The Glazer Children's Museum, soon to be the newest can't-miss venue for families and visitors to the Bay area, opened its doors to a group of VIP sponsors on Saturday night. In just a few short months, those doors will be open to everyone.
Opening day for the Glazer Children's Museum: September 25, 2010
During Saturday's Imagination Gala 2010 at the museum, located in downtown Tampa adjacent to the attractive Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, museum officials revealed that much-anticipated piece of news. Those eager to be among the first to experience the 53,000-square-foot educational and cultural facility now know exactly when the wait will be over.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Mike Alstott and his wife Nicole, honorary chairs for Saturday's event, were on hand to host a VIP reception for sponsors. The guests in attendance, who had donated generously to the museum's ongoing development, enjoyed a magical "SEUSS Meets SOLEIL"-themed evening of live entertainment, dancing and an array of fine cuisine.
This year's fundraising gala grossed more than $215,000, and the announcement of the museum's grand opening was received enthusiastically by a crowd of nearly 500 guests. Included in the celebratory group were Tampa Bay Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer, a member of the museum's board, as well as Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.
Construction on the museum began in January of 2009 and the inner exhibits were underway by January of 2010. By the time it opens its doors in September, the museum will feature 175 hands-on exhibits in 12 themed areas in addition to classrooms for workshops and structured programs. It is aimed primarily at children up to the age of 10 and is expected to draw an annual attendance of approximately 200,000 visitors.
The striking museum sits next to the Hillsborough River, across from the University of Tampa and within a revitalized riverfront area. Its mission is to create learning environments where children play, discover and connect to the world around them to develop as lifelong learners and leaders. The museum will provide a safe and playful environment where children and adults can learn about themselves, each other and the world they live in through exploration, role-playing and direct experience.
"Our family is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area through a variety of programs and grants," said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation. "We understand and appreciate the importance of positively shaping the lives of children, which is why we are proud to help finance the construction of this museum for families throughout West Central Florida to enjoy."
A combination of permanent and traveling exhibits, comprehensive year round programs and special events will provide children, parents, caregivers and teachers with a rich and ever-changing environment for playful learning. Along with a 5,000 square foot Traveling Exhibit Hall, the museum will house over 27,000 square feet of exhibits that will inspire children and families by creating learning opportunities around innovative play and discovery. Kids can pretend to be airplane pilots, cruise ship captains, construction workers, fire fighters, doctors and more in a safe, engaging environment.