The Children’s Museum of Tampa was founded in 1986 in response to the need for an informal,cultural learning environment dedicated to the needs of young children. The Museum opened its doors to the public as a small storefront in the Floriland Mall. Popularity grew as its exhibits focused on allowing children to experience role-play in the activities of everyday life in their community.
The Museum quickly outgrew its humble beginnings and in 1989, with support from the City of Tampa, the Children’s Museum of Tampa moved into a larger location, just north of Lowry Park. This site, originally built by the City to educate children and called Safety Village, provided a series of miniature buildings simulating a small town. Renovations included raising the roofs of the miniature buildings, installing exhibits that met the architectural theme of each building, providing an enhanced role-playing experience.
In January 1999, the new image was unveiled as Kid City: the Children’s Museum of Tampa. In September 2001, a new toddler exhibit opened, providing two new learning environments for its youngest visitors. Prior to closing its doors in December of 2008, Kid City, the Children’s Museum of Tampa reached over 20,000 children and families each year through exhibits, programs and services.
A long-range plan was completed in 2003 to establish goals for continued growth of the Museum,including acquisition of a new site, construction of new facilities, expanded programming, and fundraising to support its growth. In 2004, a feasibility study to launch a capital campaign was conducted by KETCHUM fundraising consultants and a capital campaign committee was formed to raise funds for a new facility. An exhibit master plan was developed based on input from a series of focus groups made up of diverse community participants, including community leaders, parents and children.
The City of Tampa provided the Museum a land lease in downtown Tampa at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on which to construct the facility. In October, 2007, the Museum was named the Glazer Children’s Museum in honor of the Glazer Family Foundation’s lead gift of $5 million.Construction of the building began in March 2009 and was completed in April 2010. The Museum opened its doors to the public on September 25, 2010.
Thank you to everyone involved in the long, prosperous, and ever growing history of the Glazer Children’s Museum.