Discovery Place Inc. announced Monday that Richmond County Tourism Development Authority has given $100,000 to the Discovery Place KIDS project in Rockingham. An unincorporated division of the Richmond County Government, the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority develops travel, tourism and convention business in Richmond County.
The donation marks the first major gift to the comprehensive capital campaign for Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham following the initial leadership gifts of the Cole and Richmond Community Foundations as endowment partners and the City of Rockingham as facility partner. Discovery Place KIDS, a Museum developed by Charlotte-based Discovery Place, Inc., is dedicated to providing creative learning experiences through interactive play for children and their caregivers. The first Discovery Place KIDS opened in October 2010 in Huntersville, N.C. and recently welcomed its 100,000th visitor.
“Our donation was a collaborative effort to bring an attraction to Rockingham that we believe will have regional appeal,” said Rick Sago, president of the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority and Richmond County manager. “We anticipate that the new Museum will add to the quality of life for residents, will attract new visitors and will continue to be a gift to the community for generations to come.”
“We are grateful to the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority for their leadership in the community and their confidence in us,” said John Mackay, president and CEO, Discovery Place, Inc. “We look forward to building on this gift to develop an educational experience that will be unique to the Sandhills.”
While the capital campaign maintains pace, Discovery Place, Inc. hasn’t forgotten the children. Last week, L.J. Bell Elementary School got to see a ScienceReach show.
“The program we did at L.J. Bell is our Matter of Science program, one of our most popular shows,” said Gábor Zsuppán, ScienceReach coordinator. “It is an assembly that uses attention-grabbing demonstrations to wow kids and lead them down a path of wonder about the physical world around them. During the show we discuss states of matter, combustion, and electricity.”
Two assemblies were held at the school; one for students in grades Pre-K though second grade, and one for students in grades three through five.
During the show, Maggie Winkowski, a ScienceReach Educator, discussed the four stages of matter - liquid, solids, gases and plasma -with the students, and conducted several experiments to allow them to see how substances change from one state of matter to another. She also gave them a lesson on static electricity.
“I really liked the static electricity display,” said Xaiver Poloche, second grader. “I had no idea that it could power a light-bulb.”
“We wants students to be fascinated with the wonder of science,” said Winkowski. “Through these and other experiments, we are able to expose the students to chemistry, physics and biology in a way that’s fun and easy to understand.”
“ScienceReach is designed to connect students with interactive science learning that they may not have access to in their classrooms,” said Zsuppán. “We want students to know that science goes far beyond the textbook. The assembly was a great pre-cursor to the Discovery Place KIDS program that will soon be coming to Rockingham. We work with all types of organizations, and it’s a great way for children and adults to be familiar with the types of things Discovery Place KIDS will offer to this community.”
“We were so excited that our school was chosen for this program,” said Bobbie Ormsby, Principal at L.J. Bell Elementary. “The Discovery Place KIDS museum will be such as asset to this community.”
Immediate plans for Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham focus on securing leadership gifts to supply the financial resources necessary to develop the Museum. Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham will be located in the former McKenzie Furniture building on Washington Street in downtown Rockingham. No official opening date has been announced for the Museum.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at email@example.com.