GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING OF CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AT SARATOGA SPA STATE PARK
16,000-Square-Foot Museum Offers Engaging Exhibits and Interactive Programming for Children of All Ages
Museum Breathes New Life into Historic Landmark with Modern Facility That Expands Options for Young Families in ‘Park of the Arts’
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the grand opening of the Children’s Museum at Saratoga following a $3.1 million renovation project to relocate the Museum to the historic Lincoln Bathhouse on Broadway in Saratoga Spa State Park. The fully accessible 16,000-square-foot facility is the first major public facing operation in the Lincoln Bathhouse since the 1990s. The project, which is supported by a $600,000 Empire State Development grant, as well as other public grants and private donations, joins a growing list of public-private partnerships in the park that make up the Park of the Arts initiative.
“The opening of the Children’s Museum adds another major attraction to our growing list of partners in the beautiful, natural setting of Saratoga Spa State Park,” Governor Hochul said. ” The Park of the Arts initiative will continue to define Saratoga Springs as a year-round destination for world class arts programming, and this project marks a major milestone in our efforts to restore and reactivate the National Historic Landmark structures throughout the park.”
Occupying three of the original bathing wings, the Children’s Museum features rebuilt and refurbished exhibits, plus a new slate of STEM exhibits where visitors can experiment and learn with hands-on activities. A mock grocery store includes a register with a fully functional scanner, while the fire station’s interactive screen lets guests extinguish a virtual fire. Children can pick vegetables at the farm exhibit, record a news segment at the museum’s news station, or scoop ice cream and learn how it’s made at the ice cream parlor. Built with universal accessibility in mind, the museum also features a calming room that provides quiet space to decompress with soothing tactile elements.
Children’s Museum Executive Director Sarah Smith said, “We are so thankful to the Governor, Empire State Development, as well as our other private and public supporters for all the hard work that has gone into this project. At the heart of our mission is creating a space that inspires curiosity, sparks imagination, and nurtures discovery. And we think this new space, with its ability to reach more children of all developmental levels, and their families, helps foster that goal. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to the Museum as they visit Saratoga this summer.“
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “I’m thrilled to welcome the Children’s Museum to the historic Lincoln Bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park. The Children’s Museum will bring new activity into the park and building on the array of partners at our ‘Park of the Arts’ that offers so many ways to relax, enjoy the outdoors, or dive into unique arts and cultural offering.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The Children’s Museum at Saratoga’s new location adds another unique attraction to the Saratoga Spa State Park that will welcome residents and visitors alike. Through the adaptive reuse of space within the historic Lincoln Bathhouse, the museum can embark on a new era of captivating wonder and enthusiasm for learning, and we’re proud to support this project.”
Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “The new Children’s Museum in the historic Lincoln Bathhouse at Saratoga Spa State Park offers families another great reason to explore the Capital Region during their next New York State getaway. From engaging museums and fascinating historic sites to outdoor adventures, residents and visitors alike can come be a part of it and find what they love all year round.”
Founded in 1990 by community parents and educators, The Children’s Museum at Saratoga is dedicated to creating an interactive community that inspires curiosity, sparks imagination and nurtures discovery. The Museum is committed to fostering active parent involvement in children’s learning, to serving as a resource for school districts in the area, and to ensuring that its programs and services are accessible to all children. The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology formally partnered with the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (formerly Rensselaer Tech Park) to help ensure the future of their mission and programming, and collectively represent 100 years of experience in providing innovative, hands-on learning to children throughout the Capital Region. To learn more about the Children’s Museum, visit www.cmssny.org.
State Senator Daphne Jordan said, “Repurposing the Lincoln Bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park to house the new Children’s Museum not only brings to life a historic building, but also provides a greatly expanded space in the museum for new interactive exhibits and more hands-on activities sure to delight children and their parents. This project provides visitors and Capital Region residents with one more enticing reason to come to the ‘Park of the Arts’ and Saratoga Springs.”
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “The Children’s Museum at Saratoga and the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology have collectively provided space for children to explore, learn, play and experience the world for more than 100 years. Both museums grew organically from modest beginnings and flourished because they responded to the enthusiastic participation of generations of children. Congratulations to the Museum and to the children, parents, and visitors of all ages who will benefit from the foresight and hard work of the board of directors, museum staff, community donors and volunteers, and state entities that brought this wonderful vision of a museum in the park into being.”
Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim said, “The Children’s Museum has for many years been one of our city’s major downtown attractions, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Now with this expansion into the beautiful State Park, the Children’s Museum can welcome even more visitors, educating a new generation in a fun and festive atmosphere.”
The Beaux Arts-Neoclassical style Lincoln Bathhouse, completed in 1930, is a key component of the distinctive architecture in the park, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Public bathing ceased to be offered at this State-run facility in the 1990s. While some of the structure’s 60,000 square feet were converted for State Courts and a headquarters for the regional Park Police, much of the building has awaited new use. The opening of the Children’s Museum marks the restoration of year-round public programming. The Lincoln Bathhouse also currently houses the Spa City Farmers’ Market on Sundays. The next phases of development will include full restoration of the building’s façade and the development of new office space for park administration and visitor services.
The public-private Park of the Arts campaign envisions Saratoga Spa State Park as a singular global destination for multi-disciplinary arts presentation, programming and learning through the adaptive reuse of National Historic Landmark structures, set in a spectacular 2400-acre natural setting. Through collaborations with cultural and educational organizations, recreational enterprises, and private businesses, New York State is creating an artistic and cultural tourism destination in a class of its own in one of New York State’s flagship parks.
Saratoga Spa State Park currently welcomes an estimated three million visitors each year. In addition to the nationally known Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the SPAC School of the Arts, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa, and the Spa City Farmer’s Market, Saratoga Spa State Park offers a multitude of recreational and cultural amenities including golf courses, clay tennis courts, a nature education center, the Spa Little Theater, cafes and restaurants, and miles of trails for walking, running and biking, all set within landscapes including National Historic Landmark architecture and 2,400 acres of varied natural habitats.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit https://www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.