Curious Minds begins campaign

Posted Parsons Sun: Thursday, January 14, 2016

By Colleen Williamson 


Providing children a place to learn through experimentation and problem solving in a safe environment while having fun is what Curious Minds Discover Zone has been doing since it opened its doors in 2012.

Wanting to see how a museum providing hands-on exploration for children would be received in the area, Curious Minds opened in a temporary location at 1810 Main in downtown Parsons. The museum quickly became a hit as word spread. Besides local patrons, families from Pittsburg, Neodesha, Independence and other neighboring towns bring their children to the museum on a regular basis.

Museum director Becky Falke said she has continued to update and improve the exhibits to allow children who visit often to engage in new experiences. Summer camps and special programming were added and have been filled to capacity.

The addition of family memberships was an advantage many patrons opted for, increasing from 31 to 1,057 this past year. Family memberships allow families to visit the museum anytime during regular business hours and provide discounts on special events and camps.

In all, visitors to the museum increased from 4,789 in 2014 to 5,537 in 2015.

Three years of growth and success, with little promotion, supports the need for expansion, which is impossible in the current downtown location. For that reason, the museum board this week is kicking off the Curious Minds Discovery Zone “Expanding Potential” capital campaign.

“We’re calling it that because not only is it expanding our potential, but children can expand their potential,” Falke said.

The nonprofit museum is working to raise $600,000 to construct a new 6,000-square-foot building.

“Ideally, we’re hoping to have all the funds raised within a year, so that by next summer, 2017, we will be able to be in the building,” Falke said. “That would be our intention.”

The future site will be located on Union Avenue, east of Green Country Auto Group. The one acre of land for the location has been donated by the city of Parsons.

Not only will the new building double the size of the museum’s indoor space, but also the new location will provide for a wide variety of outdoor opportunities.

“I’m looking forward most to the outdoor space, where kids can plant gardens and get muddy, go bird watching, and we’re so close to the stream (Tolen Creek) we can do counts, and we can walk to the pond (in Tolen Creek Park) to do stuff there. The walking trail steps off our parking lot,” Falke said. “So we’re very excited about that.”

There will also be a designated birthday party/event room in the new facility to allow groups to enjoy their activities without disruption from other patrons.

Falke said this is an important addition as Curious Minds has became the No. 1 birthday party destination in the area, with more than 1,496 birthday parties scheduled during 2015.

All capital campaign donation amounts are welcome. All gifts of more than $500 will be featured on the Museum Donor Wall, and all donors will be included in museum publications. Donor levels are: Visionary, $100,000 plus; Scholar, $50,000 plus; Gifted, $25,000 plus; Artistic, $10,000 plus; Prodigy, $5,000 plus; Thinker, $1,000 plus; and Muse, $500 plus.

Anyone wanting more information on how to make a tax-deductible donation can visit, call 778-2657 or email


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December Toddler Time

Join us at Curious Minds Discovery Zone for Toddler Time on Thursdays.  We read a book around 10:30 am followed by a craft/activity.  There is no extra cost for this event.

December Books:

  • December 3rd:  “Bear Stays Up For Christmas” by Karma Wilson
  • December 10th:  “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg
  • December 17th:  “Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas” by Jane O’Connor


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It’s Fall


Fall is my favorite time of the year!  There is nothing better than stepping outside in the morning to the crisp cool air or to watch the chlorophyll break down the green color in leaves to reveal their yellow and orange colors.

To welcome fall CMDZ has created a “Fall Bucket List” where kids can complete groups of fall activities.  When you bring the bucket list into the museum for each group that is completed and signed that child will receive a prize and their name will be entered into a drawing for a Microlab microscope.  Stop by the museum to pick up your “Fall Bucket List” or you can view it on our event page.

Check out our calendar for our Friday Fall Bucket List events. Each Friday in October to November from 3:15-5:00 pm we will be completing one of the items off the bucket list.

Becky Falke

CMDZ director

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Nutrition Event

Nutrition Event

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CMDZ in the News

From the Parsons Sun

Curious Minds adds new exhibits

By Colleen Williamson

Curious Minds Discovery Zone has received two new exhibits at its interactive children’s museum, making the need for a planned new facility even more paramount.

Curious Minds uses a city-owned building at 1810 Main, but the board wants to erect a larger building to expand on what the children’s museum can offer, including hands-on, outdoor activities. The city has donated an acre of land just south of Wal-Mart’s east entrance by Tolen Creek Park, which will also offer greater visibility as it is near the junction of U.S. 400 and U.S. 59 (16th Street).

Director of Curious Minds Becky Falke showed Tuesday a new Lite Brite exhibit donated by Bowen Pharmacy. The lighted peg board was installed inside a glow-in-the-dark area.

Courtesy of a donation from the Parsons Area Community Foundation helping with half the cost, the museum also bought an iPlay game, which projects images from above onto a special mat on the floor. When kids step, hop, tap or run across the map, they interact with the objects projected. For example, babies seem to be fascinated with crawling through a pool of balls, making them scatter. Children can step on mice, which operates in a similar fashion to the hand-held Whack-A-Mole game, except they use their feet. Children also can play ice hockey, soccer and three other games.

“It’s proven very popular, even with the little kids,” Falke said. “Generally, when they come to the camps, they ask if we can turn it on. I have to tell them, ‘Not until the camp is over.’”

Because the new iPlay exhibit required floor space, Falke said other exhibits were taken down to make room. It is not unusual for the museum to change and move exhibits around to provide new surroundings for children who may come to the museum more frequently, but Falke said she will be excited to move into the new 100-by-60-foot building, which will provide twice the amount of space as the current building.

The museum already draws families from communities all around Southeast Kansas, and with the expansion, it is expected to draw even more.

To support the museum in its daily operations, the board is hosting its third annual dinner and auction fundraiser. Tickets are being sold for the Aug. 22 event, A Night of Discovery, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the Labette Health Express Care building, 2100 Commercial Drive. Tickets cost $35 each or $600 for a table and must be bought in advance from a board member, at the museum or by contacting Falke at 778-2839. Dinner will be served buffet style. A D.J. and dancing will follow the dinner.

“We are also starting a building fund, so we need all the donations we can get,” Falke said.

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Jurassic Museum!

Do you long for the good old days, roughly 200 million years ago?

Do ripples in a cup of water fill you with both excitement and terror?

Are you continually disappointed by the lack of Velociraptors in your rear-view mirror?

Then you need to come get your Dino fix at Curious Minds!

We have a replica T-Rex skull,


Dino posters, puzzles, models, and actual Mosasaurus teeth!

Yep, THAT Mosasaurus.

(Note: they were much smaller in real life)

Plus we have all the action and suspense your imagination can provide.

Jurassic Museum

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Summer Update

Summer Update

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Summer Camps!

Mark your calendars; we’ve got a summer of fun lined  up for kids of all ages. 2015 Summer Camp Flyer2015 Toddler Summer Camp Flyer

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Announcing Two Exciting New Events

Big Hero 6 PartyMother Daughter Tea Party

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New Birthday Policy

Starting June 1st we will be doing birthday parties a little bit differently:

Birthday Flyer

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