MINOT – The new Discovery Center opened its doors to the public for the first time on May 6. Since then, nearly 14,000 people have discovered for themselves that the center combines learning with fun.
“We’ve had really good reports on everything,” said Wendy Keller, executive director when asked about the first few weeks of operation. “There’s been some things we’ve had to change, but everything has been both awesome and a learning experience.”
Among the changes referred to by Keller was the implementation of “timed admission” designed to cope with the high volume of visitors. Some days the Discovery Center has had a surge of visitors arriving at nearly the same time, many more than what was anticipated.
“It’s just not a good experience if there’s too many people,” explained Keller. “Obviously, for fire code, I can’t let everybody in. Now we have people thanking us for managing visitor flow. We’re getting it figured out.”
Keller suggests that those planning a trip to the Discovery Center use the center’s website, magiccitydiscoverycenter.com, and click on the “tickets and hours” tab and click “buy now” to reserve tickets for their chosen arrival time or to check on availability of tickets.
“It’s a little different and it has taken people a little time to get used to that, but now they are really appreciating it,” said Keller.
Generally though, the Discovery Center has been able to accommodate most visitors at the time of their choosing, and the experience has been rewarding. Almost 2,000 students from Minot and northwest North Dakota schools have already visited the learning center.
There’s been something a bit unexpected too. While the Discovery Center was built as a fun learning center for students of all ages, they are not the only age group enjoying the experience.
“If you are 65 years old you can learn things too. I think that’s been one of the biggest surprises for visitors is that they didn’t realize it was a blast for adults as well,” laughed Keller. “It’s really fascinating. There’s plenty of things that adults can really learn from.”
Each of the floors of the Discover Center features multiple exhibits, all designed with learning in mind, even if it is hidden among the fun.
“Our mission is all about children and education,” remarked Keller. “We have more things that we will be developing. Little by little we are going to add some things.”
The Discovery Center has begun accepting reservations for birthday parties for groups up to 25. Keller said the birthday parties will begin in July. Details are available on the Discovery Center website.