The Lynn Meadows Discovery Centre is located in Gulfport, Mississippi. The centre has activities for children to learn by interactive and entertaining exhibitions about the past and present of South Mississippi and to grow to become responsible global citizens.
The museum is the first children's museum in Mississippi and breaks traditional museum rules by allowing the children, who visit the centre to touch, talk and have fun while learning and is one of America's top 50 Children's Museums.
The museum received initial funding in 1991 from Gulfport Junior Auxiliary, allowing Roe Alman and Carole Lynne Meadows to fulfill their dream and opening a museum in May 1998. The museum is named after Carole Lynne Meadows daughter. The museum is located in the renovated Mississippi City Elementary School and is over 15,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space and six acres of outdoor space that includes the tree house village, a woodsy cabin located on the stream and meeting rooms that are available for workshops, camps and parties.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Ms Gulf Coast in 2005 the museum stood strongly among the old oaks but the surge from the storm resulted in the first floor flooding, destroying the exhibitions, art studio and the staff office. The pavilion was stripped to its shell, the gymnasium multi purpose space was flooded and the Education Building was destroyed.
In 2006 the main museum building was reopened after the exhibits were replaced and the office refurbished and repaired. A $3 million dollar budget has allowed for the Pavilion to be renovated with three multi purpose rooms, the Education Building demolished but a new WINGS performing arts and Educations Centre being opened and the gymnasium is being renovated into a performing arts centre for youths. WINGS will show performances by youths such as Grease, The Jungle Book and the LMDC Singers.
Exhibits that run at the museum include, What it is like to be me, where children will learn about differences and disabilities in people, a unique climbing structure the Super Colossal Climbing Structure, Mouth Power which is a travelling dental exhibit, The History Hotel which shows how hotels of the Mississippi were like in the 1890's, a grocery store and wetlands. Children are able to operate a crane, drag the gulf for shrimp, or load bananas on the 18 wheeler in `The Port'. And then they are able to head outside to play in the tree house village that was created for play and habitation and the Bear Creek woodsy cabin with a babbling brook.
The museum offers many after school classes, onsite programs and programs that are able to travel to schools. The WINGS Performing arts program travels to elementary and high schools and will perform shows for students. The centers 6ft inflatable health ambassador Stuffee makes visits to elementary schools along with art programs and an inflatable planetarium.
Along with providing interactive exhibits for children, the museum has the amenities to host parties and events on the grounds.