EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- As the city plans its future children's science museum, Lynx Exhibits is transforming into the El Paso Exploreum living laboratory museum for children.
Lynx, the privately owned traveling exhibits museum in downtown El Paso, recently turned into a nonprofit organization and in January will begin operating as the Exploreum. The museum will include the traditional traveling exhibit as well as interactive exhibits in construction, aviation, role play and high tech.
"We've been working on bringing something like this to El Paso for about two years," said Laurie Paternoster, co-owner and marketing director of Lynx Exhibits. "With Insights closing, we wanted to offer this to the community while the new children's museum is developed."
The Insights El Paso Science Center will close Dec. 15 to make way for the Triple-A baseball stadium. Insights must vacate its building by Feb. 1. The center's building is expected to be torn down in March alongside City Hall.
In the meantime, the Insights board of directors is working on a transition plan that includes a "Museum without Walls" concept, possibly taking its exhibits to schools and community functions.
"It's important to go into the community and show them why they should go to a museum," Paternoster said. That, she said, could encourage families to visit the Exploreum and create excitement about the new museum in the coming years.
"The excitement can only grow," Paternoster said.
A group of area experts, including city museum employees and those who have worked with Insights and Lynx, is working on a plan for the new children's museum. The new museum and science center won't likely carry the Insights name.
In the long term, the Exploreum, Insights and other private investors may create a public-private partnership with the city to bring a first-class children's museum and science center to El Paso.
Starting Jan. 26, the Exploreum at 320 W. San Antonio, next door to the Lynx building, will open.
Tech City, a traveling exhibit from the Science Center in Ithaca, N.Y., will feature fun ways to learn about engineering. Visitors can shake buildings and bridges, dam a creek, control traffic flow and catch the wind.
A standing exhibit is called High Tech Hot Spot, which features a multiplayer touch screen table and interactive floor. The Airport Adventure is a kid-sized airport where children can work a control tower and climb on an airplane and a helicopter.
In the Old El Paso Village, visitors can stroll through an old schoolhouse and a general mercantile store.
The public will have the opportunity to vote on the Exploreum's standing exhibits and offer suggestions about what it would like to see in the future children's museum.
Lynx, which opened in 2007, is hosting "In the Dark," an exhibit that explores five environments of darkness. The exhibit, from the Cincinnati Museum Center, will be up through Jan. 6.
Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com