A storied past and growing future.
In 1951, Charlotte Nature Museum opened as one of the first facilities in the southeast focused on bringing families and nature together. The success of the Museum along with growing concerns about a post-Sputnick Soviet Union, spurred a growing demand in the community for quality science education. In response, the community approved funding and plans for a comprehensive hands-on science and technology center and, in 1981, Discovery Place opened its doors with 72,000 square feet of space.
As the needs of the community grew, the facility expanded. In 1986, exhibition space was added to accommodate traveling exhibitions and in 1991 the Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre opened as the first giant-screen motion picture theatre in the Carolinas. The Carol Grotnes Belk Education and Parking Complex was completed in 1996. Today Discovery Place in uptown Charlotte encompasses over 160,000 square feet offering educational, exhibition, meeting and support spaces. In June 2010, the Museum finished an 18-month, $31.6 million renovation, resulting in a completely transformed and re-imagined Museum with all-new interactive exhibits.
With the region continuing to grow, Discovery Place followed suit, opening the first Discovery Place KIDS museum in 2010 in Huntersvile, N.C. Planned as a network of community-based children’s museums, Discovery Place KIDS’ aspires to maximize the whole child by offering imaginative environments that encourage learning-through-`98play. Through unique public-private partnerships, the network continues to expand with a second Discovery Place KIDS now under development in Rockingham, N.C. and scheduled to open in 2013.