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Explorations V Children’s Museum reveals plans for new facility

Explorations V Children's Museum

On Saturday night Explorations V Children’s Museum revealed the exciting news that the Children’s Museum has been named the anchor institution at Bonnet Springs Park. This means Explorations V will be moving and we will have a brand new children’s museum for families in Lakeland and Polk County in the next 2-3 years!

Bonnet Springs Park is a new development on 180 acres of land located along Kathleen Road and George Jenkins Blvd, near Downtown Lakeland and the RP Funding Center.

About Bonnet Springs Park:

Picture a place, close to downtown Lakeland, yet a place where mother nature’s healing powers are revealed through magnificent giant oak trees and a clear gurgling stream that rises out of the earth and flows to Lake Bonnet below. Picture a place where people of all ages and abilities find art, recreation, incredible flora and fauna, blended in a peaceful and restful setting within walking distance of downtown Lakeland. This very special place will provide social and economic benefits, provide a blended urban/natural park, and make the quality of life for future generations of Lakelanders better.

Great cities have great parks! 

Why this partnership was created:

The creation of Bonnet Springs Park is being spearheaded by retired director of City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation, Bill Tinsley, long-time real estate developer, David Bunch, and Board President, Barney Barnett.  The renderings for  the Park have always included an anchor institution with the intent to blend a cultural institution with expansive, high-quality outdoor space.  In late Summer 2017, Bonnet Springs representatives started considering a short list of potential organizations to fill that role.  It was quickly determined that Explorations V was not only ready for a change this size but also had the ability to make it happen!

Kerry Falwell was hired in 2017 as the new Executive Director of Explorations V Children’s Museum. Kerry came from Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa where she had worked in a variety of positions since the museum was only 6 months old. On a recent tour of Explorations V with Kerry I was excited to see the many positive changes she has already implemented in the museum. After talking with her I am confident that Kerry and the entire Explorations V Leadership Team are bursting with innovative ideas for hands-on children’s play, creativity, exploration, and new opportunities for families in our community.

I can’t imagine a more natural partnership than Bonnet Springs and Explorations V.  The “V” or five in our name stands for the five senses.  Our founding families wanted to create a space for children to learn through their five senses.  Being in a downtown building with limited access to the outdoors and nature learning has been a barrier to fully living up to that vision. This move will truly honor our commitment to sensory learning,” says Falwell.

What happens now?

The size and scope of the new Explorations V facility will be part of the Park’s overall master plan which is currently in the design phase. We will be keeping tabs on the plans and can’t wait to share more information with Lakeland Mom readers! 

Bonnet Springs Park is scheduled to open in late 2021.

Explorations V Children’s Museum will continue to operate the existing Kentucky Ave. location in Downtown Lakeland for at least the next three years. If you’re excited about the new museum, show your support by visiting the existing museum and purchasing an Annual Membership. Fundraising is still required to make the new facility a reality!

More information on Explorations V Children’s Museum can be found at explorationsv.com.

More information on Bonnet Springs Park can be found at bonnetspringspark.com. Interested in being involved? Learn how you can join Friends of Bonnet Springs Park!

Explorations V Announcement Video

The 3.5 minute video below made me cry – I am so excited about new opportunities coming to our community that will make Lakeland and even greater place to live, work, and play. Trust me and take a few minutes to watch and learn more about the vision for Bonnet Springs Park and Explorations Children’s Museum.