators for crops," she said, adding that honeybee colonies are being lost to colony collapse disorder.
"So we wanted to teach children and their families about the importance of the bees and the struggles that they're having, so that they'll either be supportive of beekeepers in our community or maybe even having hives for themselves."
The exhibit is interactive, allowing the children to actually play the role of the bee, learning how flowers and plants are pollinated, and allowing them to also play the role of the beekeeper, handling the tools and trying on bee suits. Wildflowers have been planted on the green roof to nourish the bees.
Science manager Karen Dewhirst will be on hand to answer questions about the lives of bees and the value of their work.
"Estimates are that one-third of every bite of food we put into our mouths have either been directly or indirectly pollinated by honeybees," she said. "It's really critical to all of us."
Buzz Alley is a community collaboration. According to a news release, the exhibit is one component of an educational effort that also includes Chattanooga Nature Center, Hamilton County Department of Education and the ad hoc Friends of William's Wildflowers Committee. "William's Wildflowers" is a book based on the paintings of the late William Crutchfield, a Chattanooga architect.
In a news release, CDM Executive Director Henry Schulson said: "We hope all children will visit Buzz Alley and then be inspired to go outdoors and discover the incredible natural treasures throughout our region."