After a two-year construction process, Louisiana Children's Museum's new facility in New Orleans is set to open this summer.
Situated in New Orleans City Park, the US$47.5m (€41.96m, £37.29m), 56,000sq ft (17,068sq m) venue will focus on early childhood development for children of eight years and under, as well as being a resource to support parents and carers.
The museum will feature five interactive, educational exhibits for children and families, focused on literacy, health and wellness, environmental education, and arts and culture. For example, one of these exhibits is an interactive culinary gallery called 'Follow That Food', where children can take a playful Louisiana food journey, starting in the state's fields and coastal waters, through the Port of New Orleans and local markets until ultimately landing on the family dinner table.
Other new museum additions include a life-sized interactive checkers board providing distinctive sounds from every neighbourhood in the city, and a 100-foot-long Mississippi water exhibit which tells the story of the journey of the mighty river. A literacy centre, parent-teacher resource centre and a cafe are also located within the museum, while outdoor environmental elements include decks, bridges, sensory and edible gardens, a floating classroom and restorative, interpretive wetlands.
Design of the museum was led by Seattle-based architects Mithūn, with local support by Waggoner and Ball. More than 125 plant species have been planted to repopulate the landscape with indigenous trees and shrubs, creating floating bio islands made from recycled materials and designed to attract wildlife.
Louisiana Children's Museum first opened 33 years ago, located in the New Orleans Warehouse District. The new location, with its modern design, filled with light and taking advantage of its natural park setting, is expected to attract more than 250,000 visitors per year.