News & Media
COYOTE POINT PARK, SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA – July 5, 2021 – - CuriOdyssey announced today that construction is beginning for the first phase of a new campus to create a world-class center for early science learning in San Mateo County. The first phase includes “Whooosh!,” a Magical Bridge-inspired playground, and the Marina Gallery, which will feature a new exhibit gallery, two new learning labs, and a sweeping view of the bay. The new campus will re-imagine the county treasure that is CuriOdyssey for the needs of the 21st century.
CuriOdyssey has undertaken an ambitious capital campaign to fund the new campus. Loyal supporters of CuriOdyssey, early science advocates in our technology and biotech hubs, and San Mateo County have all stepped forward to contribute to the first steps in implementing new $65 million plan.
Board chair Laurel Miranda stated, “CuriOdyssey wants to address the country’s pressing need for science-literate adults by engaging kids in science when they are young, so they choose science classes in school instead of opting out as soon as they can. We will champion early science learning in the Bay Area with a new campus that better supports children understanding science concepts through hands-on, playful experiences. The new campus will also add more capacity and better showcase our beautiful Coyote Point setting.”
Phase One: New campus launch
Whooosh! A Physics-in-Action Playground
To launch phase one, CuriOdyssey is building a $2 million Physics-in-Action playground, Whooosh! Designed by Magical Bridge Foundation, the playground incorporates universal design principles to ensure inclusive fun for all abilities and ages. It also demonstrates the forces of physics in action (gravity, friction and conservation of angular momentum). The playground is expected to open in early fall, 2021.
In 2022, the museum will break ground on the new 3,000 square foot building. The light-filled gallery will feature approximately 1,200 square feet of exhibit space (a 30% increase over existing exhibit areas), two state-of-the-art learning labs, and an outdoor covered terrace to take advantage of the waterside location and bay views. CuriOdyssey will add new exhibits about concepts such as gravity, light, perception, and lift.
Phase Two: New campus extension
The new campus includes plans for six additional structures, each designed to solve specific needs. Phase Two will include a new otter exhibit to give the best of care to Gunner, the zoo’s rescued river otter, and create a space for more river otters in need of safe shelter. It also includes new facilities for the wildlife keepers and the zoo’s education animals, administrative offices to support the planned increase in local, regional and national programs, additional exhibit space to accommodate market demand and more education labs to reach even more children. Fundraising for the next phase is already underway.
“The new campus will better support our mission ‘to inspire a love for science and curiosity about the world to create a brighter future’, with a particular focus on providing more high-quality early science learning for underrepresented children,” said Executive Director Aragon Burlingham. “We believe that the natural world is the gateway to science, and we will be able to reach thousands more children and help them learn to think like scientists, a critical skill they can use throughout their lives.”
Architects and Project Management Team
CuriOdyssey's board selected the San Francisco architectural firm, WRNS, to design the project. WRNS was named the Top Firm in Architect Magazine’s 2018 Architect 50. Sares Regis Group of Northern California, a Bay Area commercial real estate development, project management, investment, and property management firm, leads the effort to implement the new campus and is providing pro-bono project management services to manage the playground project from concept to completion. Whiting-Turner provides construction management, general contracting, design-build and integrated project delivery services on projects large and small for a diverse group of customers. Its employees and trade partners are volunteering their time and donating materials for the creation of the Whooosh! playground, ensuring that the play area will open in time for the fall.
Capital Campaign Supporters
Major community donors include Connie and Robert Lurie, Christopher Redlich and Susie Boeing, Greene Family, Cathy and Blake Krikorian, Jennifer and Owen Van Natta, Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson, and Ann and John Doerr. Lead local foundations contributing include TomKat Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Sunlight Giving, William K. Bowes Foundation, Xu Family Charitable Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Sand Hill Foundation, Atkinson Foundation, Eucalyptus Foundation, and Sakana Foundation.
Magical Bridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designing and building playgrounds for children and adults of all ages, abilities, and sizes. In short, we welcome everyone, at every stage of life. Redefining inclusive playgrounds and parks through truly innovative design, Magical Bridge Playgrounds far exceed industry standards as we remove physical and social barriers in today’s traditional playgrounds to create welcoming spaces for all ages, abilities, and sizes. Through our advocacy and programs both on and off the playground, we promote kindness and ignite vital intergenerational play to build more inclusive communities. Magical Bridge Foundation is currently working on public parks, schools, and museum projects throughout the Bay Area and worldwide.
Founded in 1953 as a junior museum, the museum was rebranded in 2011 as CuriOdyssey, catalyzing growth in audiences, educational programs and exhibits. During the past ten years, CuriOdyssey's annual average attendance grew from just under 70,000 to approximately 200,000 annually, and the exhibit collection has more than doubled to 48 works. Educational programs (including public school field trips and free programming for underserved schools and groups) now serve thousands of children annually. CuriOdyssey developed one of the most sought after science camp programs for young children in the community. With the financial support of Gilead Sciences, the museum is piloting a new program created to connect a CuriOdyssey trained team of educators, mentors, caregivers and community partners to support youth from underrepresented communities and empower them to pursue opportunities to engage in STEM learning. Long a much-loved destination for families in the Bay Area, CuriOdyssey is increasingly known as a champion for a way of learning that engages children in science.
CuriOdyssey’s mission is to inspire a love for science and curiosity about the world to create a brighter future. It is located at Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo.