Coming to Downtown Wausau Fall 2022: Discover your kid’s inner Einstein at Children’s ImaginariumOctober 21, 2021
After years of anticipation, fun-seeking families are one step closer to entering Wausau’s newest museum for kids. The Children’s Imaginarium, which took root in 2013 as the brainchild of co-founders Maggie Gordon and Tammy Szekeress, will start construction in the summer of 2022 in a portion of the HOM Furniture building.
It will have a separate entrance and a unique façade facing the green space of the redevelopment area.
“Through the reimagined downtown development planned by Wausau Opportunity Zone and the generosity of local businesses, foundations and individuals, we have an opportunity for the Children’s Imaginarium to become a family-centered cornerstone of the downtown,” said Gordon, president & co-founder of Children’s Imaginarium.
Museum leaders are excited about the new location and how it will help revitalize downtown Wausau now that the Wausau Center mall site is reimagined.
They believe this endeavor fills a vital role in supporting the community’s need for educationally rich and interactive family experiences.
The museum will feature five interactive exhibits, two multipurpose rooms, a traveling exhibit and one STEM lab centered on science, technology, engineering and math. Just feet away from the action will be ample parking.
The exhibits, produced by nationally recognized exhibit fabricator Kidzibits of St. Paul, support hands-on learning with a connection to Marathon County.
Since agriculture is at the core of the county’s heritage, it’s fitting to have a Farm to Fork gallery depicting the farming process of moving food from markets to dinner tables. Among other features, the Air Gallery hot air balloon will show how humans harness air and the Water Gallery will display the use of hydroelectric power along with Wausau’s kayak course.
STEM Tree Climber, an interactive climbing exhibit, will utilize simple machines to stimulate hands-on learning. For team building exercises, there will be a Construction zone for exploring different engineering concepts.
Programming is geared toward children of all abilities from two to 12 years old. The multipurpose rooms will be available for birthday parties and community gatherings.
Andrea Lewens, Mosinee Elementary School teacher and mom of three young girls, said her family is thrilled that Children’s Imaginarium is on its way to the area. “My girls are very intrigued by multi-sensory learning,” she said. “Curiosity is a powerful force in the learning process.”
She agrees with museum founders that it will be an asset to downtown Wausau and an important investment in the future. “Early learning is crucial to developing social skills and interactions with peers. It builds confidence and brings out the imagination to help kids on their path to becoming life-long learners,” she said.
Local Community Generosity
Currently $3.1 million has been raised for Children’s Imaginarium. Supported by a community-wide board of directors, it has raised 90% of the necessary funds through the commitments of local donors. “We have a generous matching grant from the Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation that matches all gifts from individuals and businesses up to $200,000,” said Gordon.
The Gear Up campaign is the final fundraising effort in advance of the museum’s anticipated Fall 2022 opening. Gordan is calling on community members who share the goal of building a family-focused learning environment for residents and visitors to pledge their support for Children’s Imaginarium.
Contact Maggie Gordon at (715) 409-6959 or visit www.childrensimaginarium.org. There’s also an established fund at the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin.