The Children’s Museum at Saratoga celebrated the grand opening of its new home in July.
The museum underwent 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, state officials said.
The project, 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,” Gov. Kathy 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.
“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,” Children’s Museum Executive Director Sarah Smith said. “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.”
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.”
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. It 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 museum, visit www.cmssny.org.
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.