In the News: Discovery Center Opens Indoors April 14
Starting April 14, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center will be open both indoors and outdoors from Wednesday to Sunday for timed, ticketed entry with reduced capacity. Advance tickets are required. Masks are required. Play sessions may be reserved online at www.kansasdiscovery.org/playtime. Sessions are Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9-12 and 1-4, Thursday 9-12, 1-4 and 5-8 and Sunday 1-4. The museum opened outdoors in July 2020, following a full closure in March 2020.
The museum is reopening with new hours and experiences. The facility will now be open every Thursday evening until 8 p.m. In addition, three new indoor exhibits will open for the first time. Illumination Station uses colorful lights, swirling colors and mirrors to create opportunities for scientific inquiry and experimentation. Illumination Station was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Ramp Racing invites visitors to design their own magnetic raceway and send cars speeding down straightaways, over ramps and around curves. Top City Build is a Topeka-themed building experience that challenges visitors to construct additions to the capital city with small and giant-size plastic bricks. New cleaning procedures and infection control policies will help reduce risk for visitors.
Across the United States, more than one in three museums will close permanently as a result of Covid-19, according to the American Alliance of Museums. Many of these museums, like the Discovery Center, are privately funded nonprofits that receive no ongoing tax dollars for operation. The Discovery Center relies on admissions to run the museum, and the museum lost 93% of projected admission and membership income in 2020. The museum is able to reopen because of community support.
The Discovery Center did extensive community work during the pandemic. Shortly after closing the building in March, museum staff called and emailed thousands of local families to find out about their needs and responded with online activity videos and learning kit deliveries. Activities helped families use play to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math. Discovery at Home online videos were viewed over 400,000 times, and nearly 3,000 learning kits were distributed. Ten Discovery Play Spaces, bilingual, educational vinyl installations, were installed at local parks in Topeka. Museum programs have specifically targeted low-income and underserved children, out of concern for learning gaps created by limited access to educational resources for many families during the pandemic.
The Discovery Center is a hands-on children’s museum with a mission to enhance the lives of children and enrich the communities it serves. Since opening in 2011 in Topeka, Kansas, the Discovery Center has become a special place where children can explore, create, discover and learn through play. The museum features over 15,000 square feet of indoor exhibits and a 4.5 acre certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom. Outreach programs bring quality, hands-on experiences into our community to inspire a lifelong love of learning for every child. More than 700,000 visitors from 23 countries have visited the Discovery Center.
Media Coverage of this Story
Spotted Photo Gallery: Kansas Children’s Discovery Center fully opens after months
Keith Horinek, KSNT
CapFed Best News: Closed 13 months and a day, Kansas Children's Discovery Center reopens Wednesday
Rafael Garcia, Topeka Capital-Journal