The Children’s Museum of South Dakota has been referred to as a Jewel in the Crown for the state as it provides a wonderful reason to visit eastern South Dakota. Since opening in September 2010, the Museum has greeted close to 670,000 guests from every state and numerous countries all over the world.
While a frequent place to play and explore for residents nearby, it has become a destination location for those traveling the Midwest. In 2016, the Museum welcomed over 97,000 guests from Midwestern states alone.
“It’s not unusual to see people come and play at our museum who have never experienced our community before,” Executive Director Kate Treiber said. “In some ways, we are the welcoming committee for the area. We love to share with our guests the unique amenities our wonderful community offers, especially for those finding their way here for the first time.”
“It’s not unusual to see people come and play at our museum who have never experienced our community before,” Executive Director Kate Treiber said. “In some ways, we are the welcoming committee for the area.”
Fairly new to the museum world, word has nonetheless continued to spread of the innovative hands-on approach to playful learning the Museum offers. The ripple effect has likewise continued, as guests go out of their way to travel to the Museum. And while the Museum may be an initial draw, these guests explore the town, stay in hotels, buy food, gas up their cars, and visit other locations in Brookings…all creating a positive economic impact for the area.
The Museum works hand in hand with the tourism industry. South Dakota Department of Tourism campaigns has featured the Museum in signage, print and TV ads, and other promotions as they reach out to potential state visitors around the world. Travel writers, adventure bloggers, and international tour operators have passed through to take in the Museum and many aspects of the community surrounding it.
“If a visitor is coming to the Museum from some distance, they are likely taking in other parts of the town and region,” Treiber said. “Together with our partners in the tourism industry, we understand the importance of helping each other draw visitors to the area and that the payoff can be substantial.”
The Museum has received recognition as a ‘Must See Attraction’ from the Travel Channel, named as ‘Best of the Midwest’ by Midwest Living Magazine, received Governor’s Service Star Awards, named ‘Must See Museum’ by the Chicago Tribune, recognized as a top reviewed location from Yelp and Trip Advisor, and won multiple awards for its design elements. In 2016, it received the “Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award” from South Dakota Tourism for outstanding destination marketing as well as “Tourism Facility of the Year” from the Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau.