Children’s Museum announces move to Bay Beach area
GREEN BAY – The Children’s Museum of Green Bay recently announced it will be moving this spring to a location across from Bay Beach Amusement Park.
“It’s no secret – especially to those who regularly visit the Children’s Museum – that we are out of space where we are currently located,” said Museum Executive Director Toni Burnett. “While we loved being downtown for the past seven years, there is no space at our current location for new exhibits, for outdoor green space or space to hold special events. Parking is also a challenge; especially for buses dropping off school groups. So, with our lease being up, it made sense to search for a new location.”
The move is also made with an eye on the future.
“We wanted to find something that not only addressed current needs, but provides room to grow in the future,” said Museum Board Chair Chris Cumicek. “And, as the word got out, local businessman Chip McDonald approached us about some property and a building that he owns across from Bay Beach Amusement Park. It is a great space and location and allows us room to grow.”
The new location, at 1230 Bay Beach Road, will initially be about the same size as the current Children’s Museum but, thanks to an improved layout and flow, it will seem much larger and provide room for several new exhibits including a toddler area and a science lab.
Directly outside of the museum, there will be approximately 51 parking spots available, all free of charge, and there will be a bus drop off, green space and parking for school groups.
“We anticipate serving up to 120,000 visitors a year, up from our current average of 72,000 annually,” said Cumicek.
The Children’s museum will begin moving on April 21 and will reopen at its new location in early May – so no school groups will have to reschedule their end-of-the-year visits.
Local architectural firm Performa is designing the new space and Miron Construction is handling the buildout.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt congratulated the museum on finding a new home.
“The city has been a longtime supporter of the museum and it’s easy to understand why,” he said. “Family attractions add to the quality of life here; especially attractions that are open year-round. Now, in the new location, they’ll be able to serve even more children and families.”
Greater Green Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Brad Toll said the new location will be a big draw.
“Destination areas are known for multiple attractions that offer a variety of activities,” Toll said. “For families to be able to visit Bay Beach Amusement Park, the Wildlife Sanctuary and now the Children’s Museum, it certainly strengthens what we have to offer visitors and residents alike.”
A fundraising effort is now underway to cover moving costs and the museum redesign, with a capital campaign to come later in the year for an expansion of the new facility.
“We’re taking a two-step approach to our relocation,” said Burnett. “The redesign of our current layout allows us to move in a relatively short amount of time and then reopen right way. At the same time, we’re planning for the next phase of our relocation, which will be an expansion of our new space. Today’s children’s museum exhibits are STEM based, which require additional room. We’re also planning to add event space, such as party rooms for children’s birthday celebrations and other events. It’s going to be a busy but fun year for our organization. We look forward to sharing our story with our donors and the community at large.”