A new destination for toddlers through third graders is in the works in Parsons, Kansas and is scheduled to open next month.
Dinosaurs, space, the human body, and insects will be the topic of exhibits at the newly formed Curious Minds Discovery Zone (on Facebook).
The Discovery Zone is the brainchild of Dan Van Leeuwen.
"About three and a half years ago, we were out at Albuquerque for a conference and we were letting the girls play in the museum out there and I turned to my wife and I said 'why can't we have something like this back home?' then I looked at her again and said 'why can't we have something like this back home!'" says Van Leeuwen.
From there Van Leeuwen formed a committee and the ideas began to flow.
He says the location in downtown Parsons is perfect because of Highways 59 and 400. And that the closest Children's Museums are at least two hours away.
"We want to be able to provide this service for our community and community meaning this region, not just Parsons," says Van Leeuwen. "We want it for all the kids in the region."
Van Leeuwen says the exhibits will educate the children while having a good time since they are hand-on.
Shawn Encarnacion is part of the design team. He created the cartoon character which will serve as the face of the museum. He says he and another designer had more than 24 ideas for the space, which had to be whittled down to about nine exhibits.
"Actually, when Cory and I write notes, we draw them," says Encarnacion. "We don't use very many actual lettered notes. But we had drawn ideas for about 25 different things so it was really painful to keep knocking it down."
While this is a temporary location, there are already ideas for a new location three or four years down the road.
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