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New Discovery Lab now open to members

The new location is next to the Gathering Place at 31st & Riverside
Posted at 5:40 AM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 07:00:00-05

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa's all-new Discovery Lab, located next to Gathering Place at 31st and Riverside, welcomed its first guests this weekend.

Children's Museum members will have exclusive access through January 23rd before the Museum's Grand opening on January 24.

Museum staff tells us seeing the completed Discovery Lab is a dream come true.

"To be in this space and to be able to do what we do. And the number of families we're going to impact, it's beyond my wildest dreams," says Anne Mannell, Director of Organizational Development at the Discovery Lab.

It's a dream that took $52 million and ten years. The first guests told us it was worth the wait.

"It's been crazy to see what it turned into!" exclaims visitor Phoebe Storm.

"This opening is awesome for Tulsa," adds visitor Jeremy Stanford.

The new Discovery Lab is three times the original size in Owen Park and spans three floors. Tulsa architectural firm KKT Architects designed it.

The second two floors feature STEAM classrooms and event space. The first floor features the main exhibit hall. It's an action-packed zone oozing with interactive exhibits. Here you'll find a few amped-up old favorites like faster Tape Tunnels and Math and Music.

"There's a ton of new stuff too. Like 80-90 percent is just brand spanking new," says Mannell.

There's the Little Lab for toddlers and the Science Lab for bigger kids.

"The science lab will be a space where the kids will be able to make explosions, but they'll be controlled explosions. They'll be messy, they'll be fun, and they'll be engaging," says Mannell.

Explosions seem to be a thing here. In Ballapalooza, the mission is to fill a tower with balls to get it to blow.

"It's an exhibit of 17 independent experiences, but all come together to promote systems thinking," says Discovery Lab Executive Director Ray Vandiver. You use everything from robotics to vacuums to leg work.

A calmer but equally cool experience awaits inside The Imaginarium. Step inside this theatre, and you're transported into Wild Oklahoma. It's an immersive digital experience unlike any Tulsa has ever seen.

"The room sees you enter. It knows how you're moving and responds to you, so the experience is unique and different every time you visit," says Vandiver.

There is lots to discover around every corner. The atmosphere is electric as kids of all ages learn through play.

"I'm a tape tunnel kid. It's just so fun to run around," says Storm. "The Ball Pit is the favorite, but it's been a whole afternoon of delight for them," says Shannon Kelly, a mom of two visiting from Bixby.

Discovery Lab staff developed, designed, and built most of what you see. It's a labor of love for Oklahomans by Oklahomans.

"All of our design work is custom to the space. So are the wall coverings and the graphics. We brought people in from the community, and that's a really important part of the Museum. We are of the community," says Mannell.

The Discovery Lab is getting rave reviews already.

"We'll be here regularly, I would say," says Kelly.

"This place is absolutely incredible," says Stanford.

Discovery Lab opens to the public on Monday, January 24th, with a ribbon-cutting and Grand Opening starting at 9 am. You can learn more here:

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