The happiest place in High Point is only 23 days away from its grand opening! We just couldn’t wait to see all of the incredible exhibits that the Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum has to offer, so we took a sneak peek behind the scenes as the museum team puts the finishing touches on the out-of-this-world space.
A lot has changed in the museum, the vision of Dr. Nido Qubein and Mrs. Mariana Qubein, since we last stepped inside the museum. (Read our article about the museum's mission and the visionary leadership that is making it possible!)
We learned a little more about the museum – like how it will be bringing everything from healthy lifestyle choices, to STEAM learning, to critical thinking and problem solving, to creativity and communication to the lives of our little ones starting this spring.
With five zones for learning and a staff of well-versed “Discovery Guides,” each aspect of the museum has been optimized for education and fun.
“The Discovery Guides are going to help our guests get the most out of the experience,” explains Katie Nance, Director of Education and Programming. “They’ll make sure the kids are having fun and that they’re engaged. They’ll engage with the grown-ups too, if they want to jump in, by helping them know how to engage.”
Because while this space may have been designed for kids, each exhibit will have grown ups and older kids excited to jump in and start learning too. And this community and family-centered design was intentional.
“When you take a child to the Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum... it’s for the whole family,” says Megan Ward, Executive Director of the museum. “It’s for parents and grandparents too. You get to let your guard down at a children’s museum.”
If you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to explore High Point’s newest attraction, soon-to-be one of the biggest children’s museums in North Carolina. So join us on a virtual walk through the museum, and prepare to have some seriously educational and fun-filled experiences all year long!
When you step into the museum, you are welcomed into the Gallery. The Gallery has everything from the solar system suspended above to the Courage Climber, to the trainset, to the Nations Table, with model airplanes from around the world donated by Ramsey Qubein.
“It’s an awe-inspiring entryway that just gets them excited for what’s to come!” says Katie.
Inside this mini movie theatre, there is plenty of room for moviegoers to enjoy a film on the big screen. With base shakers in the seats, the immersive theater features short films on a variety of topics for kids and parents to enjoy together.
“The cinema is set to show six different films that all correlate to different exhibits throughout the museum and that align with the major science strands that are part of the standard course of study for North Carolina,” explains Katie, noting that even the entertaining parts of the museum are geared towards educational outcomes.
High Point – scratch that, Kid’s Point! – is a miniature town modeled after our very own High Point. With walkable streets, a grocery store, a vet clinic, a dentist's office, and so much more, the town has something that all ages will enjoy. It also offers several locations that are especially unique to our city and state.
The Furniture Design studio is a one-of-a-kind space, pulling from our identity as the Home Furnishings Capital of the world. Kids can get design challenge cards and design their piece on tablet software, build a model, and explore a variety of textiles.
Other spots, like the WHPU-TV Studio allows little ones to produce, edit, and star in their own television broadcast. The Speed ‘n’ Shop gives a wink to our state sport, stock car racing, allowing the kids to actually time themselves to complete a “pit stop.”
The Hall of Mysteries
With more than 20 unique mysteries to solve and hundreds of clues throughout the exhibit, the Hall of Mysteries is full of twists, turns, and puzzles for kids (and grownups!) to solve together. Explore the antique toy room, play with light refraction in the Optic Attic, test the age of the sarcophagus in the Mayan Ruin Room, or decode secret messages in the Coding Cellar.
Each room is designed to help kids practice perseverance, critical thinking, problem solving, and even basic coding skills to cultivate their curiosity – all while bringing some fun surprises like secret passageways, messages from ghosts, and even a full-size Kodiak bear model!
Everyone loves water! And in the Water Works exhibit, kids can get a little splashy without getting soaked, all while learning about the engineering behind hydraulics. With multiple ball launches, boat racing, a water vortex, and more, Water Works is the perfect place for all ages to enjoy a little water play.
It looks like everything in this room grew... Or everyone inside shrunk! GiNormous, a room designed for little ones from ages four and under, features oversized “furniture” to play on and a variety of shadow puppets, soft toys, and more. It even features a replica of High Point’s beloved, “World’s Largest Chest of Drawers!”
“What’s unique about the Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum is that we serve babies up to tweens,” says Megan. Parents and grandparents with kids who have a wide age gap can still find something to engage all ages of kids at the museum, thanks to rooms like GiNormous.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Lab
Upstairs on the second floor of the museum is the exciting STEAM Lab. Here, kids will be able to participate in pop-up programs geared towards developing their STEAM skills now. There’s also a wide variety of free-play options, with materials to design their own aircrafts, a wall to build a marble roller coaster, an art studio, building blocks for all ages, and even mTiny robots (robots that kids can practice coding on!).
“In the STEAM Lab, kids can design, build, test, and re-design,” Katie explains. “They can learn how to make hypothesis and figure out what doesn’t work, what they can do to make it work, and tweak their designs.”
Mission control – this is High Point! Welcome to the Mars Academy, where kids can explore everything from aeronautics to sustainable energy sources, to engineering, to geology. The Mars Academy exhibit includes coding for your Mars rover, a place to harness energy through exercise, a microscope to explore Mars rocks, and even a video conferencing center where kids can actually communicate with other kids playing in different sections of Mission Control and the Mars Habitat.
Just like the STEAM Lab, Mars Academy has a variety of challenges to help children sharpen their thinking skills in the world of math and science – all while creating an immersive outer space experience.
“The museum is bringing STEAM learning, Mars exploration, and other fields kids might otherwise not be exposed to,” Megan notes. “And it’s right here in our hometown.”
The Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum even has attractions that will appeal to the “big kids,” in your family, like those younger tweens who still want to be part of the experience. With an aracade room that has stand-up video games, a Tik Tok challenge arena, a tablet bar, and more, even tweens can enjoy a day at the museum with their families and younger siblings.
Super U FIT Lab
Time to get physical! Through the stations within the Super U FIT Lab, kids can learn about their heart rate, their skeleton, their muscular system, and more. With a variety of physical challenges, like the obstacle course, the climbing rock wall, and the strength tester, kids can explore how different forms of exercise impact their bodies and systems. They can even bring their “receipt” scanned down in the Kid’s Point grocery up to the Super U FIT Lab to find out how the nutritional elements in their foods impact their bodies.
Outdoor Adventure Zone
Outside of the museum’s walls is still more fun to be had in the Outdoor Adventure Zone. Featuring the Dino Dig where kids can dig for fossils, an open-air amphitheater, a playground, and butterfly gardens, the Outdoor Adventure Zone extends all of the museum’s fun to the great outdoors.
Double Decker Carousel
Last by not least, the breathtaking double-decker carousel is sure to become a beloved part of all families’ lives in High Point as they visit the museum. With plenty of whimsical creatures (including a purple High Point University panther!) to choose from, kids, parents, and grandparents can enjoy a view of the museum and our city from its music-filled rides.
Discover our High Points,
The HPD Team