Washington Pavilion to add dinosaur-themed climbing exhibit

Sept. 23, 2020

Kids will be able to tackle a two-story, dinosaur-themed climber at the Washington Pavilion later this year.

The Prehistoric Adventure Climber will be completed and installed the week before Thanksgiving in the Kirby Science Discovery Center.

The Washington Pavilion is partnering with the David B. Jones Foundation to create the climber, which will promote physical activity and provide education on dinosaurs. The exhibit will be installed on the fourth floor near HealthQuest by Sanford, where the soaring ceilings will allow the climber to be two stories high and extend 18 feet into the air.

“The combination of fitness and education in this exhibit is very unique. Children will have so much fun being physically active they won’t even realize they are learning,” Brandon Hanson, project manager for the Washington Pavilion, said in a statement. “We also were very intentional about making as much of this climber as possible ADA-accessible. That was not an afterthought. Kids of all ages and abilities will gravitate toward this exhibit.”

At the Prehistoric Adventure Climber, visitors will:

  • Enter through a tunnel of dinosaur bones, and explore passageways on four levels. Crawl through crates, discover caves and climb numerous corridors in their quest to reach the top of the towering structure.
  • Glide back down to the bottom the easy, fun and fast way on the 7-foot turbo tube slide, or race a friend down on the side-by-side slides.
  • Imagine the roar of dinosaurs through the use of talk tubes to transmit their voice to different areas of the climber. The exhibit includes a dozen other interactive activities such as telescopes and puzzles.
  • Fill buckets with dinosaur bones, and use a pulley system to transfer them overhead to the other side. The exhibit’s prehistoric theme extends through the colors and textures as children climb sedimentary rocks and find fossils. Radley Rex will be the tour guide.

The new addition to the Kirby Science Discovery Center will complement the third-floor paleontology exhibits, Dinosaur Discovery, as well as the health- and wellness-themed HealthQuest by Sanford and the Scheels Rock Wall on the fourth floor.

“We are now nearly finished with what will be a major overhaul of the Kirby Science Discovery Center, which has been completely remodeled and reimagined over the past three years,” said Jason Folkerts, director of museums.

“A climbing experience in the science museum has been a dream for a long time, but we wanted an exhibit with an original design, a connection to science and a real wow factor. We certainly have accomplished those objectives with the Prehistoric Adventure Climber. It will fill the room and offer wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling fun.”

This new exhibit is possible because of the support of fourth-floor sponsor Sanford Health and a $220,000 grant from the David B. Jones Foundation, which covers all costs associated with the project, including design, fabrication and installation.

“A lot of children aren’t exposed to paleontology in schools, but they love dinosaurs. The foundation’s goals in funding this exhibit are to attract young people to the science center and create more interest in the fields of paleontology and archaeology,” said Jeffrey Malone, president of the foundation.

Over the past 10 years, the David B. Jones Foundation has provided about $800,000 in grant funding to the Washington Pavilion for various projects.

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Washington Pavilion to add dinosaur-themed climbing exhibit

Kids will be able to tackle a two-story, dinosaur-themed climber at the Washington Pavilion later this year.

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