New name, location for the Austin Children's Museum


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Posted on November 21, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 21 at 7:00 PM

AUSTIN -- It has a new location, a new name and a long history of serving Central Texas kids.

After closing its downtown location three months ago, the Austin Children's Museum is growing with Austin and moving to the east side.

You can't miss the big red building in the middle of the Mueller development. It's the new home of the Austin Children's Museum, now called the Thinkery.

“The Thinkery is a new name because we have such a new experience,"’ said spokeperson Misty Whited. “We've added jobs, we've worked with local businesses, and then we'll bring in families from all over because the region is growing and we needed to grow with it.”

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new space, which is filled with all new exhibits focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“That's kind of our mission, to equip and inspire creative problem solvers. There's a need for people, for engineers, for mathematicians,” Whited said.

She says planning for the new museum began six years ago, and it's always been a long term goal to leave the downtown location.

“We didn't own the parking there, and that was the number one issue. Trying to get downtown and then being able to pay for parking, never knowing what was going on with street closures,” Whited said.


The Thinkery's parking garage will be finished next week.

Once inside, kids and their parents will find all new exhibits, including a light lab with a giant Light Bright.

There's a room where you can build your own plane, then send it flying high using the power of a bowling ball and gravity.

There's even a place where little ones will find a wet and wild mix of water and music.

The Thinkery cost about $18 million and took a year to build.  For the first time the museum has an outdoor space.

“This is a custom built climber, one of a kind that children can come and take risks and test their abilities,” Whited said.


The museum's downtown home was 20,000 square feet. It's now doubled in size.

Whited says the move will allow them to continue to entertain children of all ages and grow with Austin.


The Thinkery opens to the public December 7th.