Museums and Science Centers

Play spaces at museums and science centers offer invitations for discovery through informal learning experiences. These play environments also create family and educational attractions that encourage extended stays and return visits.

 
 
 

Nestled under banyan trees, the playground’s highlight is a Mondrian-inspired tower-slide-and-platform combination that bridges the Ringling’s Museum of Art and Circus Museum. The accessible playground helped boost attendance while offering a place for school groups and families to gather before and unwind after enjoying the museum.

David S. Bolger Playspace, Ringling Museum, Sarasota FL

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I’ve been sliding for five years and I’m really good at it. This slide is the best.
— Ezra, 5 years old
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We want a place that doesn’t look like anyplace else, that will allow grandparents to make new memories with their grandchildren.
— Jane
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The DoSeum’s Big Outdoors exhibit is dedicated to gross motor skills, providing a large space for physical and tactile exploration. Richter’s pyramid towers create a landmark, visible from the surrounding streets and serving as an invitation to kids and families to visit the museum.

DoSeum, San Antonio TX

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An early U.S. Richter play space (2004), the Arboretum’s Children’s Garden gives visitors an up-close introduction to trees and plants. Net bridges and tree houses take children on a canopy adventure, a sprawling net crawl lets them hover just above a meadow. A success from the start, the opening of the Children’s Garden increased the Arboretum’s youth programming attendance by 100%.

Children’s Garden at Morton Arboretum, Lisle IL

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This success demonstrates how much people need to feel connected to the natural world. In this age of video games and super-scheduled kids, it’s clear that families still need some unstructured play time.
— Katherine Johnson, former Garden manager
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The original Richter installation in the United States, the three-tiered Science Playground is the largest in the country. Visitors of all ages experience principles of balance, motion, sound, sight, simple machines, and the power of water through their own actions and interactions with others. One highlight: a pair of huge Archimedes Screws draw water high in the air, then send it splashing down to stainless-steel play elements below.

Science Playground, New York Hall of Science, Queens NY

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Slides and teeter-totters merge play with the discipline of physics. The playground received high marks, particularly when compared with traditional science classes.
— Gary Stix, Scientific American
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It’s like hydroelectricity except we’re making the energy.
— Anonymous, 10 year old
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I find it interesting how one person makes a difference.
— Richard, 8 years old
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