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Just In Time For Spring Break: Cosmosphere's New Kids Area Opens Next Week

Carla Stanfield
CosmoKids is a new interactive learning space for 2-6 year olds at Cosmosphere. It opens to the public Monday.
Credit Carla Stanfield / Cosmosphere
The X-Plane Gallery is at the main entrance area of the Cosmosphere, a Smithsonian-affiliated space museum and science center in Hutchinson, KS.

Two new areas in the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson open to the public next week.

The Cosmosphere created CosmoKids, its first hands-on learning space specifically for young kids ages 2-6.

Museum spokeswoman Carla Stanfield says new murals cover the walls around several interactive STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math—activities.

“They’ll be able to build and launch a rocket. They’ll be able to climb in an Orion-style — that’s a circular shaped — space capsule, then they’ll be able to build a Mars habitat,” Stanfield says.

In addition to the new kids space, the museum entrance area was redesigned, and now features a gallery about the X-Plane program.

Stanfield says planes and artifacts help tell the story of the research that went into preparing for space flights.

"This was a series of airplanes that really helped us understand the physical limitations of humans and our hardware by testing and breaking the speed barrier and the sound barrier,” she says.

The Smithsonian-affiliated space museum and science center spent about $5 million on renovations so far as part of its long-term plan to revitalize and upgrade the entire facility.

The next project, updating the German Gallery, is expected to start next fall.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.