But these days, the center's backers are more concerned that community leaders hear why it's vital that the non-profit keep reinventing itself.
The center's leaders struck out last week when they unveiled an ambitious fundraising campaign that aims to raise up to
The center's President and CEO
On Wednesday, Newman gave a tour to the
"What we're trying to do... is really revitalize the Science Center," Newman said. Some of the exhibits have been around for years, and as far back as the current facility's opening in 1997.
Newman said the goal includes expanding two core missions. One is strengthening its focus on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. And the other expanding and improving experiences geared toward the center's youngest customers.
Many metro areas across the country have these offerings, which they call children's museums. And Newman's research shows
A key distinction between a regular science center such as
But this younger set is the fastest growing users of the center, Newman said, and they need more.
And as popular as that orange picking and sorting exhibit is, it's been around since the center's present facility opened nearly two decades ago. One observer Wednesday noted that his college-age daughter once picked oranges there.
In contrast, step into the
These climbing exercises can nurture spatial recognition and problem-solving skills, and allow children to test motor skills and physical limits in strength and balance.
And while both facilities have dinosaur dig exhibits, for instance,
Those rope and toddler offerings are part of
"It's all about cooperative play," Newman said. "There is so much learning that takes place through play."
The other major thrust the center wants to build on is science, technology, engineering and math learning -- the same a subject that attracted Gov.
"The overarching umbrella for everything we do is around STEM," Newman said.
One major focus the center wants to build upon is environmental science, with focus in water and energy conservation, and greater exposure to nature. Plans also call for giving students a lab-style experience, as well as offering health and wellness exhibits.
The center wants to bolster its immersive technology, such as offering a full dome digital theater experience, and modeling and simulation exhibits.
Newman said the center's last major campaign relied on about 60 percent of its money from the public. Those local funding partners could include the city of
"It's going to be a year-long dialogue," said Anderson, a lobbyist and partner at
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