Discovery Center breaks attendance records

ROCKFORD – The Discovery Center Museum announced Wednesday that 2016 was a record year for public attendance at the museum.

Discovery Center welcomed more than 124,000 visitors through its doors in 2016, a 6 percent increase over 2015’s record numbers according to the museum. A release said the record number does not include school groups visiting on field trips or outreach.

In 2016, only 56 percent of Discovery Center’s visitors came from from Winnebago and Boone counties. The museum noted particular growth from Wisconsin and the Chicago suburbs, though Discovery Center says visitors came from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.

In addition to the record-high public attendance, the museum welcomed more than 22,000 people on field trips and took outreach programs to an added 66,000 people.

“We are extremely proud of our museum,” said Mike Rathbun, the museum’s associate director. “Our dedicated staff work very hard to provide quality exhibits and programs to children and families, whether they visit our museum or enjoy one of our outreach programs.”

In 2002, Child magazine ranked Discovery Center fourth in the first-ever survey to identify the 10 best children’s museums in the nation. In February of 2014, Discovery Center earned fifth place in the USA Today/ Readers’ Choice contest for “Best Museum for Families” and was included in a list of “Nation’s Best Children’s Museums” in Trip Advisor awarded a “Certificate of Excellence” to Discovery Center in 2015 and 2016.

–Staff Report

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