EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Shaped by science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, the El Paso Children’s Museum will be an educational experience under the guise of fun.
On Thursday, the board of the El Paso Children’s Museum revealed eight interactive themed zones for the museum, which broke ground in October. The zones are meant to stimulate imagination, creativity, innovation and lifelong learning.
The museum’s board worked with Oakland, Calif.-based Gyroscope, Inc. to create the cutting-edge designs, including a 50-foot climber and areas focused on weather, air, water and sound.
“The El Paso Children’s Museum is in a unique position to lead the museum field in access and inclusion by building bridges to different cultures, languages, abilities and ages. It will promote innovation, creativity, and career development through local/global connections, dreaming big and the belief that anything is possible,” said Tasha Leverette, Owner and Chief Action Officer of Gyroscope. “The blue sky that connects all of us around the world was the inspiration that came directly from the El Paso community for Gyroscope’s exhibit designs.”
Gyroscope received input from 12 local school districts, three universities and the public to create the concepts. The exhibitions will focus on local and global connections, cross-border experiences and the unifying principle that the “Blue Sky” connects us all. The museum will be bilingual and will include ways to customize each visitor’s experience.
The eight zones are listed and described below. A ninth zone will be revealed at a later date.
ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE CLIMBER/ESCALA, EXPLORA Y ENCUENTRA: The 50-foot climber is a gross-motor exploration that encourages visitors to test their physical and problem-solving limits. Surprising features and patterns are hidden throughout, with opportunities to capture progress through the climber. It will include a wheelchair challenge course on the 4th level.
BIG SKIES/GRANDES CIELOS: Visitors become weathercasters, engineers, sea captains and astronomers as they learn to predict the weather, engineer an earthquake-resistant structure, harness renewable energy or navigate a research vessel through a storm.
DESERT BLOOM/FLORECIENDO EN EL DESIERTO: Infants and toddlers will have a dedicated area to safely roll, crawl, walk and run. Inspired by the Chihuahuan Desert, it has a large program space, tactile and gross-motor activities, a wobbling web and a sensory light-art sandbox. Auditory interactives have been designed for babies and toddlers to practice speech sounds.
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS/SIGUE TUS INSTINTOS: Targeted to ages 4 to 7, this zone invites children to explore animals through dramatic role play and to think about careers with animals. Children can use their imaginations to build forts and create environments, including a glow-in-the-dark cavern, to bring stories to life. Exploring careers as veterinarians, children can use a video microscope, MRI and X-ray reader to diagnose and treat their animal patients.
FLY HIGH/VUELA ALTO: Design, build and launch paper airplanes in a giant test flight path over the Franklin Mountains. Analyze your flight data and try again to avoid turbulence, updrafts and crosswinds. Record your angle at takeoff, refine your plane’s design and figure out how to hit the “Star on the Mountain” target.
MAKING WAVES/ENTRE RUIDOS Y SONIDOS: This zone offers a multi-sensory exploration of sound waves, music and instrument making. Visitors can program a giant marimba, feel music through a vibrating platform and record their own music videos.
FLOW/TAN CLARO COMO EL AGUA: Transform everyday experience into science. Giant toilets, dishwashers, showers and sinks are really siphons, vortexes, pumps and simple machines. This indoor/outdoor zone will include windows into the pump room to showcase how the water is being treated and recycled, emphasizing water as a precious commodity. And you can get wet.
CHALLENGE IT/PROBANDO TU INGENIO: Visitors explore a variety of engineering challenges, from designing and testing cars and boats to coding a giant LED cube and using 3D printers and laser cutters in open-ended maker activities. The exhibits and programs are platforms for challenges that provoke creativity, innovation and learning through perseverance.
The four-story, 70,000-square-foot museum, which is slated for completion in 2022, will be located at 201 W. Main near the El Paso Art Museum in Downtown El Paso.