Discover Center adds new addition to Gage Park

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

With winter setting in, students, faculty and staff with young ones might dread the inevitable cabin fever that is threatening to set in, as well. A new “discovery” might just lay those worries to rest.

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is one of the most recent additions to the ground of Gage Park in Topeka. With the many attractions catering to family in the area, the board of the KCDC identified the area as ideal for the project. In partnership with the City of Topeka Parks and Recreation Department, the group went about raising funds to bring out a vision of creating an environment of fun, education and growth for the Kansas youth.

“We wanted to put together a place where children can get that first positive exposure to subjects like science and technology,” said Joanne Morrell, executive director of KCDC. “We have exhibits that allow children to explore all kinds of possibilities in areas of science and even what kind of jobs they might want to grow up and pursue.”

Through the interactive exhibits, children have a chance to do a variety of activities, including the exploration of their inner artist by creating works that can go on display in the art gallery as they explore creative opportunities. The art ranges from traditional two dimensional paintings, where pint-sized artists can truly get “hands on” via hand painting, to three dimensional mobiles.

While some community youth share their artistic inspiration, the chance to let loose their capitalistic instincts in a simulated economy presents itself in the careers gallery. With the chance to “work” at businesses, ranging from a car repair shop to a physicians office to owning their own restaurant, the chance to get an exposure to a variety of work paths. Participants get a chance to see the process from the roles of owners, employees and customers during the exercises.

“We wanted to give children the chance to explore the job world in a fun and interactive way that allows them to consider a lot of different possibilities,” said Morrell.

 With the recent issue of financial difficulties in the world and the ever-growing need for children to understand responsibility, the financial literacy gallery allows attendees to gain knowledge of real world issues in an approachable way through interactive stations and games. Focusing on issues like balancing a budget, the impact and cost of credit and the value of saving, sharing and spending, children have an opportunity to gain a strong base of knowledge in how to navigate the sometimes confusing waters of the financial rapids.

All of these exhibits are a small slice of what the KCDC offers to children and their families that can get them out of the house, entertained and educated all at once.

“We hope that families will take advantage of what we have here,” said Morrell. “We want to give children as much of an opportunity to learn and get ahead as we can.”

For more information contact the KCDC at kansasdiscovery.org or call 785-783-8300.