Kansas City, Mo. – The long awaited Wondersope Children’s Museum officially reopened their doors to the public October, 23 2020. Since outgrowing its original location in Shawnee, the brand new $15 million, 30,000 square foot facility features 10 exhibit spaces focused on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Each exhibit incorporates an infamous feature of Kansas City, providing interactive entertainment paired with education.
This also includes a life-size school bus that juts out the back of the building on the second floor, almost as if someone forgot to engage the parking brake. Children are prompted to navigate through a maze of tactile motifs, one of which allows them to physically step inside the bus.
“We really want to embrace fearless play. If we’re giving children the ability to be fearless and just seeing what they want to tackle, it’s a great opportunity for them to try stuff and say, ‘It’s OK if you fail. It’s OK if you get scared. There’s nothing wrong with that,’” says Roxanne Hill, the museum’s executive director.
Social/emotional development is also stressed. The museum’s target age is 10 and under, but Hill says kids who are 11 or 12 will still find things they will enjoy and find value in.
“It’s great if little kids know their ABCs and the numbers and the colors,” Hill said. “But if they don’t understand how to share, how to take turns, how to play with others nicely, they’re still not going to find success in school.”
The original Wonderscope opened in a retrofitted elementary school donated by builder, Vic Regnier, in 1989. A $15 million capital campaign was launched to pay for a move in 2017.