Moneypalooza, the popular second floor exhibit at Marbles Kids Museum with the giant pig that drops balls into a pit, has an updated and refurbished look thanks to continued support from the N.C. Banker's Association.
The changes, for the most part, are subtle. Marbles visitors who aren't regulars might not recognize the upgrades. But the overall look is brighter and parts of the exhibit are new or improved.
"Moneypalooza is centered around imaginative, play-based financial literacy themes where kids can earn, spend, save and share," said Michelle Ward, Marbles design specialist. "It’s been such a well-loved exhibit, we’re excited that the NC Banker’s Association has signed on to partner with us again."
The overall theme and layout of the exhibit is the same. There's still the pizza shop, the pet care area, the lemonade stand, the armored truck and the two-story climbing piece where kids can move the balls (intended to represent money) into the big piggy bank that hangs from the ceiling.
Kids can learn about earning, saving and spending money by, for instance, earning money by making pizza at the pizza shop; saving it in the bank; and then spending it, using budgets and smart decisions.
The exhibit opened in early 2010 thanks to a five-year grant from the banker's association. The group and regional banks have renewed their support, making the recent improvements possible.
The biggest changes include an ATM on the side of the armored truck, supported by Wells Fargo, and an additional pneumatic tube on the truck where kids can deposit those balls.
There are new cash registers in the pizza shop and the lemonade stand where kids can sign their names on magnet boards just like their parents sign their names at the store. And there's a new "On Budget" area where kids can shoot balls into holes for needs like food and clothing and wants like toys and treats.
The entire exhibit got a fresh look with new carpet and new, more durable countertops. The lighting was changed, making the entire exhibit feel newer and brighter. The are new pizza options in the shop. The lights around the stepping stone-like money pads now work when jumped on. And the radio in the armored truck is functioning.
And for those of us who have seen the balls get stuck in the tubes as kids try to move them to the piggy bank, there's another big change: The track system was completely rebuilt, using metal that will be sturdier and should reduce the number of clogs.
The work went on with minor closures inside the exhibit. Most of it was done after hours or on Monday afternoons when the museum is closed. There are still some finishing touches that Marbles is working on. But the upgrades will definitely help it continue to be a high-energy spot for kids.
The exhibit also continues with funding from Square 1 Bank, which is supporting the lemonade stand; Regions Bank, which supports the loan desk; Wells Fargo, which supported upgrades to the armored truck; and Bank of America, which sponsors the piggy bank.
Admission to Moneypalooza is free with Marbles admission, which is $5 per person.