The Museum of Life and Science is now closer to its goal of raising $3.9 million to build two new exhibits thanks to a donation from the Duke Energy Foundation.
The foundation has invested $75,000 into the Durham museum's Climbing Higher Campaign to build two new outdoor learning environments - Hideaway Woods, which will open in summer 2015, and Earth Moves, which is now scheduled to open in 2017 (a year later than originally announced).
The museum has so far raised $2.3 million in gifts and pledges toward the campaign.
Work already is underway for Hideaway Woods. The museum added a new pedestrian walkway this summer. It passes beneath the train tracks. The walkway will connect Hideaway Woods with the new Gateway Park and Woodland Waters. This accessible, re-circulating fresh water stream is designed for wading and learning how water interacts with other natural elements.
Once complete, Hideaway Woods will offer a "two-acre nature-based playscape with experiences designed to encourage movement, exploration, and early science learning skills," according to a press release. "Highlights include a tree house village suspended 15 to 20 feet off the ground, living twig and sapling structures designed by artist Patrick Dougherty for hands-on imaginative play, and a play space designed to support early childhood development."
Tree house installation should begin this fall.
Plans for Earth Moves are in development. That space will offer a hands-on exploration of earth science. "Visitors will understand the forms and forces that shape the earth as well as how humans use the earth," the release says. "Visitors will use real excavators, build and climb giant sand piles, learn how water works in a free standing waterfall, explore erosion and more."
The foundation has made other donations to the museum, including gifts to help build the Magic Wings Butterfly House and electric car-charging stations.