Northern Virginia’s First Children’s Science Center to Open In Dulles in 2019
- May 10, 2014
By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
The Children’s Science Center announced on Tuesday, May 6, its plans to open two hands-on, interactive STEM-based facilities (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Northern Virginia. The two facilities will be the first of their kind in the region.
Northern Virginia is considered one of the top metro areas in the United States for science and technology employment. It is also the largest metropolitan area in the nation without a children’s museum. The Children’s Science Center intends to fix that. It has already been operating with great success as a traveling Museum Without Walls, bringing hands-on science activities to children in the region. Over the past three years, the Museum Without Walls has grown by more than 400 percent. In 2013, it served nearly 15,000 visitors at more than 60 venues.
Now, the Children’s Science Center plans to go even further. In mid-2015, it will open The Lab, a 5,400-square-foot first operating site, at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. It is expected to serve over more than 60,000 visitors each year.
But most important, the Children’s Science Center plans to establish a 53,000-square-foot museum in Dulles. It will be part of the larger, 424-acre Kincora development, which includes 1,400 condominiums and apartments, 500,000 square feet of retail space, more than 4 million square feet of Class A office space and a full-service hotel. According to the Washington Business Journal, the museum will be constructed at a cost of $40 million, on land donated by Kincora’s developer, a joint venture of Norton Scott LLC and Tritec Real Estate Co.
The museum is scheduled to open in 2019. It will offer hands-on exhibits, activities and programs focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is expected to draw more than 300,000 visitors each year.
“Today, we are putting a stake in the ground … actually, two! After many years of searching for a suitable home, we have achieved our longtime goal to be located within the Dulles region, where families and high-tech industry partners are plentiful, and where we can offer a regional resource serving multiple jurisdictions in Northern Virginia and beyond,” said Nene Spivy, Children’s Science Center executive director, in a statement for the press.
The project has received the support of local authorities. In April, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors authorized a $250,000 grant to help with the construction of the museum.
“I am extremely pleased that the Children’s Science Center has selected Loudoun County for their flagship museum,” added Scott York, chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. “The Children’s Science Center will impact hundreds of thousands of young minds a year, teaching them that important subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be fun and helping keep the spark of STEM learning alive past the critical eighth-grade level. Helping foster interest in learning is one of the most important investments we can make for our children’s future,” said York.
Photo credit: The Children’s Science Center