We’re opening doors for curious young minds in the New River Valley. Join us.



Meet the New River Valley’s future innovators, explorers, and problem solvers.

Billy visits the museum with his dad and younger brother.  Billy loves superheroes, Story Time with Joelle, and building (our Makedo! building set is a favorite).  Because of your gift, Billy will enjoy the benefits of transformative play that last a lifetime. 

“Because we homeschool, my daughter doesn’t have as many opportunities to socialize and make friends.  The Children’s Museum is so special to our family.  When we visit, we see her grow and thrive.  Thank you!

Bee anything you want.  A doctor.  An engineer.  A chef.  An artist.  A computer scientist.  Your gift empowers our community’s children in the most remarkable ways.   



We’re changing the way our community plays together.

Wonder Universe will be a dynamic learning environment that continuously challenges and redefines the boundaries of traditional museums, play-based learning, and builds on the strengths of children and families in the New River Valley.  Our new museum — nearly 15,000 square feet — has been designed to equip and empower guests to experience learning in novel ways, providing interactive exhibits, engaging staff that support caregivers in their chosen roles, and an environment that enhances the social, cognitive, and emotional development of all youth.  Your gift helps prepare children, their families, and the community to be school-ready and embrace a lifelong love of learning.

  Your gift of any size matters, so give the gift of a bright future today.

Children in our area are falling behind standards.  Over half of fourth graders in Virginia are not reading at grade level and almost two-thirds of sixth graders are not performing math at grade level.  Recent data suggests that more than 75% of three and four year olds in the New River Valley are not enrolled in any early childhood education program.  More than 6,100 children in the New River Valley live in poverty.  For these children, our museum is an essential resource for learning and development.

Play serves as medium for learning while reducing stress, enhancing brain structure, promoting executive function, improving social competence, and enhancing working memory and self-regulation. Research continually demonstrates the importance of playful learning.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported, “newer research has provided additional evidence of the critical importance of play in facilitating parent engagement; promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships; encouraging the development of numerous competencies, including executive functioning skills; and improving life course trajectories.”  For children in the New River Valley, access to intentionally unstructured, purposeful play is limited, especially for families with limited financial resources.

Moreover, investments in early childhood educational opportunities yield tremendous returns. According to the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Program, the return on investment for every $1 invested in early childhood education programs is as high as $4 – $9.

Investing in the Wonder Universe is an investment in children and the economic development of the New River Valley region.  Make a gift today and empower our community’s children in the most remarkable ways.  Give today to support operations and capital development as we work to bring this vision to life.