JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s Main Street now boasts an “Idea Lab” – the next step towards a future science center for kids.
It’s not something that’s open regular hours for kids to come and explore — yet. But that is the goal down the road.
Audie Dennis is the president of the board for the Creative Learning Alliance; he said, “First of all, for our children to help them to dream.”
It’s goal number one for Joplin’s new Idea Lab. Added Dennis, “Not only play but learn and explore and experience and be exposed to ideas of possibly careers that they’d never even thought about. ‘Hey, I, I can be a nurse – I can be a doctor.”
The new storefront is the first home for a future science center. “It won’t be open to the general public. This is a place we can use to build exhibits, to experiment, to bring in some educators, to help us as we work toward the end goal.”
Things like a Face Swap or Twisted Tanagram. Dennis said a “genius board will help with that, “people that are involved in STEAM – the science, technology, engineering, arts and math – that can give us guidance as to what types of exhibits and interactive activities.”
The project came out of Joplin’s Vision 2022 Project – sparking the “Creative Learning Alliance” in 2018.
It’s focused on children and boosting their potential, but it doesn’t stop there. “Also it’s a great economic development. Quality of life is always a big issue and to be able to show them all of the good exciting things going on in Joplin, including here as our, our children’s Science Center,” according to Dennis.
The new storefront also gives them demonstration space to connect with project donors.
They have a preliminary timeline that would start fundraising in 2022 and choose a site to remodel or build the science center.
Best case scenario puts an opening in 2025.
You can find out more at the Creative Learning Alliance website.