Children’s museum plans outdoor park and expansion of third floor |

Children’s museum plans outdoor park and expansion of third floor

Sandi Hoover
Courtesy Children's Museum An artist's rendering of the outdoor park proposed for the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada shows shade structures and picnic tables. It also could include a climbing wall, play equipment and water features.

An outdoor park and a third-floor expanded teen science section are on the drawing board for one of Carson City’s most popular children’s attractions.

The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada has plans for two projects, but the priority right now is a park on the north side of the museum, said Jim Peckham, executive director of the museum.

“I’ve talked to a number of different organizations and the city parks department, and everyone agrees the idea is aligned with the goals of the master plan,” Peckham said.

He said plans for the urban park include water jets for kids to play in, a climbing wall, playground equipment and rubberized asphalt, as well as picnic tables. The project also could include public restrooms on the east side of the museum, he said.

The project cost has been estimated at $1.2 million, which he hopes can be funded through grants.

One source could be the Let’s Move organization, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to end childhood obesity.

“A park like this definitely encourages exercise and physical fitness,” Peckham said.

A park in the center of town would also help tourism, he said.

Allison McLaughlin, a volunteer at the museum, agreed. She said the park is something the museum has needed for a long time, due to families walking downtown among the children’s museum and restaurants, the Capitol and the Nevada State Museum just a short distance away.

“We get requests all the time from large groups that want to do a lunch here or a picnic, and I get people from out of town who’ve got their kids with them, and this is a walkable place. We need places for people to take breaks when they’re going between the museums. I get lots of foot traffic here,” McLaughlin said.

The other part of the museum’s plans, while less expensive at an estimated $400,000, is the second priority for now. It includes building a peninsula out from the third floor, now used for storage, over half of the main floor, Peckham said.

“We’d like to dedicate this space to older kids – possibly from fifth grade up – and make it more science-oriented,” he said.

McLaughlin said public access to the third floor would also help youngsters involved in theatrical productions.

“They do a lot of plays here, and they have kids running the lighting equipment, and it’s always sort of precarious, so this would help them a lot,” she said.

Peckham said he will appear before the Parks and Recreation Commission in November to present the plans.

The children’s museum is a couple of blocks north of the proposed City Center Project, in the heart of downtown.