After years of long meetings, sleepless nights, and lots of hard work, Discovery Gateway is gearing up to reveal two brand new world-class exhibits! On June 23rd, experience racing rivers, water vortexes, and tipping buckets in a brand new re-vamped Water Play exhibit and, by the end of this summer, Discovery Gateway visitors will be able to climb, hop, slide, and buzz around in the Honey Climber exhibit. In 2015, Discovery Gateway's executive director, Laurie Hopkins, announced to the team big plans for the next three years. And just like that, the Discovery Gateway staff were off to work in their busy beehive.
“Three years ago, the staff and board agreed to revitalize the museum by adding new exhibits, weekly programming, and updating existing exhibits. At Discovery Gateway, we were determined to be a part of the solution in improving the West side of the city by working together with our talented staff and the county, city, and state governments,” Hopkins commented.
Discovery Gateway has certainly had a lively three years. Since 2015, the children’s museum has invested $1.5 million in exhibit upgrades, and has opened seven new permanent exhibits, including Block Party, DG Derby: Powered by Gravity, SkyCycle, Live Hive, and the Intermountain Rescue Hangar in Saving Lives. The Discovery Gateway team wanted to end their three-year plan with a bang. "Discovery Gateway has made huge strides over the past three years, and I couldn't be more proud or excited about all the progress we've made in such a short period of time. The Honey Climber and Water Play exhibits are the height of our three-year strategic plan for museum revitalization, and they bring us one step closer to being a world-class children's museum," said Hopkins.
Celebrate the opening of Water Play on Saturday, June 23. The event will kick off at 9 am for a VIP and Members-Only preview of the new exhibits and at 10 am the public is welcome to join the party! There will be prizes, giveaways, and educational activities to celebrate this highly anticipated event. Honey Climber will open later this summer.
Over at Water Play, children are encouraged to imagine, discover, and connect by working together as engineers and builders by designing a waterway or dam. "Water Play has been a beloved centerpiece in Kids Eye View since the opening of The Gateway location. The exhibit was simply too loved, and was time to replace it,” Hopkins said about Water Play. With the use of water wheels and vortexes, buckets, scoops, and running water children will develop essential science skills like observing, comparing, and predicting. By working together to solve problems, children will boost their communication skills as they play cooperatively, negotiate space, and share Water Play equipment.
Honey Climber will keep the whole family engaged and active as kids climb through a maze of honeycombs, walk across rope bridges, and slide down to explore The Garden. Children are invited to use their imaginations and discover new paths as they transform into a busy bee. "Having a new climber is important to us, not only because children love to climb and get above it all, but also because a climber is a gold-standard exhibit for children’s museums. The addition of the Honey Climber gives children opportunities to explore and gain confidence while developing decision-making and gross motor skills," expressed Hopkins. The Honey Climber is the finishing touch in the museums existing exhibit, The Garden, which demonstrates the importance of bees and their connection to Utah.
When asked about plans for Discovery Gateways future, Hopkins commented, "Water Play and Honey Climber are the culmination of our revitalization project. Our goal over the next year is to focus on maintaining and updating existing exhibits to keep the museum fresh and exciting so that every time a family visits they will receive the best experience possible. In addition, Discovery Gateway will continue to improve upon and add to on-site programs that amplify the learning that’s going on in the exhibits for families that want a deeper level of experience."
Be sure to mark your calendars for June 23rd and join Discovery Gateway for a day of celebration, play, prizes, curiosity, and discovery at the Water Play exhibit grand opening! Follow Discovery Gateway on their social media channels to keep up with the buzz about the launch of Honey Climber.
Anna Branson is the Marketing Assistant at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. She is a recent graduate from the University of Utah in Communications and interned at Discovery Gateway in the Spring. When she’s not practicing her marketing skills, Anna loves to travel, camp, or simply relax at home.