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Children's Museum

A rendering of the two-story, 7,000-square-foot "Heroes Hall" expansion at the Chidren's Museum of Illinois, which is scheduled for completion in the Summer of 2018.

The Children's Museum of Illinois is one of Decatur's great success stories.

The progress being made in the museum's expansion is both allowing the building to grow and the area to be beautified.

The foundation has been laid for "Heroes Hall," the 7,000-square-foot expansion funded by a $3 million grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The two-story exhibit will focus on law enforcement. The exhibit is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.

In addition, taking down trees on the site means the area now offers sweeping views of Lake Decatur.

The nonprofit Children's Museum of Illinois has been a Central Illinois attraction since it was founded in 1990 in the Macon County Conservation District's Education Center. It's a place where the young and young at heart can explore and learn in a hands-on fashion. A visit to the museum is fun, and that fun is doubled when it turns out to be sneakily educational as well.

There are many things happening in Decatur, so it's good to just pause for a second and reflect on a few positives. The changes in the Children's Museum of Illinois are a pleasure to see. Its neighbors at Scovill Zoo, marking its 50th year, will once again be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Scovill Sculpture Park is featured on a winding pathway between the museum and the zoo.

Many of the improvements have been funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and as a community we remain grateful for the foundation's investment in us and in our quality of life. As our community makes efforts toward revitalization and attracting younger people, there is an ongoing need for things safe, fun and (as a bonus) educational.

Focusing on negatives can be easy, because the negatives are things that are not supposed to happen, and they get our attention because they are so dramatically out of what we'd prefer to be the ordinary. But every once in a while, it's beneficial to slow down and gander at the successes.

The area that houses the Children's Museum of Illinois, Scovill Zoo and Scovill Sculpture Park is one of Decatur's great and quiet successes. We wish them much more of the same, and appreciate the steps they continue to take.


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