Story and photos provided by the Oklahoma WONDERtorium
After welcoming over 325,000 visitors and an outreach program that has impacted over 10,000 children in rural Oklahoma, it is time for the Oklahoma WONDERtorium to grow into a new home.
The WONDERtorium Board of Directors has entered into an agreement with Stan Clark, President of Clark Realty Corporation for the opportunity to purchase the former Mojo’s building located at 223 E. Hall of Fame in Stillwater.
“We are so excited for the new experiences, expanded exhibits and exciting programming options a new location would bring the WONDERtorium,” said Gay Washington, executive director of the WONDERtorium. “We treasure the opportunity to grow and share our vision of a world where play is encouraged and valued as essential for first and forever learning.”
The Mojo’s building housed Mojo’s Rock ‘n’ Bowl Grill until January 2018 and Joseppi’s Italian Kitchen prior to that. The 12,128 square foot building on 1.637 acres is located in the center of Stillwater and just three blocks from Oklahoma State University’s Gallagher-Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium. The buildings close proximity to Strickland Park will also give visiting children a nearby outdoor play area.
“This new location gives us the chance to impact thousands of more children and families in Stillwater and across the state of Oklahoma.” said Kari Easson, president of the WONDERtorium board of directors.
The move will take some time to plan and execute. “We are looking at a Spring of 2021 timeline,” explained Director Washington. “Our goal is to finalize the sale in December and we estimate it will take a year or more to develop the exhibits and renovation.”
The Oklahoma WONDERtorium Board of Directors has considered numerous locations in recent years. They wanted a location that meets the museum’s space needs along with high visibility and walkability, as well as a location that was near a bus stop and with access to an outdoor space. “The renovation of Strickland Park becoming fully accessible to all children was a great draw for us to invest in this location.” said Washington. “We envision a centralized area for families to enjoy playing in multiple spaces.”
The WONDERtorium first opened its doors at 308 W. Franklin Lane in October 2011. The intent was for the initial location to provide a proof of concept and eventually for the museum to be able to relocate to a larger facility. The board and staff plan to operate the existing facility while planning is underway for the new location.
“Our board, committee members, and staff have reviewed several locations over the last two years, and Mojo’s fits all the major needs as far as space, accessibility, and the most economical investment,” Easson added. “We will always love our first home, but now is the right time to move into our forever home.”
A not-for-profit organization, the Oklahoma WONDERtorium is recognized regionally as a cultural and educational institution serving children and families on-site and through outreach programs.
The museum’s exhibits and innovative educational programs emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark the inherent creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children. Exhibits explore science, math, creativity, history, culture, health & wellness, dramatic play and problem-solving. For more information about the WONDERtorium visit www.okwondertorium.org or call 405-533-3333.