Downtown Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery is reopening to the public Saturday, Aug. 21, after being closed for more than six months for repairs and renovations related to winter weather damage that occurred earlier this year. There will also be a soft opening on Friday, Aug. 20.
The science center experienced $7 million in damages when several boiler pipes burst on its roof and flooded the building in mid-February.
Museum upgrades include an expanded Tinkering Studio and animal care facility that is now viewable from a large bay window, as well as a variety of interactive exhibitions replacing those exhibits destroyed by the flood. These include “Mystery of the Mayan Medallion,” an immersive archeological adventure; “How People Make Things,” based on Mister Rogers’ factory tours; “Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed,” a paleontology exploration of dinosaur bone and fossil replicas; and “Magnificent Me,” a hands-on look into the human body.
These exhibitions are temporary, however, according to Museum of Discovery CEO Kelley Bass.
“The exhibit design and fabrication process is lengthy as the interactive pieces must be tailored to each museum’s needs,” he says. “There are also a limited number of exhibit design and fabrication companies. With that said, we are in the middle of the design phase of this process and expect our new exhibits to be installed in about two years.”
The museum plans to resume its pre-pandemic schedule of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission prices will remain the same.
Those who wish to attend opening weekend must purchase tickets in advance to ensure limited crowds and allow social distancing. Tickets will be available in two-hour increments on Saturday: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Advance tickets are not required for the soft opening on Friday, as area schools will be in session, therefore a large crowd is not anticipated. Tickets are available at museumofdiscovery.org.