The 14th Annual Chokecherry Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8, and one of the featured attractions is the Magic City Discovery Center, which will be North Dakota’s first Children’s Museum.
The Magic City Discovery Center has been operating on a small scale since 2014, sharing space with the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot during the winter months when they are typically closed.
From 2014 to 2019 the Center has operated out of the air museum, welcoming approximately 20,000 visitors in those four partial years. Now, the Center is ready to expand into a year-round facility, featuring a variety of STEAM-based activities and environments for kids of all ages to enjoy. Wendy Keller, executive director of the Center, said that North Dakota is the only state that does not have Children’s Museum, according to the Association of Children’s Museums.
All that is going to be changing, as plans are in the works for an over 20,000 square foot facility, featuring 11 exhibit galleries and a climbing area. More than $6 million has already been raised for the facility, which will be located in north Minot. Keller said the focus at the Center is hands-on learning, which is what their Education and Outreach Director, Liz Weeks, will be taking part in at the Chokecherry Festival. Weeks travels the area, visiting schools to help enhance STEAM learning.
“It’s called ‘Discovery On the Go,’” Keller told the Williston Herald. “We just decided that while we are in the process of raising money and building the facility to get it up and running, which will take a little while, that we wanted to offer a few programs around the region.”
Weeks said the program consists of classroom visits, where Weeks gives STEAM lessons for kindergarten through fifth grade. Topics such as the science of sound, architecture and engineering, magnets, computer coding and more. Weeks also holds “Family STEAM Nights,” where parents and kids can both enjoy 10 projects together.
Weeks and Keller will have a number of STEAM-based activities on-hand for the Chokecherry Festival, as well as sharing information about the new Science Center. Keller said she expects the Science Center to have around 45,000 visitors once it is open year-round, however no date has been announced. Visit magiccitydiscoverycenter.com or facebook.com/magiccitydiscoverycenter to find out more and keep up-to-date on all the exciting things the Center is doing.
Spring Lake Park will be host to this year’s Chokecherry Festival, which will feature music, games, vendors, food and more throughout the entire park Friday and Saturday. As the festival will utilize most of the park, the CVB recommends visitors wear comfortable shoes for walking, and brings chairs and blankets if needed for enjoying one of the many concerts taking place. Don’t forget to bring something to carry your items, as vendors will have all sorts of crafts, treats and more for purchase.
Parking will be available at the Buck Scheele Family Animal Rescue Center across from the park, as well as down the road near the Holiday gas station, with shuttles available to transport people into the park. No vehicles will be allowed inside the park. For those who are unable to attend, but still want to check it out, the CVB will be hosting a “virtual” Festival, taking to Facebook Live to share concerts, entertainments and other attractions from the park. For updates and a full schedule of events, visit facebook.com/ChokecherryFestival.