City Takes Steps Toward Children’s Museum

Intended Site Near State and Montecito Streets

Meeting behind closed doors, the Santa Barbara City Council gave the green light to begin real estate negotiations with a non-profit hoping to start an interactive children’s museum on a vacant parcel of land near the intersection of State and Montecito streets across from the railroad depot. The land in question is currently owned by the city’s Redevelopment Agency and has been in the past been considered as a site for a surface parking lot. Children’s museum advocates have been hoping to secure a spot in Santa Barbara for the past eight years, and they’ve pledged to raise the money needed to build, equip, and operate the museum in exchange for a long-term ground lease. They argue that the interactive and fun nature of such museums creates a context in which “stealth learning” occurs. They estimate that the museum would need to attract 75,000 to 90,000 visitors a year to be viable. To achieve this, they’d market aggressively to school districts throughout the region.

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