Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum to triple in size, move into GMP’s Energy Innovation Center

A young museum goer enjoys the turtle tank. Photo provided

RUTLAND –  The popular Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum in downtown Rutland is expanding operations and moving into Green Mountain Power’s (GMP’s) Energy Innovation Center (EIC) on Merchants Row, tripling the size of the museum to 9,000 square feet and creating more opportunities to support the education and development of children.
With its dynamic, colorful, and interactive exhibits, Wonderfeet fosters creativity and exploration, inspiring creativity, and igniting imaginations through the power of play for both kids and parents.
“This is a thrilling moment as we announce the expansion to become Wonderfeet at GMP’s Energy Innovation Center, growing our mission to care for kids and families and transform lives,” said Wonderfeet Executive Director Danielle Monroe. “The science of kids’ brain development clearly shows that reaching kids at a young age is imperative, and with this new space we can do so much more. We are so grateful to our community, which has embraced us in this transformational work.”
Wonderfeet started in 2010, as part of the grassroots Creative Economy planning session, and now attracts about 20,000 people to downtown every year. The new space will expand the positive impact on the community and kids, becoming a statewide destination.
“This is wonderful news, and shows the continued revitalization of downtown Rutland,” said Rutland Mayor David Allaire. “Already Wonderfeet attracts so many visitors to our region, and this expansion is an important part of the downtown’s growth. Wonderfeet will offer attractions and educational opportunities, allowing more people to see why downtown Rutland has so much to offer from shopping, to meals, to a top-notch kids’ museum.”
GMP’s EIC has served as a key part of GMP’s energy innovation work, showcasing interactive displays, and collaborating with many partners on education opportunities, including Wonderfeet who has used the space for camps and programs. Having Wonderfeet fully expand into this location builds on the success of the EIC as a community resource.
“We are so excited to support Wonderfeet’s growth and their mission to help kids and families,” said GMP President and CEO Mari McClure. “GMP is committed to contributing to the vibrancy of downtown Rutland and the community, and this announcement shows a long-term commitment to the health, wellbeing, and development of Vermont’s youth, who are critical to the future.”
Wonderfeet helps build healthy families by also providing access to the museum with a vast array of community partners, for programs including literacy events, postpartum programs through Rutland Regional Medical Center, and hosting free visits for pediatric PT/OT, speech pathologists, and mental health professionals, and multiple events with local schools. The expanded space will connect more parents to each other through peer support networks, helping parents understand brain development in kids through play, and creating even more educational support to every school in Rutland County, and schools across the state.
“Magic happens as soon as my little one walks through the door at Wonderfeet,” said Heather Dazzi of Rutland City. “You can see the sparkle in her eyes as she moves from one activity to the next, makes new friends and uses her imagination. Wonderfeet has become an integral part of our community – it’s so much more than a local business to us, it feels like home, and we are so excited for the new space and all the new opportunities to spark more joy and creativity.”
Wonderfeet remains open at its current space until the move to the EIC at the end of 2022, with a grand reopening planned for early 2023. All of this is possible thanks to widespread community and business support, including key partners like Casella.
“When my son Otis and I moved to Rutland, the staff at Wonderfeet immediately made us both feel so welcomed and held,” said Helen Taylor, who lives in Rutland City.  “I trust them implicitly and am so grateful that Wonderfeet exists in our community.  It provided an immediate rooting that I honestly cannot imagine Rutland, or our lives, without.”
Wonderfeet is accessible to everyone with affordable admissions and services always available. This includes reduced admissions and memberships through the Access Program and Free Family passes available through public libraries in 21 towns. 
For more information on Wonderfeet, visit www.wonderfeetkidsmuseum.org.

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