Creative Discovery Museum welcomed its 5-millionth visitor on Monday. The 5-millionth visitor was a member of the Williams family from Signal Mountain.
To celebrate the 5-millionth visitor, CDM gave the family free admission to the museum, a year-long family membership, $50 gift certificate to the Museum, a VIP pass granting them access to more than 20 attractions in the Chattanooga area, and a voucher for a free one-night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn next to the museum.
The Williams family planned to make a visit to the pool today. But thanks to the threat of rain this afternoon and googling “family activities in Chattanooga,” Brandy and Dale ended up back at CDM with their daughters Lindsey, eight, and Brooklyn, two.
“We first visited when Lindsey was about two. I remember it taught her things in a fun way,” said Brandy. “She was learning while playing without even realizing it. That’s important to me. I knew coming here would be fun for both of our girls’ ages.”
CDM, rated one of the top children’s museums in the country, opened its doors on May 26, 1995. Since opening, it has become one of Chattanooga’s most dynamic cultural organizations and a center for early childhood, arts and science education. Its exhibits and programs engage the senses, inspire exploration and spark children’s passion for learning, said officials.
Of the five million people the museum has welcomed in the last 24 years, 641,000 have been students served through in-house education programs like the museum’s science theater and nearly 657,000 have participated in its free and reduced admissions programs.
However, its reach stretches far beyond the museum walls. Through CDM’s school outreach programs, the nonprofit has served an additional 437,319 students ranging from kindergartners to high schoolers throughout the greater Chattanooga area. Its distance learning programs reach schools across the United States and in Puerto Rico.
The museum played a role in the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga in the 1990s. It continues to be an economic driver, supporting $13.2 million in economic activity annually, contributing 162 jobs and serving as a major downtown attraction for both residents and tourists. Next year, CDM will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
“This is a very memorable day for CDM,” said Henry Schulson, executive director. “It’s an honor to be part of the lives of so many children, students and families. Thanks to the wonderful support we receive from our community, the museum will continue to provide experiences that inspire all children to explore, innovate, create and play for another five million visitors to come.”