CDM Continues Renovation Project with its RiverPlay Exhibit

CDM Continues Renovation Project with its RiverPlay Exhibit

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Mackenzie Steele

Creative Discovery Museum’s popular exhibit, RiverPlay, will be closed beginning Sept. 21 for renovations funded by the Ignite Discovery capital campaign project. The exhibit is set to reopen Jan. 2022 as TN RiverPlay refreshed and ready to explore.

“We are excited to continue the renovation project with one of our most popular exhibits,” said Henry Schulson, executive director. “TN RiverPlay will give children and families even more opportunities to explore what makes this area of Chattanooga special – the river, mountains and boating industry.”

The new gallery will have a stronger focus on Tennessee geography and feature two new water tables, a tow boat and enhancements to the climbing structure.  

Both of CDM’s river tables will be replaced with this renovation project. The main table will incorporate a lock and dam, a hydropower plant, a barge loading dock, a dam, plus a waterfall and rain clouds.

This new towboat was designed with the help of the Serodino Barge Company and will include an engine room, galley and pilot house. There will also be a new climber at the back of the towboat.

The three-story climbing structure will be redesigned to have stronger connections to the Tennessee landscape. In the climbing structure, children will be able to crawl through a cave, pretend they are hang gliding, enter a hot air balloon and explore a new cloud structure.

CDM expects TN RiverPlay to reopen in Jan. 2022. Once TN RiverPlay opens, CDM will proceed with the renovation of all second floor galleries, to include the STEM Zone, ARTSpace, and Treehouse Adventure.

“CDM has been well-loved by over 5 million visitors since it opened in 1995,” said Schulson. “This renovation project ensures that the Museum can continue to provide state of the art educational and playful experiences for generations to come.”

The Ignite Discovery capital campaign, presented by VW of Chattanooga, launched in January 2020. CDM has raised $10.2M of its new $12M goal to date from corporations, grants and donors from the Chattanooga region. This is the Museum’s first capital campaign in its 26-year history.

Ignite Discovery will fund comprehensive renovations of the 45,000 square foot facility including eight new exhibit galleries, expanded outreach efforts, sustainable practices and a focus on accessibility. The campaign is set to end in early spring 2022.

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