Orlando Science Center Begins New KidsTown Project
The Orlando Science Center’s KidsTown exhibit has been a staple in the community since the opening of the Science Center in 1997. The specialized 3,000 square foot early-childhood exhibit and play area has gone through several changes through the years to keep up with the number and age of children it serves. However, many parts of the exhibit, including the most popular section, the Orange Grove Factory, have remained largely the same.
With 65% attendance growth in the past six years, and 60% of member households with children under the age of seven, the Orlando Science Center has decided to move and expand KidsTown into a state-of-the-art New KidsTown area on the second floor. The focus of this expansion is on high-quality opportunities for collaborative play and critical thinking. The move to the second floor will eliminate a currently mandatory ride on the elevator for families of young children with strollers on their way to visit KidsTown.
The Orlando Science Center begins new KidsTown project’s first phase which includes pouring additional concrete on the second floor next to OSC’s main lobby. Additionally, to help with the flow of traffic, the box office will switch places with the store to receive and greet visitors when they arrive at the Science Center. New KidsTown will be nearly triple the size of the original exhibit. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and cost $5 million.
New KidsTown will feature specialized areas, including a greatly expanded Orange Grove Factory at its entrance. While serving children under 8 throughout the new space, there will also be a specified play area for toddlers and their parents.
Take a look around the New KidsTown:
The Orlando Science Center has contracted Roto, an award-winning museum design and production company to custom build New KidsTown. In all, the New KidsTown will take over nearly half of the second floor. Orange Grove: This section will be nearly triple in size of the original Orange Factory and serve as the entrance of New KidsTown. It follows the harvest of oranges, from the grove to the store/farmers market. Art of Science: This section will feature a digital art wall where children can display artwork they created during their visit to the Orlando Science Center. Climber + Construction: This section features a floor to ceiling climber where children can explore safe risk-taking in their physical activity. The theme of this section can change; ideas for that include a spaceship, treehouse or pirate ship. There is also a “construction site” as part of this area emphasizing basic engineering skills. Water Table: Like the Orange Grove, the Water Table is another favorite space from the original KidsTown that will be expanded in New KidsTown. It will include center islands where kids can “pop up” and orchestrate their play from the middle of the table. Toddler Play: This new space is designed for engagement between children under 48-months and their parents. This colorful area features safe places to crawl and climb, and play focused on cause and effect, facial recognition and muscle control, balance and coordination. KidsTown Studio: This versatile space can be used for classes and workshops for parents or children, science experiments or art. Theater and Explore It!: This area, which will take over the current traveling exhibit space, features a stage and space for physical activity. A large Lite-Brite like activity will take over one wall and another will feature an extensive network of pneumatic tubes.
Source: “Orlando Science Center begins $5M New KidsTown project,” Bungalower