Washington Pavilion Opens New South Dakota Themed Exhibits

Today the Washington Pavilion, in partnership with third floor sponsor Avera, opened new exhibits on the Kirby Science Discovery Center. The South Dakota-themed exhibits featuring roaring dinosaurs, a rock quarry, a fun quiz game and so much more.

"These new, hands-on exhibits truly are one-of-a-kind and celebrate fascinating areas of South Dakota," says Jason Folkerts, Washington Pavilion Director of Museums. "Each detail in the exhibits is intentional, right down to the realistic-looking carpet that offers a scavenger hunt for little ones. Plus, the low height of many of the exhibit features allows even toddlers to participate in the fun made just for them."

The Dinosaur Discovery area invites you to step back into prehistoric times and encounter dinosaurs like the Dakotaraptors, Pterosaur, Triceratops and others that roamed South Dakota so many years ago.

  • Stand face-to-face with a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Dig for dinosaur bones and learn about the tools used to unearth fossils.
  • Take a ride in our Jurassic Jeep and meet a couple of "dino experts" who explain how scientists study fossils and what old bones teach us today.
  • Color dinosaurs on interactive screens or watch educational dinosaur cartoons.
  • The Quarry Dig area guides you through the process of mining stones for building materials, starting with blowing up a quartzite cliff all the way to transporting the rocks from the site.
  • 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Boom! Count down to see, hear and feel a real-life quarry blast. Watch the rock explosion from the work site trailer while wearing fun hardhats and safety vests.
  • Crawl through the darkness of a mine's tunnel to discover precious stones.
  • Load rocks onto a moving conveyor belt to transport them into buckets or a mining truck.
  • Use pulleys to lift heavy stones like the ones used to build the Washington Pavilion more than 100 years ago.

Other features include a fun and interactive quiz game exploring South Dakota facts, lessons on state geography, a creative scavenger hunt activity and a Mount Rushmore cutout just waiting for your face as the fifth president.

Washington Pavilion staff members worked more than a year to research, design, build, and install the new exhibits to ensure they would meet the needs of the community. The improvements are part of a multi-year effort to refurbish and reenergize the Kirby Science Discovery Center. New fourth-floor exhibits opened in 2018, and additional updates are planned for the future.

"If it's been a while since your family has experienced the Kirby Science Discovery Center, now is the time to check out all of the new exhibits and improvements we have made in the facility," says Darrin Smith, Washington Pavilion President and CEO. "The newly updated Kirby Science Discovery Center is the place for fun and exploration for children and adults alike."

The new exhibits are possible thanks to third floor sponsor Avera, as well as support from L.G. Everest, Inc., and the David B. Jones Foundation. In late 2018, Avera Stage Science, also on the science center's third floor, was refreshed with updated graphics and video content.

"Our clinical teams understand that play is an important component of childhood development, so we are proud to partner with the Washington Pavilion," said David Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan. "At the Avera stage, children are exposed to science in a way that's fun, interactive and we hope they'll want to learn more."

Washington Pavilion members can visit the exhibits for free. Daily admission rates apply for non-members.

For more information, call the Box Office at 605-367-6000 or visit washingtonpavilion.org.

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