OGDEN -- What began as a weekly outing for a family of cousins turned out to be a huge celebration at the Elizabeth Stewart Treehouse Museum.
When 5-year-old Lily Hurst walked in the door of the museum around 11:15 a.m. Monday, she was greeted by cheers, Chinese gongs and a slew of confetti and streamers falling from the ceiling.
"Congratulations! You're our two-millionth visitor at the Treehouse Museum," Executive Director Lynne Goodwin said as she presented the Layton girl with a free one-year membership and a basket of goodies, including a two-millionth-visitor T-shirt, books to both read and color, and other treats.
Lily looked up at her mother, Jamie, and smiled while putting the T-shirt on over her pink Hello Kitty blouse.
Her 8-year-old brother, Carter, was thrilled for his little sister.
"This is so awesome," he said. "This place is great."
Lily said she loves the Treehouse Museum, at 347 E. 22nd St. The last time she visited, she participated in a production of "The Three Little Pigs" inside the Castle Theater.
"I played one of the smart piggies," she said. "I was inside the brick house. It was so much fun."
Jamie Hurst said her family has only visited the museum a couple of times, but with a free one-year membership, she said, they will be coming often.
"The kids have always loved it here," she said. "This is really exciting. We do something every week with all the cousins, and this was our outing today. We had no idea this was going to happen."
The museum opened its doors at the Ogden City Mall in 1992, Goodwin said. Since then, approximately 600 to 700 people have visited each day.
"I love seeing the light the children get in their eyes when they come here," she said.
"It was fun to watch Lily's reaction. She seemed more interested in telling her family what they need to see here than she was about all the hoopla today. And her brother was so cute about it. He was just as excited to be the two-millionth-and-one visitor."
Goodwin said the museum is always busy adding new exhibits and other forms of learning tools and entertainment for the children, including an extension of the puppet center, where a recording studio will soon be part of the fun.
"We always have so many fun things going on for the kids. We think it's so important for them to laugh and play and be happy children, so they can grow up and be happy adults," Goodwin said.
"Every child deserves that."
So will there be a celebration when the three-millionth child walks through the door?
"You bet," Goodwin said. "We've already started counting."