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$52 million Children’s Museum Discovery Lab construction in Tulsa nearly complete

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Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-31 14:08:01-04

TULSA, Okla. — The final push is on to complete Tulsa's new $52 million Children's Museum Discovery Lab.

The original Discovery Lab in Owen Park will be closing at the end of October, and the new museum is on track to open by the end of the year.

"This is a gift to Tulsa -- this is a labor of love and something that we are so ready to share," says Discovery Lab Director of Exhibits, Lynnsey Childress-Wimp.

For the past year and a half, construction has been underway on the new building at 31st and Riverside near the Gathering Place, and that work should wrap up in about a month.

Museum staff says everything here will be "bigger and better" and that includes the museum itself.

Photos: Children's Museum Discovery Lab construction in Tulsa nearly complete

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The original Discovery Lab in Owen Park will be closing at the end of October, and the new museum is on track to open by the end of the year.

It's three times the size of the original - -that's more than 50,000 square feet designed to spark imaginations.

The main exhibit hall can be found just off the lobby. The familiar tape tunnel greets guests, but this one is on a much grander scale.

"So for all the tape tunnels all together, we're going to need 700 rolls of packing tape," Childress-Wimp says.

While you'll find some familiar exhibits, much of what's featured here will be new. Discovery Lab partnered with children's museums across America to create seven interactive exhibit galleries.

"The Science Museum of Minnesota has been contracted to help," Childress-Wimp says.

"They did some designing and have fabricated about a third of our exhibits. We've also been working with the Amazeum in Bentonville, Arkansas they've been a tremendous partner."

New attractions include a café, gift shop, wet and wild Hydro Lab, a toddler area, and a big media center unlike anything they've ever had before.

"It's a 360-degree immersive media environment that we're really excited about," Childress-Wimp says.

"Definitely nothing like it that Tulsa has ever seen. Screen time on a really big scale, but the kind of screen time parents want."

There are three floors to discover either by staircases or elevator. The second floor is where guests will find classroom and party space.

"We are also the STEM center for Tulsa Public schools, so there are five 900 square foot classrooms where every elementary school student in Tulsa Public Schools will come and visit for a field trip and classroom experience every single school year," Childress-Wimp says.

The third floor features a private event space available for rental. It has spectacular views of the Arkansas River, Gathering Place and Tulsa skyline.

The building was designed by Tulsa based architecture firm KKT Architects, Inc.

Waves in the masonry, depending on the time of day, can make the walls appear to move.

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The original Discovery Lab in Owen Park will be closing at the end of October, and the new museum is on track to open by the end of the year.

"So the present has been wrapped and we are really excited to open it and share this with everyone, hopefully around Christmastime," Childress-Wimp says.

Memberships and rental bookings are already available. You can learn more on both here.

Be sure to join 2 News Oklahoma on Thursday at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. as we take you on a tour of the new facility.

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