Opening date of Discovery Playhouse set for April 22

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Adults tour Discovery Playhouse at 502 Broadway in Cape Girardeau Saturday, March 20, 2010 during an open house fundraiser. (Laura Simon)

Organizers of the Discovery Playhouse have set April 22 as the opening date for the attraction at 502 Broadway.

The children's museum originally had set a target date that would have had it open this week, but board president Kevin Priester said the board decided to push back the date to correspond with the arrival of a traveling exhibit.

"What's Bugging Belva," a Purdue University exhibit on insects, will arrive April 20 from Terre Haute, Ind.

"We wanted to have something to fill up the rest of the first floor so people get their money's worth," Priester said. "I think we could have pretty much had everything done, but it doesn't hurt to have an extra week or two."

A grand opening celebration will be held May 1, said Janet Livingston, interim director of the Discovery Playhouse. Before the official opening, the museum will host some private events, including birthday parties, Livingston said.

The museum's board has also set prices for admission. The standard charge will be $4 per person for adults and children, Livingston said.

Families of up to five can purchase a year's pass for $70. Grandparents may purchase a yearlong pass good for two adults and three children for $60, Livingston said. Family passes will be $10 for each additional member of the immediate family. Grandparent passes will cost $5 more per person, Livingston said.

Passes will be available for purchase after the official opening date, she said.

The Discovery Playhouse is also looking for volunteers. Due to startup costs, the museum will need to rely on volunteers rather than paid staff, especially at first, Livingston said.

The Discovery Playhouse is in the old Walther's Furniture building, Originally opened in West Park Mall from 2006 until mid-2007, the Discovery Playhouse is being financed with community donations and tax credits under the state's Neighborhood Assistance Program. The first floor of the two-story museum will be the first part to open and is aimed at children younger than 8 years old. No opening date has been set for the second-floor exhibits.

The museum was awarded $250,000 in tax credits to spur donations and more than $100,000 in credits remain available to donors who act quickly, said Debbie Simmons, museum treasurer. Qualifying donations must come from a business and donors receive tax credits equal to 50 percent of their gifts, Simmons said.

The deadline to obtain the credits is Wednesday. To take advantage of the tax credits, the money must be deposited in the museum's bank account by then, Simmons said.

"I have gotten a few calls today but no confirmation," said Simmons, who is a banker Montgomery Bank's Broadway office in Cape Girardeau.

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

502 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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