Local News

Marbles Kids Museum Rolls Into Downtown Raleigh

Posted September 29, 2007 6:18 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2007 10:08 p.m. EDT

— Wake County has a new hot spot for kids. Marbles Kids Museum at 201 East Hargett St. in downtown Raleigh welcomed its first visitors Saturday.

The museum's opening comes after the merger of the former Exploris and Playspace museums in July.

Exploris struggled with attendance and extra space, while Playspace sometimes had to close because of too many visitors. The building often exceeded its fire code limit of 300 people.

The Marbles Kids Museum is in the 83,000-square-foot former home of Exploris.

Close to 11,000 people were estimated to have rolled into the museum on Saturday. Chris Babson took his four daughters to the free celebration, which featured kids' bands, clowns and magicians.

“I like this one because it's hands-on interactive. Most of the other ones, it's like, stand behind the rope, don't touch this, please don't touch that,” said Isabelle Babson.

Museum officials said they have a lot of interactive exhibits to inspire kids to be creative thinkers.

”This is very tactile, very imaginative, and still gives them a chance to learn and explore,” Chris Babson said.

The name of the museum wasn't revealed until Saturday. Marbles Kids Museum President Sally Edwards said "Marbles" just rolled off the tongue.

“It's all about hands-on, it's about brains, and fun and learning and the planets, it just got richer and richer,” Edwards said.

Museum organizers anticipate 200,000 visitors in the first year. That would double Exploris' annual average attendance.

Everyone who attended the grand opening got in for free. General admission prices are $5 per person.