Union Station’s Science Center rebounding

File photo of Kansas City, Mo. skyline (KSNT Photo/Brian Dulle)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Science City at Kansas City’s Union Station is rebounding from years of stagnant attendance, thanks to new exhibits and attractions and an increase in donations.

The latest good news came Wednesday, with the opening of two new exhibits costing more than $1 million that resulted from a school science competition.

More than half of Science City has been overhauled in recent years and it appears to be paying off, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/166psLN ). Attendance at Science City increased 7 percent in 2013 and has grown by double digits this year, while revenues increased 17 percent in 2013, making the science center financially self-sustaining, Union Station CEO George Guastello said.

The Science City improvement was sparked by more than $5 million in donations from the Burns & McDonnell Foundation and in-kind services from the company, which is working to encourage young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

“I know this sounds grandiose, but if America is going to maintain its economic and scientific edge, that has to begin by creating young and new scientists,” said Greg Graves, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “If science doesn’t stay cool, it’s only a matter of time before we lose that advantage.”

Union Station is seeking other private partners and is about $2 million away from a $9 million fundraising goal for improvements such as a new entrance and an entrepreneurial conference center.

The exhibits that opened Wednesday grew out of the second Battle of the Brains competition among about 3,500 students from 193 schools.

The larger one, called “Every Last Drop,” was inspired by a winning entry from Olathe North High School. It examines the properties of water, the interaction between water and life, how water is used and water scarcity. The second exhibit,”Genetics: Unlock the Code,” was inspired by a winning entry from Leawood Elementary School and examines the similarities and differences among people caused by variations in DNA.

 

 

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