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New wing opens at Nature & Science museum

The exterior of the 126,000-square-foot addition.

The Conservation Center.

The Science Atrium.

A corridor in the new wing.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science celebrated the grand opening of its $56.5 million new wing on Feb. 14.

The five-level, 126,000-square foot wing houses the Morgridge Family Exploration Center and the Rocky Mountain Science Collections Center occupy the addition.

"We are proud to marke the beginning of an amazing new chapter that is reinventing and reinvigorating our 113-year-old institution," says George Sparks, President and CEO of the museum. "We are grateful to our generous donors and members of our wonderful Colorado community, including the citizens of Denver who supported the Better Denver bond campaign."

The construction cost of the new wing was funded through a combination of $30 million in Better Denver bonds approved by voters in 2007 and $26.5 million in gifts and grants raised by the museum. The museum also is raising $15 million to equip and program the new wing.

The Morgridge center includes three above-ground levels devoted to offering memorable and impactful programs that encourage vistors of all ages to have in-depth conversations about science and the natural world. It is named to recognize a lead gift of $8 million from the Morgridge Family Foundation, the largest private gift in the museum's history.

Level three of the above-ground levels is home to the Anschutz Gallery, made possible by the Anschutz Foundation, which will adjoin the existing Phipps Gallery. The space enhances the museum’s ability to present leading exhibitions from around the world and debuts with Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, the largest exhibition about this ancient culture ever presented in the United States.

A new Discovery Zone on the second level, made possible by Kaiser Permanente, is under construction and will open June 7. Its activities will be geared toward children ages three to five.

The Rocky Mountain Science Collections Center totals 63,000 square feet in two underground levels devoted to providing consolidated housing for nearly 1.5 million artifacts and specimens.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Margaret Jackson.

Margaret is a veteran Denver real estate reporter and can be contacted here.
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