As daily attendance and participation in our educational programming continues to increase at the museum, Great Explorations is faced with the need for additional space. We are poised now to build upon an earlier investment and a rich legacy to meet today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s future. This project will focus on enhancing our space on both floors and addressing our five greatest needs:
FIRST FLOOR – ESTIMATED COST $250,000
- Renovation of current museum – Great Explorations re-opened its doors nearly 12 years ago in its current location on 4th Street North in St. Petersburg. Since then, daily attendance at the museum has increased to over 198,000 visitors annually. Great Explorations will restore the existing exhibit space and improve the space by becoming more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Great Explorations will also upgrade existing exhibit spaces and their educational components to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).
- Additional museum exhibit space – As daily attendance continues to increase at the museum, Great Explorations is faced with the need for additional exhibit space. Annual museum memberships continue to rise, and on-site walk-in attendance has seen significant growth, due to our being a nationally-recognized accredited museum by the AAM. Great Explorations will add several new exhibits to keep up with the demand for innovative, hands-on exhibits.
- Transform first floor into open floor plan – Currently, Great Explorations consists of an average of twenty exhibits in the existing museum space. Those exhibits are enclosed in areas that are not visible upon entry to the museum. Great Explorations will remove the exhibit walls and create an open floor plan on the first floor. Reimagining the main gallery floor will allow us to showcase 2,841 sq. ft. of existing and new open exhibit space. This transformation will not only allow Great Explorations to serve 46,000 more children each year, but it also enhances accessibility for children with special needs.
SECOND FLOOR – ESTIMATED COST $1,700,000
- Great Room Expansion – With increased birthday party and meeting rentals, programs, and participation in our camps, additional space for these events is crucial. The second floor mezzanine will include a newly constructed 1,920 sq. ft. Great Room to accommodate more programs and events. The Great Room can be easily partitioned to allow for multiple programs or events at the same time, accommodating a total of 128 people. The completion of this project will allow for increased enrollment in our summer camps and school’s out camps by 44%. Construction of the mezzanine, including a separate entrance from the lobby, the addition of ADA compliant restrooms, and increased capacity will be an estimated cost of $1,500,000.
- Early Explorations Preschool Expansion – Early Explorations Preschool opened in 2007 with 28 students enrolled. Since then, attendance at Early Explorations has grown to capacity with 85 students currently enrolled in the preschool. In addition, there is a wait list for nearly every age group. To better serve the growing needs of our children, this project, with an estimated cost of $200,000, will allow Great Explorations to add a new classroom and renovate current classrooms expanding the capacity for the preschool, allowing Early Explorations Preschool to accommodate 38% more children.
GREAT EXPANSION – CONTINGENCY FUND $50,000