The Exploration Place next to
the Arkansas River (2013)
|Established||April 1, 2000|
|Location||300 North McLean Blvd,
Wichita, KS 67203 United States
|President||Janice Luth |
Exploration Place is a science museum in Wichita, Kansas, United States, located on the west side of the Arkansas River in the west side of downtown Wichita. It is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution.
During the 1980s, a plan to consolidate the city-owned Wichita Omnisphere and Science Center and the Children's Museum of Wichita was proposed. In 1992, a capital funds campaign was launched, and with an endowment from Velma Lunt Wallace, funds from the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, and other donations, the museum opened in the spring of 2000.
In 2005, Sedgwick County began its partial funding of the science center. The museum is also supported by admissions, membership dues, other public support and voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. In 2017 the museum is expected to reach approximately 200,000 attendees.
Construction began May 1997 and took 2 ½ years. Internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie of Boston designed the building. There are 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) and 20 acres (81,000 m2) on the property. The tallest point of the building is the peak of the roof of the traveling exhibits space and is 70 feet (21 m) above the floor (nearly 7 stories high). The combined distance around the interior perimeter of both buildings is approximately one mile.
The "Island Building" is named because it is surrounded by water, with the Arkansas River on one side and the reflecting pond on the other. The reflecting pond is between the buildings to create the illusion that looks like the river runs between the buildings. The reflecting pond is one to three feet deep. Even though the building is so close to the river it is not prone to flooding because it is above the 100-year flood level. During the flood in October 1998, the worst in recent history, the water level was still more than 8 feet (2.4 m) below the finished floor level.
This 1,900 square-foot shopping extravaganza connects you to science, educational toys and even funky fun! The store is now one of the few places in the area to feature fair trade items. All purchases help support Exploration Place. General museum admission is not required to shop the store.