Museum opening delayed

The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, rather than reopening in mid-April as planned, will welcome visitors in June, due to a logistical delay in its multi-million-dollar renovations.

The contractor hired to fabricate the parts of The Scramble — the museum’s new four-story climbing adventure, featuring two towers, a spiral slide and a netted catwalk 40 feet above the ground — went out of business, which waylaid construction and forced the museum to find a new fabricator, which it did.

Work has resumed on The Scramble, steadily rising in the museum’s huge glass addition along West Seventh Street. 

Museum officials say the wait — which began with a Dec. 5 closure — will be well worth it, thanks to 10 new exhibits, including The Scramble, plus an expanded toddler gallery, a maker studio with real tools, an exhibit for collaborative art projects, two outdoor spaces, a water and air-play space, a ninja-training course and a carpet skate park. 

And it’s all designed to emphasize open-ended, child-directed play, including more space and freedom to explore (35 percent more visitor space overall) and experiences that cultivate essential skills. 

The Scramble (geared toward ages 5 and older) will include stairs and platforms that will allow adults to ascend alongside kids as well as a separate Tot Spot with a ramp, webbed walking challenges and other components for younger children, all designed to teach problem-solving, calculated risk-taking and motor skills.

Other updates — as part of the first major renovation for the museum since its 1995 opening in St. Paul — will include a cafe with a coffee bar (hooray!), more bathrooms, another elevator and renovated party and event spaces. 

The museum’s Mall of America pop-up play space, meanwhile — set up to tide members over during the construction — will close as planned in late April. 

To make up for the two-month delay at the St. Paul location, the museum will automatically extend memberships by two months at no cost to families. 

Pricing at the expanded museum will be $129 for annual Passport memberships (includes two adults and all the kids in the home). General admission (formerly $9.95) will be $12.95 for ages 1 and older. 

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