This July, The Discovery Museums opens Discovery Woods, a launching point for outdoor adventures and woodland exploration, featuring an inclusive, fully-accessible nature playscape with the coolest, biggest treehouse you’ve ever seen, built by DIY Network’s The Treehouse Guys.
Thanks to leadership gifts and a transformational $4M in challenge grants from The Manton Foundation, Discovery Woods also marks the dramatic first phase of reimagining the Museums’ Acton, MA campus and facilities.
An Opening Celebration on Saturday-Sunday, July 16-17, 9am-4pm, will welcome families with music, food trucks, and free admission for children ages 12 and under.
A huge, whimsical treehouse and learning center stands as Discovery Woods’ centerpiece. Elevated trails with interactive sensory and observation stations along the way—including peepholes, periscopes, and listening tubes—prompt exploration and investigation. Adventurers can bounce on the wiggly bridge, zoom down the family-size slide, sway in the nest swing, and climb the cargo net, cultivating their physical activity and risk taking. They can explore, observe, and reflect in the woodland nook, rain garden, birdhouse village, beaver lodge, and acres of adjoining forest.
Throughout, children can exercise creativity and strengthen building skills as they engineer structures and artistic pieces using found objects, logs, sticks, and stones. An admission ticket to Discovery Woods includes admission to the Science and Children’s Discovery Museums.
The DIY Network episode of The Treehouse Guys devoted to Discovery Woods will air this fall, including a time-lapse video of the entire construction process since its October 2015 groundbreaking.
The $1.5 million Discovery Woods is the realization of the first phase of the museums’ 2012 Campus Master Plan. In 2017, Phase II will revamp the 28-year-old Science Discovery Museum by doubling the size of the building, bringing all of the museums’ exhibits under one roof, adding brand new learning experiences for families, and providing modern visitor amenities. Leadership donors have already committed $7.8M toward the overall project goal of $8.4M. Broad public outreach requesting support from the entire museum community is expected to begin in late 2016. The Discovery Museums are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
“We are thrilled and humbled by the incredible level of support from our community and beyond that has brought us to this exciting milestone,” said Board of Directors Chair Bill Ryan. “Opening Discovery Woods is a tremendous step forward in the advancement of our mission to get more kids outside to reap the many fundamental benefits of outdoor play. We are well on our way to an even stronger and more exciting Discovery Museums.”