When Discovery Place Kids opens this fall, there will be a slew of youth activities geared for newborns to 8-year-olds.
Seven themed areas will offer educational activities and exhibits, most themed around the phrase "I can." Each exhibit, program and play environment will be designed to help children develop cognitive, motor, communication and social skills.
"When the kids come in, there will be no confusion about what to do," said John Mackay, Discovery Place president and CEO.
And they'll have lots to choose from.
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Children can tap into their inner artist, produce music, act and even hang out in a treehouse. They also can shop in a grocery store, exercise on child-sized fitness equipment, tour a fire station with a restored fire engine from the 1960s, as well as learn about the inner workings of a veterinarian's office, a bank and a law office. There's even an undersea world in the works.
Charlotte's Discovery Place expansion to Huntersville is its first Discovery Place Kids, and it could open as early as November.
"The demographics (of Huntersville) fit perfectly with what Discovery Place Kids is all about and I'm proud of that," Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain said during a media tour last week. "When I walk around here I can't help but think how this would have enhanced my role as a mom."
The three-story, 24,000-square-foot building at Gilead Road and N.C. 115, near Huntersville town hall, will serve as a model for up to five other Discovery Place Kids that are being planned in the Charlotte area over the next decade.
The $18.7 million Huntersville project is a public-private venture that will house the museum on the first two floors and town offices on the third. It also has a three-level parking deck.
Charlotte developer Norcom Properties plans to develop a three-story building on the Discovery Place Kids lot that will house restaurants, other retailers and offices.