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The Exploration Place opening location in mall

Pop-up location to feature children's programs, Christmas display, exhibits and gift shop

The Exploration Place is opening a pop-up location in Pine Centre Mall which will feature children’s programming, a Christmas display, gift shop and more.

The museum and science centre has been closed since March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has remained closed during a major renovation of its gallery. 

“I think it’s a great chance for The Exploration Place to have a physical presence again,” museum board chairperson Peter James said. “It’s a place people can come and catch up with The Exploration Place again.”

The pop-up location opens Saturday and will remain open during mall hours until mid-April, The Exploration Place CEO Tracey Calogheros said.

The Exploration Place was initially supposed to reopen on Jan. 15 next year, but supply chain issues and a shortage of skilled trades has delayed the reopening until April or May, Calogheros said.

Parents will be able to register their school-age children online to take part in a 30-minute program at the pop-up location using KEVA building blocks. That program is expected to start in December.

The pop-up location includes a Christmas display featuring a fully-functional replica of Champion, the Northern Hardware horse ride, and The Exploration Place’s Heritage Tree. The Heritage Tree houses a collection of community memories symbolic of the city.

Families are welcome to come take photos in front of the Christmas display by donation, Calogheros said. 

In January the pop-up location will be home to the Trailblazing: Women in Canada since 1867 exhibit. The exhibit, from the Waterloo Regional Museum, honours the role women have played in Canada since confederation.

 “Unfortunately, that exhibit is now trapped in Vancouver,” Calogheros said.

Because of the nature of the exhibit it can’t be shipped across the U.S. border, so won’t arrive until transportation networks to the Lower Mainland have reopened, she said.

Pine Centre Mall has partnered with the museum and donated the use of the space.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with The Exploration Place to help bring their valuable and exciting family experiences to our community once again,” Pine Centre marketing manager Jessica Brown said in a press release. “We look forward to seeing everyone partake in The Exploration Place’s incredible exhibits and experiences.”