Downtown Springfield Association
Children do a science experiment at the Discovery Center
News Stories

The Discovery Center is pivoting again, and they need your help!

June 25, 2020

The Discovery Center is once again pivoting and is reopening its doors!

A special Members-Only Welcome Day is scheduled for June 26. The Discovery Center invites the public to join them June 27 and beyond.

The Discovery (Childcare) Center

The Center has been closed to public visitors for the last 14 weeks while it operated solely as an emergency childcare facility for healthcare workers and first responders. It has provided:

  • More than 90,000 hours of free childcare
  • More than 37,000 free meals and snacks
  • More than 1,000 free child enrollments

The Discovery Center also hired over 25 new employees, doubling the size of its team during the pandemic, and was one of only two science centers in North America to remain operational. 

While the Discovery Center will once again be operating as the community’s beloved nonprofit science center, the team will continue providing free childcare to families still in need of care, learning, and fun through the end of the summer. The focus has shifted from a traditional education to the Center’s fun, hands-on, and award-winning summer camp model.

“We’ve been running on caffeine and kindness for many, many weeks now,” Rob Blevins, Executive Director, said. “We’re looking forward to having our community come back in and support their community funded, nonprofit science center as a science center again. We need it. We poured virtually every dollar we had into providing this free emergency childcare.”

Keeping it clean 

Increasing their already thorough cleaning and sanitizing routines, the Center is implementing a few changes to help keep families and the most vulnerable community members safer. Face masks for staff and guests 3 years of age and older, hand sanitizing/washing, and no-touch temperature screenings will all be required to enter the Center.

In addition to continual cleaning and sanitizing, staff are increasing sanitization in high traffic areas of the Center throughout the day, cleaning surfaces of facilitated exhibits in-between guests like the HighWire Bike and Plasma Ball. It will close daily from 2-3 p.m. for a deep clean. Fun signs posted around the Center will remind learners to keep their masks on and stay 6 feet away from other groups while playing.

“Over the last 14 weeks, we have become a leader in how to integrate play, leaning, and safety. We now have almost 100,000 hours in COVID care and have shown by word and by action that we care about our community,” Blevins said. “The good news is that we care as much about having fun, engaging, and inspiring exhibits and activities for you and your family to enjoy together as we do about safety. Temperature checks, masks, handwashing, sanitizing, distancing—you name it. We’ve been doing it, and we’re going to keep doing it.”

Get your tickets now

All guests, including members, will be required to reserve tickets before visiting the Discovery Center to adhere to occupancy limits set by the City of Springfield and Greene County. Families wanting to learn more about reserving tickets and all the safety precautions can visit for the latest information.