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October 10, 2012

Children’s museum attracts 46,000 visitors

STILLWATER, Okla. — A Stillwater children’s museum is preparing to celebrate its one-year anniversary Thursday.

The WONDERtorium will host a donors-only event from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The museum anticipated 13,000 visitors in its first year. However, it has seen more than 46,000 visitors, according to a document released for Thursday’s celebration.

Executive Director Ruth Cavins said the first year has been fantastic for the museum.

“We’ve had more visitors than we ever imagined and it has been nice,” she said. “We knew there was a need for this in the community and it’s so wonderful with our attendance numbers and positive feedback; that confirms that need and that we’re meeting that need.”

The museum is home to many exhibits children of all ages can interact with.

“Our exhibits are pretty much static, but the programming that happens within the museum, that changes weekly,” Cavins said.

Activities and themes supplement the exhibits, she said.

“Within our education room, that space has been transformed into a traveling exhibit multiple times,” Cavins said. “It was a metamorphosis maze during September. We have used it to set up hot wheels tracks and cardboard and tape and cars and the kids get to build tracks and different structures. We did Nano Days, which was a series of activities that helped the general population understand nano technology.”

Cavins said the change in projects and themes improves the experience for all at the museum.

“What we have discovered is that children’s museums that continue to stay static are not as successful as those that provide additional offerings to their guests,” she said.

While the museum officially opened to the public Oct. 15, it took 10 years of development for the idea to come to fruition.

The museum is located at 308 W. Franklin at Cimarron Plaza.

Cavins said they will continue to grow over the next three to five years. Stillwater Public Schools has purchased Cimarron Plaza. However, the current location of the WONDERtorium was necessary for proof of concept and to establish if there was a need for a children’s museum in the area, she said.

“We knocked that out of the park in the first year,” she said.

Cavins said they have sold more than 600 memberships in the first year and that members come regularly.

The WONDERtorium hopes to have the money raised to begin construction on its permanent lot at the corner of West 10th Avenue and Duck Street after their remaining three to five years. For more information, visit www.okwondertorium.org.

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