Exploration Place: $1.5 million loss in revenue due to COVID-19

Rodney Price
September 02, 2020 - 12:38 pm
Exploration Place in downtown Wichita, Kansas.


The President and CEO of Exploration Place discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the facility during the Sedgwick County Commission meeting Wednesday.

Adam Smith said the science and discovery center in downtown Wichita closed for 106 days, creating a shortfall of over 100 thousand visitors.  Attendance figures shows this past July had just 20 percent of the visitors compared to July 2019 and August was 28 percent compared to a year ago.

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As a result, Exploration Place has a revenue shortfall of $1.5 million.

During the lock down, staff created over 200 pieces of online content for distance learning, which reached a whole new audience. Smith said they received high praise from parents and a 4.71 out of 5 rating from those surveyed online. He says they will be creating more distance learning content for Wichita  Public Schools. 

Exploration Place is back open at 25 percent capacity. Visitors must use hand sanitizer and have a temperature check before entering. The facility is cleaned multiple times daily.

While the center was closed, staff moved the ticket counter to a different area in the lobby. They say that along with other changes have brought more visitors to the gift shop.
The facility is celebrating their 20th anniversary and are making plans for their 20 acre riverfront site.

In other county news, the commission approved $149 thousand to purchase a full body scanner for the Sedgwick County Jail. This scanner will help limit contact searches that staff must make for visitors and will stop contraband coming into the facility.

The county says they have spent $10.2 million of the roughly $93 million in CARES Act funding.

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