The Museum of Life and Science in Durham announced its plans to build new outdoor learning areas. The fundraising campaign, named Climbing Higher, hopes to raise $3.9 million to build the additions.
The museum aims to immerse children in a natural learning environment to stimulate their senses, strengthen bodies, and expand minds. “We are creating a one-of-a-kind place that encourages children’s playful exploration of nature, physical activity, and keeps alive a child’s sense of wonder,” said President and CEO Barry Van Deman.
The first new feature, Hideaway Woods, is a two-acre nature-based playscape, built inside the museum’s existing train loop and accessed by a pedestrian tunnel. The play space features a tree house village suspended 15-20 feet off the ground, including suspensions bridges and trees for children to crisscross between. There will be an additional set of suspended structures 6-8 feet off the ground for younger adventurers. Hideaway Woods is set to open in summer 2015.
Earth Moves, the museum’s second planned exhibit, is an innovative exploration of Earth sciences and systems, where visitors will control and witness powerful natural forces including erosion, moving water, an earthquake, and more. The space will feature a digger pit with full-size excavators, modified for safe operation by families and children. The earthquake platform will challenge visitors to build structures that can survive simulated seismic activity, and guests will be able to stand on the platform to experience the tremor. There will also be a freestanding waterfall to showcase the physical properties of water and provide insight into groundwater flows and aquifers. Earth Moves is set to open in 2016
Watch the campaign video here: