CLEVELAND (March 24, 2023) – A new financial contribution from the Reinberger Foundation of Cleveland will help Great Lakes Science Center create and build a major new hands-on exhibits area dedicated to early childhood education.

The $300,000 grant will support creation of the early childhood exhibit area, designed to engage children ages 7 and younger and their caregivers in a play-based learning experience that fosters empathy and kindness alongside creativity and innovation. The new exhibit area will be about 5,000 square feet, on the Science Center’s second floor overlooking North Coast Harbor. 

The exhibition will immerse guests in playful learning experiences designed to help them develop and practice empathy and creativity while exploring everyday spaces such as a workshop, warehouse, delivery truck and residences. This project draws upon studies showing that engineering practices can be integrated into early childhood learning. The new exhibits will combine age-appropriate engineering experiences with activities that reinforce and build empathy. For example, children will create something that will help someone else. Exhibits will also build motor skills and engage children and their caregivers in immersive play. Special areas dedicated for infant guests and reading areas to promote STEM literacy round out the space.

“The Reinberger Foundation has nearly 30 years of history supporting Great Lakes Science Center in many of its major initiatives,” said Foundation President Karen Hooser. “The early childhood exhibition will provide the next generation of curious learners valuable space to safely explore.”

“The Science Center is creating a new, early childhood exhibition within our Science Phenomena gallery that engages children and their families at a whole new level,” said Science Center President & CEO Dr. Kirsten Ellenbogen. “Referencing the latest research on family learning and developmental psychology, as well as evaluating our existing early childhood exhibits, workshops, camps and outreach programs, has helped us develop this exhibition that brings together the best of practice and research. Our youngest guests will benefit from new experiences and scaffolded-challenges, and follow their own curiosity into the great world of STEM learning.”

(Editor’s note: Winter hours at the Science Center are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The Science Center will be open Monday, March 27, Monday, April 3 and Monday, April 8 for spring break, and closed Sunday, April 9 for Easter.)

About Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center, a top ten finisher in the 2023 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award for Best Science Museum, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022. The Science Center is home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center and makes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) come alive for more than 300,000 visitors a year through hundreds of hands-on exhibits, temporary exhibitions, the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, historic Steamship William G. Mather, daily science demonstrations, seasonal camps, and more. The Science Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution, is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Visit for more information.