Shiny new flooring, installed this week, awaits visitors at the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City in Shawnee.
The new flooring in the main hall, exhibit rooms and the large exhibit space in the back of the museum was made possible by a $65,000 grant received earlier this year from the Sunderland Foundation.
“The flooring was old and worn out and definitely needed replacing,” said Roxane Hill , the museum’s executive director. “The $65,000 enabled us to do that.”
Hill, who took over as executive director of the museum in January, said the museum has been “making improvements and upgrades in recent months after years of deferred maintenance. We hope to have everything ready by the end of the month.”
The improvements included painting the interior of the museum, a thorough cleaning of exhibit rooms, adding new features to several exhibits and opening a farm-to-market exhibit in April.
Wonderscope was founded in 1989 by Mary Porter, in the former Shawnee elementary school where it’s still located.
In 2008, the Children’s Museum of Kansas City merged with Wonderscope to form Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, and continued operating in the same Shawnee building at 5700 King St.
“Wonderscope’s mission is to spark a love of learning through the power of play,” Hill said. “We provide children eight years old and under an opportunity to expand their creative skills, explore their world, learn to share and solve problems.
We strive to be a partner to early childhood education programs as well as families as they prepare their children for kindergarten and beyond,” Hill explained. “Wonderscope works to develop the whole child, socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually through the various exhibits and experiences offered throughout the museum.”
Wonderscope features hands-on exhibits focusing on art, science, math and reading designed for children up to eight years old. A variety of ongoing programming and special events designed to provide children and families with diverse and engaging learning experiences is offered by the museum.
Among the popular exhibits are the “Ready, Vet Go!” exhibit that teaches children about pet ownership and care, the Lego building room, the farm and garden exhibit, raceways and water exhibits and the small wonders room for children up to two years old.
Once a month Wonderscope offers the WonderPalooza Arts series, sponsored by ArtsKC, and brings in musical guests. On Sept. 3, Dino O’Dell performs at 11 a.m. On Oct. 8 it’s the Allegro Children’s Choir at 11 a.m. and on Oct. 29 it’s WonderSpook at 5 p.m.
During September and October there will be new programming Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
▪ Tuesdays: Storytime
▪ Wednesday: Music
▪ Thursdays: Art
▪ Fridays: Storytime and Craft
Wonderscope is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. year round. The museum hosts school and preschools for field trips and may be rented for evening events and birthday parties.
The museum, a nonprofit organization, draws about 60,000 visitors a year. The museum is supported by an annual grant of $10,000 from the city of Shawnee, grants from metro area businesses and admissions, $7 for adults, $3 for children and no charge for children two and under.
To learn more
▪ For more information about Wonderscope call 913-287-8888.