JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi Children's Museum opened its doors to a number of invited guests for a special "unwrapping" ceremony Thursday morning.
First Lady Marsha Barbour officially "unwrapped" the museum after the crowd took part in an outdoor dedication ceremony.
Some lucky fifth graders were the first group of kids to explore the brand-new museum.
"This is the best thing any kid could enjoy," said fifth-grader Mary Ellen Kirby. "I would come here every day if I could. 'Between the Lions,' the stomach intestines -- it's like a kid's in his own little world. You can do anything here."
Gregory Vance added, "It has a lot of cool contraptions that you can do -- like you can use the crane to pick up some stuff, and it just teaches you a lot about Mississippi."
The museum is colorful, bright and full of interactive exhibits and designs. From the very start, you'll notice not too much is ordinary here. There are benches to sit on that light up like a lightning bolt when touched.
"We wanted to create a piece of interactive design that would be a piece children and adults could experience and have a playful kind of aspect, but would also be a serious piece of design," said designer Erin Hayne.
The centerpiece of the museum is a 5,000 square foot climbing map of the state of Mississippi.
"We are so excited about this map because we think that children from all around our state and our region will learn more about where they live," said Susan Garrard, the museum's executive director.
While the museum is full of neat and fun activities, it's also a place for kids to learn. The "Literacy Gallery" is one of several fun exhibits geared towards teaching kids and allowing them to have fun at the same time.
"Our children in Mississippi rank the lowest in our nation, and we hope this exhibit will be inspirational and really focus on children's literacy issues," Garrard added.
The museum will host a family event to unveil the facility to the public on Saturday. It starts at 10:00 a.m. Admission is $10 per person. Children under 1 year old get in free. Visitors will be offered tours of the Mississippi Children's Museum, and they will also have access to the Museum of Natural Science and various other attractions set up for the occasion.
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