After a decade in the works, Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota opens - Bring Me The News

After a decade in the works, Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota opens

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After a lot of planning and a major setback, the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota is finally open for kids to play.

The museum celebrated its grand opening this weekend with exhibits that provide kids with science, technology, engineering, art and math activities, including the Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts Climber and a Betsy Tacy Play Porch, KEYC reports.

 Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts climber was crawling with adventurers at the grand opening. (Photo: Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, Facebook)

Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts climber was crawling with adventurers at the grand opening. (Photo: Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, Facebook)

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday from noon-4 p.m., and it also offers special summer camps and various programs for the community.

A long time coming

The $5 million project was in the works for a decade. A local group of visionaries wanted to give children in the Mankato area a place to play, learn and explore, the Mankato Free Press reported.

The initial site was the Ember's restaurant building, but in 2013 the museum was offered a $1 per year lease for 50 years on the old Metro Transit site, according to the Free Press.

With construction well underway, the museum suffered a setback last summer when storm water flooded the storage locker housing all the exhibits, displays and furnishing. WCCO reported items lost included specially designed, hand-built displays created by local engineers and artists.

Museum founders were surprised days before the grand opening with a quilt. The only thing that survived the flood, according to KEYC.

The museum is still trying to raise $400,000 for a water exhibit; click here to donate.

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Children's Museum announces plans for Mankato

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota plans to build a permanent home in downtown Mankato, but still needs to raise more than $2 million. So far, the Mankato Free Press reports nearly $1.7 million has been pledged for the $4 million structure. Executive Director Peter Olson has asked the City Council for $250,000 to buy a piece of property next to the Blue Earth County Library. Olson claims the museum would have an annual economic impact of $5 million.