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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Flight’ goes; rocket launcher stays

The paper airplanes and helicopters have taken off, but the rockets are staying behind.

Visitors to Mobius Kids will see a few changes taking place over the next few weeks as the children’s museum shuffles a few exhibits and debuts a new one.

The traveling exhibit “Take Flight” has done just that after a four-month layover in Spokane. But Gage Stromberg, executive director of Mobius Kids, said the paper rocket launcher proved to be so popular that museum officials have made arrangements to purchase it and make it a permanent exhibit.

Up next: Two exhibits – Brain Matters and Brain Teasers – from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will join Mobius Kids on loan in mid-May and stick around through the summer, Stromberg said.

Until then, Stromberg said, exhibits such as the kid-size backhoe that went into storage when construction began on Cooper’s Corner, a safety gallery that opens Feb. 10, will fill the space set aside for the traveling exhibits.

About a year ago, Mobius Kids launched an $800,000 fund-raising campaign to support development of the children’s museum. Stromberg said they’ve raised all but about $150,000.

Little by little, Mobius has been adding bits and pieces. Signage that wasn’t there when it opened Labor Day weekend has been added. Some of the educational components of exhibits – the posters that pose questions for kids and adults to think about – are being installed.

“We really are exceedingly happy with the results,” Stromberg said. Between Labor Day and New Year’s Eve, more than 19,000 people went through Mobius. “That was well above what we guessed might happen.”

Daily averages for the number of visitors have increased steadily from 92 in September to 180 in December, he said. And on First Night, Mobius saw 2,200 people go through its doors, Stromberg said.

And though Mobius Kids may someday be a part of a larger science center on the north bank of the Spokane River, “we don’t want to be a mini science center,” Stromberg said. Mobius Kids officials are trying, however, to help build interest in the science center, which Stromberg said organizers are now “down to the nitty-gritty of what it’s going to look like,” and plans are to break ground in 2008 and open the following year.

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