MINOT, N.D. • Construction will begin this spring on the Magic City Discovery Center, a 22,123-square-foot, interactive educational museum in Minot.

The one-of-a-kind hybrid children’s museum and science center will provide STEAM-based indoor and outdoor activities for children up to age 14, where kids will have fun while learning skills that prepare them for future careers.

Construction is set to begin sometime in May by Kraus-Anderson. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company has an office in Bismarck, N.D. The museum is designed by Minot-based Ackerman-Estvold.

“Contracts are being issued, shop drawings being reviewed, ordering of material and coordinating with the exhibit vendors,” K-A Senior Project Manager Curt Janssen, based in Bismarck, told Prairie Business.

The three-story educational building will feature 12 interactive exhibit galleries, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). The discovery center is designed for open-ended, layered learning, allowing children to independently and collaboratively engage in lifelong learning through discovery, creativity and play.

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Some of the interactive exhibits include:

- Magic Climber – a 37-foot-tall structure representing North Dakota, where visitors will be able to climb from earth to sky, and from prairie dog burrows to an oil derrick, to reach a wire frame B-52 airplane where they’ll get a 360-dgree view of Minot from above the second-floor roofline.

- Smithsonian Spark!Lab Invention Center – MCDC is working to finalize plans to become the 10th site in the U.S. with a Smithsonian Spark!Lab Invention Center, a state-of-the-art center where visitors and school groups become inventors and innovators.

- Water Flow Gallery – a dynamic and engaging area where children can experiment with the science and properties of water, including an area to interact with the flow of the Souris River.

- The Building Gallery – an interactive “construction zone” filled with a variety of materials, images, and experiences that will explore “building” as both a noun and a verb.

- Outside My Window - designed for children seven years old and younger, the exhibit will be filled with exciting experiences that represent North Dakota’s natural world.

- Move - a dynamic introduction to the fundamentals of physical science, particularly energy and motion.

The company said other STEAM-based exhibits in the children’s museum will include an aerial flight exhibit, digital worlds, light and sound labs – all designed to encourage creativity, exploration and problem solving.

Magic City Discovery Center expects thousands of families to visit the museum regularly, in addition to the more than 1,300 children in grades K-5 who live on and off the Minot Air Force Base.

Designed by Minot-based Ackerman-Estvold, the $14 million project, including exhibit costs, is funded in part by a $6.3 million grant from the Department of Defense, and through public-private partnerships with the City of Minot and Minot Park District.

The project is expected to be completed in fall of 2022.

“I am excited to be involved in a project that will benefit kids, their families, the State of North Dakota and beyond,” Janssen said. “Having the opportunity to do something unique that will impact lives for decades to come is very special.”