Kid Grid, the pretend power grid that's been under construction on Marbles Kids Museum's second floor since December, will open officially this weekend.
The new exhibit is made possible thanks to a $1 million grant from ABB, a power and automation technologies firm with North American headquarters in Cary. Kid Grid sits across from Power 2 Play and inside a former outdoor patio that's been fully enclosed. It's the first change to the building's exterior since it was built in 2007.
Marbles opened the exhibit to ABB staff, local leaders and others Monday night for a sneak preview. The exhibit was packed with kids running from one display to another, climbing inside a small, indoor structure and playing with pretend versions of cables, control systems, motors, transformers and more.
Greg Scheu, president and CEO of ABB Inc., told the crowd that Duke Energy first gave the company the idea to invest in an exhibit at Marbles. Stemosphere, another new Marbles exhibit which opened this year, sits just outside Kid Grid and was funded by the power company.
Scheu said ABB leaders were impressed with the innovative ways Marbles staffers have developed to make learning about science, technology, engineering and math (so-called STEM subjects) fun.
"How do we find the spark today in making engineering cool, in making technology cool?" he said. "... We need to start early."
Kid Grid aims to expose kids to the fact that energy is moving all around us; spark curiosity in children to explore how things work; empower kids and families to make smart energy choices; introduce kids and their families to the energy sources that power up our communities; and stimulate early interest in STEM careers.
I'll have much more about the exhibit later this week. But I thought I'd share a slideshow now. It's a lot of fun and definitely a new kind of experience for kids.
Kid Grid's official grand opening is this Saturday and Sunday, but lucky visitors might get to go in early later this week. Admission to Kid Grid will be free with the normal admission to Marbles, which is $5 per person.