We inspire curious thinkers to discover the wonders of science, technology and nature.
A storied past and growing future:
In 1951, Charlotte Nature Museum opened as one of the first facilities in the southeast focused on bringing families and nature together. The success of the Museum along with growing concerns about a post-Sputnick Soviet Union, spurred a growing demand in the community for quality science education. In response, the community approved funding and plans for a comprehensive hands-on science and technology center and, in 1981, Discovery Place opened its doors with 72,000 square feet of space.
As the needs of the community grew, the facility expanded. In 1986, exhibition space was added to accommodate traveling exhibitions and in 1991 the Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre opened as the first giant-screen motion picture theatre in the Carolinas. The Carol Grotnes Belk Education and Parking Complex was completed in 1996. Today Discovery Place in uptown Charlotte encompasses over 160,000 square feet offering educational, exhibition, meeting and support spaces. In June 2010, the Museum finished an 18-month, $31.6 million renovation, resulting in a completely transformed and re-imagined Museum with all-new interactive exhibits.
With the region continuing to grow, Discovery Place followed suit, opening the first Discovery Place KIDS museum in 2010 in Huntersvile, N.C. Planned as a network of community-based children’s museums, Discovery Place KIDS aspires to maximize the whole child by offering imaginative environments that encourage learning through play. Through unique public-private partnerships, the network continues to expand with a second Discovery Place KIDS opened in 2013 in Rockingham, N.C.
Discovery Place Education Studio at the Bank of America STEM Center for Career Development opened in the spring of 2014, uniquely located adjacent to Discovery Place in uptown Charlotte. The program is a community resource that provides pre K - 12 educators with the skills necessary to become inspiring teachers of science, technology, engineering and math. While Discovery Place has offered educator professional development for more than 25 years, this dedicated space for the Education Studio allows for in-depth study and extended impact on the region, with a goal of advancing student and teacher attitudes and achievements in STEM.