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Funds will kick-off phase 2 of capital campaign for Science Center’s west wing improvements


(WEST PALM BEACH) -- Leadership for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium announced their receipt of a $500,000 cultural facilities grant from the State of Florida earlier this week. According to Science Center CEO, Lew Crampton, the grant will be used for much needed upgrades to the organization’s oldest building. In addition, the funds kick-off the Science Center’s Phase 2 of its capital campaign – with a total $2 million in anticipated improvements to its current “west wing.”


Crampton says that the $2 million in total “Phase 2” capital funds will be allocated as follows:

·         $1.5 million for Hall of Discovery which includes “Challenge the Brain” and “Sprouting Science,” a new early childhood learning station

·          $150,000 for new roof on the original building built in 1964

·         $150,000 for state-of-the-art Planetarium improvements

·         $75,000 for upgrades to the current theater to feature 3-D and improved sound and seating

·         $75,000 for outdoor science trail and exhibits

·         $50,000 for science lab upgrade


With a mission to “open every mind to science,” the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium unveiled its expanded facilities last summer and now features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, an 8,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall and an interactive Everglades exhibit.  


“The State’s cultural facilities grant will allow us to introduce even more audiences to hands-on science in a truly spectacular setting,” said Crampton. “It is especially significant that our legislators and the Governor’s office recognize the Science Center as our county’s headquarters for informal science education. We know that our area’s most lucrative future jobs are focused on science, technology, engineering and math, and we are betting that early exposure to science will get a kid excited about it as a career.”


It was only a year ago that the more than 50-year-old institution announced a name change from the South Florida Science Museum and opened its 6,000-square-foot expansion and renovated exhibit spaces – along with its first ever blockbuster exhibit, “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.”


According to Crampton, since that time overall attendance increased by 118 percent.  A total of 61,658 visitors came to the Science Center during the run of Titanic compared to 28,279 during the prior year period.  During high volume vacation periods, visitors from out-of-county zip codes exceeded 60 percent of total visitors.  Crampton says that Titanic proved to be a very popular draw with tourists, especially those from the northeast.


“Now is an exciting time for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium,” continued Crampton. “Last year’s expansion moved us from ‘good’ to ‘great’ and now the public continues to demand and deserve more. We know that our visitors absolutely love our aquarium and our recent Titanic exhibit drew record crowds through our doors. It’s time that we build on our own momentum of success and we tackle the much needed changes on our west side -- allowing us to offer a state-of-the-art experience throughout all of our spaces.”


Recently named the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ nonprofit of the year, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach.  To support the Science Center’s capital campaign efforts, please reach Marcy Hoffman, Director of Development, at (561) 370-7738 or, or visit the Science Center’s website at