Children from across the Eastside clamoured to play with the toys and interactive exhibits at the new KidsQuest Children’s Museum location on 108th Avenue Northeast when it opened on Jan. 31.
The new facility includes the a toddler splash zone, an “on the go” gallery with a big-rig semi truck cab, a stage, a reading nook, an oversize train table, an art studio with a kiln, a quiet nursing area and the “Bellevue Mercantile” reflecting historic Bellevue with an ice cream parlor and a cow wash.
“It’s unbelievable. My dream come true. I have such an amazing team that has worked so hard and I’m so proud of what we’ve done,” KidsQuest President Putter Bert said at the opening.
KidsQuest first opened in Factoria in 2005. They began searching for a new location several years ago to accommodate their growing attendance.
They eventually purchased the former Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art. Portions of the Whyel doll collection are being used in a rotating KidsQuest exhibit.
The Bellevue City Council allocated $2 million toward the museum in 2015, King County Council and 4Culture contributed another $1 million toward the museum. The museum also raised more than $4 million through staff, board members and public and private pledges. They had an initial projected fundraising goal of $12.7 million.