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Kidzu Children's Museum to open permanent University Mall location

After a few temporary spaces and lots of construction, KidZu Children's Museum will be settling into its new home at University Mall on Friday, Jan. 16.
After a few temporary spaces and lots of construction, KidZu Children's Museum will be settling into its new home at University Mall on Friday, Jan. 16.

After about a year of moving around to temporary locations, Kidzu Children’s Museum is looking to open its new Launch Pad Museum at University Mall between Jan. 16 and early February.

The museum has offered creative hands-on learning opportunities to more than 150,000 children since 2006.

From November 2011 to February 2014, Kidzu was located in University Square before moving to the mall due to the closure of the development and its growing size.

Pam Wall, executive director for Kidzu, said the children’s museum has become a staple of child education in the community.

“Kidzu inspires children and the adults in their lives to engage in creative play,” Wall said.

One of the main programs offers exhibits revolving around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education.

Currently, a smaller Kidzu satellite location remains open in University Mall and offers some pop-up programs for children while the company enters into the final stages of construction for its new main location.

Wall said the new location will provide a much larger space, allowing the museum to allocate areas for specific learning activities.

“The opening of the new Launch Pad museum will feature exciting new exhibits and the old favorite programs,” Wall said.

Marcia Blackstock, a Kidzu volunteer, said the museum’s growth was encouraging.

“It’s super important that kids reach this level of education at a young age,” she said. “I’m excited to see how we can find a niche in the community with this new larger space.”

Despite moving around to two temporary locations in University Mall while construction ensued for the museum’s semi-permanent three-year location, Wall said the museum received community support.

“During some of this time period, we have received over 30,000 visitors and doubled our membership numbers,” she said.

Wall said she expects to have more than 100,000 visitors in 2015 for the new Launch Pad location, but the museum is still in need of financial support.

To help raise money, Wall said Kidzu has devised a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant with an anonymous donor.

“Right now, we still need to raise more money,” she said. “We really need the public’s help for us to reach our goals and keep our doors open.”

Chapel Hill resident Katherine Alvarez said she has two children involved in Kidzu and looks forward to the new museum space.

“You don’t want to have little kids running around while the older kids are trying to concentrate on a science project,” she said. “This new space will be very helpful.”

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