Discovery Place for kids is impressive

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 9, 2012

By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post
HUNTERSVILLE — As a three-year-old walking into the museum, I am faced with a full size Mt. Mitchell Fire engine on my right and a special play area for the very young with a water play area on my left.
Where to start?
It doesn’t matter, go in any direction and be thrilled with the creative learning playground museum.
I’m not three years old, but I am impressed with the Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville museum. Children from toddlers up to 8 years old can explore this world of adventure while discovering the things they like to do while interacting with other kids. They actually learn skills in the museum while playing and having fun or exercising. All of the exhibits are interactive with the children.
The imaginations of the kids are challenged as they try new things. The main theme of the museum is “I Can.” The exhibits areas are “I Can Move” with an airplane, a boat, a race car, and auto repair shop. “I Can Create” is a visual arts studio with art supplies of all types to be used to create a masterpiece of art or watch a puppet show in the Town Hall Theatre. “I Can Be Healthy” offers role-playing in a grocery store, a doctor’s office, a fitness center, a cafe, and a visit to a farm where you can gather the eggs in the henhouse. “I Can Work” has children dreaming of being a firefighter, a banker, or ship’s captain. “I Can Explore Underwater” puts you in a submarine with lighted control panels and sounds of the deep sea. In the “I Can Build,” the Brick Factory’s cranes and conveyor belts move bricks through the factory. “I Can Grow” is a quieter, slower play area for kids that are very young.
Discovery Place, Inc. partnered with the town of Huntersville to construct the building that houses the museum which opened in October, 2010. The first two floors of the building contains the museum for kids and the third floor provides office space for the town staff. A three-level parking deck is beside the structure. The public-private building sits at 105 Gilead Rd and highway NC 115 in Huntersville. This museum is a prototype for four or five other museums that Discovery Place KIDS hopes to build in the Charlotte region during the next decade. Funds are being raised for a similar museum in Rockingham already.
Discovery Place KIDS is a regional model for taking the museums to the people. Discovery Place in downtown Charlotte and Charlotte Nature Museum are parent organizations.
The museum is closed on Mondays. The admission fee is $8 per person, including children over one year old.