New Children's Museum, Spark, breaks ground in Rochester

Alice Keefe
Updated: February 21, 2020 05:59 PM
Created: February 21, 2020 05:46 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Friday marked a new chapter for families and kids in Rochester.

“We’re really trying to build on what we established over the last eight years as the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester,” said Spark’s Director, Beth Sherden.


Now, in a space almost twice the size located in the Apache Mall, there is room for so much more.

“We’re going to have a dramatic play area that’s called 'Our World Bazaar' that will have a café and a market and a bookstore and a tailor shop, but it’s going to be infused with representation from many of the cultures here in Rochester,” Sherden said.

“It’s great to have a place to come, especially if the weather’s not that great, you come out here, the kids can burn off some energy, they can learn quite a bit,” said Mike Benike of Benike Construction, which is building Spark.

Benike brought his six-year-old son, Nathan, to Friday’s groundbreaking, because he’s looking forward to the new space, too.

“When Nathan found out that we were going to be starting the construction, he asked ‘Is it done yet? I want to play in the water area,'" Benike said.

There will also be a 16-foot vertical maze, a workshop where visitors can create, and a green screen production area, where kids and families can pretend to be ABC 6 News anchors and meteorologists.

“It’s meant to be a very rich and engaging experience. It’s also meant to be experienced together, and it’s meant to have people come in and learn together, find out new things about each other, be inspired,” Sherden said.

Spark is expected to open to the community in July.

So far, it has raised almost $2.2 million of its $2.6 million goal, of which ABC 6 News and the Hubbard Foundation donated $50,000.

Spark will have updates on construction on its website and Facebook page.

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