Museum of Discovery and Science Announces New Early Childhood Exhibit Leading to First Steps in Science: Discovery Spot

The current Discovery Center exhibit closed beginning January 2 to clear the path for the brand-new Discovery Spot, designed

The current Discovery Center exhibit closed beginning January 2 to clear the path for the brand-new Discovery Spot, designed for children ages 0-6.

A new early childhood experience is ripening at the Museum of Discovery & Science (MODS). The Discovery Center exhibit gallery at MODS has closed as of January 2 and is reopening this summer as the Discovery Spot presented by JM Family Enterprises.

“Our newest permanent exhibit gallery is blooming at MODS! The Discovery Spot will encourage hands-on creative play that is so important to the cognitive development of our children,” said Joseph P. Cox, president and CEO of MODS. “Early childhood education is in our DNA, dating back to our beginning in 1976 as the Discovery Center. The new Discovery Spot will allow our community’s youngest scientists to take their very first steps in science.”

Let’s grow together through playful learning! In the Discovery Spot children ages 0-6 will be able to splash, climb, tinker and explore. This gallery encourages our youngest guests to make exciting discoveries through experiences in the freshly reimagined and beloved Citrus Grove, Ocean to Air and Everglades areas.

The Discovery Center, which was installed as a permanent exhibit space at the Museum when it opened in 1992, has welcomed more than 12 million guests from every state and countless countries over the past three decades. The new Discovery Spot will encourage playful exploration and STEM experiences leading to lifelong learning for all families and will cover 4,000 square feet of Museum space.

Designed from the ground up to support the needs of all families, the Discovery Spot offers numerous opportunities for adult-child collaboration in zones packed with one-of-a-kind experiences. Exciting learning opportunities include Sketch & Release where guests can bring Florida native fish and sharks to life by digitally painting their chosen species and then releasing them into a digital ocean. They can ascend the Cloud Climber above the exhibit floor and walk the wings of a biplane suspended from the exhibit ceiling. In the Juicing Factory, the swirling water in the washing station, brightly colored juicing tubes and whirling machinery pay homage to the Museum’s Great Gravity Clock standing proud in the Atrium.

During the construction phase, MODS will provide continuity of early childhood experiences through its Sprouting STEM Early Childhood Learning Lab powered by PNC Grow Up Great, located on the second floor of the Museum, as well as exciting exhibits Wild Kratts: Creature Power! from January 20 – May 7, followed by Expedition: Dinosaur, May 19 – September 4, in the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Traveling Exhibit Gallery.

MODS extends its gratitude to the donors, who have generously contributed six- and seven-figure gifts towards making the Discovery Spot possible: JM Family Enterprises; Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust; The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation; PNC Bank; A.D. Henderson Foundation; Publix Super Markets Charities; Miniaci Family; Katy & Jon Ferrando; Florida Panthers Foundation and The Setnor Byer Family Fund. To date, we have raised more than $5.3 million toward our goal of $6.25 million.

According to Josh Bass, VP of innovation for JM Family Enterprises and MODS board member, “JM Family has been supporting the Museum of Discovery and Science since 1993 because we feel that what they do is a valuable part of our community.“ Bass also adds that “promoting education is one of JM Family’s strategic areas of giving, and this new STEM exhibit will increase the opportunities for discovery and interactive experiences for the Museum’s guests of all ages.”

Cressman Bronson, PNC Bank’s regional president for Southeast Florida, notes that “through PNC’s ongoing support of the Museum of Discovery and Science, we’re able to strengthen and enrich the lives of some of our youngest children and their families with this new, educational and creative exhibit. We’re proud to sponsor this interactive early childhood exhibit that encourages their youngest guests to make exciting STEM discoveries at the enhanced Citrus Grove, Ocean to Air and Everglades areas.”

Monica Menahem, A.D. Henderson Foundation says, “The Foundation has a sole focus of supporting young children, their families, and early educators, and has been a supporter of the Museum since its inception in 1976. We are thrilled to be part of this collaborative community effort as the Museum of Discovery and Science expands opportunities for early childhood learning. The Discovery Spot will offer young children and their caregivers a safe, welcoming and fun place to learn, grow and explore.”

For Kelly Williams-Puccio, executive director of Publix Charities, states “Publix Charities is proud to support MODS’ new Discovery Spot early childhood exhibit. STEM activities support play, wonder and curiosity in young children, and encourages problem-solving using inquiry and investigation. MODS has always been a leader in STEM education and we are happy to be able to help in their important work.”

Donors Jon and Katy Ferrando said, “as long-term supporters of the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science, we are pleased to contribute towards the NEW Discovery Spot exhibit, which will include an iconic Orange Picking Spot! This exciting addition will carry forward the incredible legacy of MODS, captivating young learners in our community and engaging them in science and discovery in a fun, interactive manner.”

Anita Byer, The Setnor Byer Family Fund sums up their desire to give saying, “we believe, wholeheartedly, that character, humanity, success and the ability for impact is fostered by education”, adding “we can think of no better way to ensure this end in the minds of the young than to support MODS in its effort to deliver opportunity and knowledge through quality, creative and engaging learning.”

Discovery Spot Renderings can be downloaded here. (Courtesy of MODS.)

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