It's about to embark on a $28 million expansion project, but a national education website already considers the Minnesota Children's Museum one of the best in the country.
The museum, located in St. Paul, ranked 15th on Early Childhood Education Zone's "Top 25 Best American Children's Museums" list, that was published this week.
Ranking museums based on the activities they have available, the cost of entry and parking, educational facilities and events, food options and traveling costs, the Minnesota museum was praised for its dedication to "children's developmental education" over the past three decades.
The museum scored highly for the "dozens of special events" it holds throughout the year, as well as its exhibits and activities that are "both fun and educational." Coming in for particular praise was its "Broken? Fix It!" exhibit that teaches kids how to fix broken vehicles, electronics and bikes using simple tools.
Top of the rankings was the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, which at 472,900 square feet is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Expansion due to start, pop-up at MoA opens this weekend
There's every reason to believe the museum will feature higher on the list in future years as well, given that ground will be broken next month on a $28 million expansion, which the museum has said will give kids "more room to play."
The Pioneer Press reports it will increase floor space from 65,000 to 74,000 square feet, with a revamped layout providing 23 percent more gallery or exhibit space, and 34 percent more visitor spaces, not to mention a new coffee shop and direct skyway access.
While the museum will remain open during construction to begin with, it will close for 4 months in fall 2016, the newspaper notes.
Anyone needing their Children's Museum fix in that period should go to the Mall of America. The museum is opening a 4,400 square feet "pop-up play space" at the megamall this weekend.
It is intended that this will stay open until January 2017, around the time that the refurbished museum will re-open, according to the Star Tribune, but if it proves a success it could be that the museum retains a presence at the mall beyond then.
The Pioneer Press notes the pop-up will have its grand opening Saturday morning.