October 2, 2012

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Thanksgiving Point Celebrates Curiosity with New Museum

Sarah Cutler

October 2, 2012

Karen and Alan Ashton, founders of Thanksgiving Point, were joined by politicians, teachers and the community yesterday to break ground on a new children’s museum, the Museum of Natural Curiosity.

The museum plans to feature five interactive exhibits:

  • Rainforest – Designed to look and feel like ancient ruins allowing kids to explore the jungle and learn about ecosystems, cultures, trade and healthy lifestyles.
  • Waterworks – Hands-on experiences to learn about energy, weather and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) featured through Utah rocks, a giant mechanical water mover, a water geyser, sand tables and an ice tower.
  • Kidopolis – A display of 60 different interactive exhibits for kids to explore their curiosity. It will have a tinkering shop, dance, movie and music studios, a magic shop, bank, library, camera store and post office.
  • Children’s Discovery Garden – The current Children’s Discovery Garden will be transformed with Noah’s ark, a hedgerow maze, caves, an eco-pond and Archimedes Playground, which teaches motion, physics and science in a playful way.
  • Traveling Exhibits – This will be a collection of temporary exhibits to continue the exploration and promote curiosity through science, art and human perception.

“The Museum of Natural Curiosity will meet the vital need of a new family-friendly venue in our community,” said Mike Washburn, president and CEO of Thanksgiving Point. “This museum will complement both Thanksgiving Point’s current offerings and the museums throughout the state with its unique indoor-outdoor concept and specific focus on science. It will offer those of all ages a chance to reconnect with the world through active play and assist in connecting parents with their children in a positive environment.”

Before lighting off fireworks in celebration of the museum, Gov. Gary R. Herbert quoted Walt Disney, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths,” and presented the inaugural “Curious Kid” and “Cultivator of Curiosity” awards.

Marianne Liu and Robert Nay received the Curious Kid award. Liu is a second-grader at Peruvian Park Elementary School and was awarded for being a finalist out of more than 100,000 entries in the 2012 Google Doodle national drawing contest.

Nay is a 15-year-old Maple Mountain High School student and was awarded for creating the “Bubble Ball” gaming app, which knocked Angry Birds out of the number one spot on Apple’s iTunes free apps.

The Cultivator of Curiosity award went to Westfield Elementary teacher Karre Nevarez. She noted her belief that curiosity is the highest form of intelligence and the museum will teach kids to be creative problem solvers.

“The Museum of Natural Curiosity will be a place where [children] can discover what they are really passionate about,” said Nevarez.

The Museum of Natural Curiosity is scheduled to open to the public in spring 2014. For more information, visit museumofnaturalcuriosity.com.

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