Children’s Museum will open satellite site in Chesterfield this summer

Soon there will be not one, not two, but three Children’s Museum locations around the area. Read about the latest family-friendly spot that’s coming to Richmond: where they’re setting up shop and what they’ll offer.

The Children’s Museum of Richmond announced yesterday that it will open a satellite branch in Chesterfield County later this summer. The 26,000-square-foot location will be located in the Winterpock Crossing Shopping Center on Hull Street Road in the former Winn-Dixie grocery store. It is expected to open in early June.

“We’re trying to bring the best of what we do [to Chesterfield County],” said Karen Coltrane, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum. She said that the area was the “next logical place” for the museum’s expansion. When construction is completed, it will be the museum’s third location in the Richmond region.

The Children Museum opened to the public in 1981 at 2626 W. Broad Street. Population growth in the Richmond region over the years made the museum consider opening satellite sites in dense population pockets surrounding the city. In June 2010, the museum opened their Short Pump site, becoming the first children’s museum in the country to open a second location. In its first year, the satellite site saw approximately 130,000 visitors. All the while, the Broad Street location saw no decrease in their 230,000 average annual visitor rate. Similar success with the new Chesterfield location is expected.

Coltrane said that the museum expects to welcome between 130,000 – 150,000 visitors in its first year and that the new location is centered in a “large area in the region with families with children under the age of ten.” These families, said Coltrane, may have difficulty visiting either existing Children’s Museum locations. “It’s all about seeing more families,” she said. The increase in attendance also allows the museum to provide more services to the community, like free field trips, which Ms. Coltrane said have increased over 300% in the past years. “Having more resources allows us to provide more services.”

Features of the new Chesterfield location will include: a Main Street section that will feature a real fire truck, art studio, an Enchanted Forest toddler area, an Under the Sea water-play area, and a large performing stage. However, construction is not limited to the new Chesterfield site. In May, the Broad Street location will expand with a 20,000-square-foot Front Yard exhibit. The project was funded in part from the $275,000 donated by local organizations.

The Chesterfield location is expected to open in June. Regular admission to the museum is $8, and an annual family membership is $125.


stock photo by The ShutterBabe

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