Sleepover of a lifetime could be awarded in next month

If attendance estimates stay true to the projection, the Children’s Museum of South Dakota will welcome its one-millionth guest sometime in the next month.

The lucky one-millionth guest who walks through the doors will be welcomed by museum mascot Kidoodle and receive a Night at the Museum overnight experience with behind-the-scenes access for up to 20 of their friends and family members.  

This milestone coincides with a celebration of the Museum’s 10-year anniversary in September 2020.

“We are thrilled to have had the honor of elevating the power of play in our community for the last 10 years,” Museum Executive Director Kate Treiber said. “While we take time to celebrate our one-millionth guest, we are also celebrating the learning and discovery that has taken place within our walls daily.” 

When the Children’s Museum of South Dakota was in the planning stages, the annual attendance was estimated to be at 25,000. But the 10,000th guest was welcomed within 27 days of being open. Attendance kept going up from there. Currently, more than 105,000 people visit the museum annually in a town that has a population of 23,938.

In 2009 when the museum was built, the idea of a children’s museum was fairly new. South Dakota was one of two states, the other being Idaho, that did not have a children’s museum. In 1975, there were 38 children’s museums in the entire United States. Today, there are 300 children’s museums around the world.

“We are a unique experience offering guests of all ages space to connect and play, while inspiring inquiry and wonder,” said Treiber. “When we opened, we worked hard to share with the community what a children’s museum does. We are a place designed entirely for children. We are honored to do this work every day, serving as a community resource and as an educational laboratory.”

While the museum is widely known for its 25-foot tall 60-foot long animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex named Mama on the outdoor prairie play area, the Museum’s KidStreet featuring an interactive water exhibit, a community post office, and a grocery store to name just a few exhibits, also has children and their adults in awe upon first visit.  

“We see new and repeat visitors from every state and many countries each year,” Director of Guest Services Kati Hanson said. “We are excited to celebrate with our one-millionth guest and we will be watching the numbers closely. It’s anyone’s guess exactly when it will happen, but when it does we will be excited to play along with them.”

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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