Brookings Interpretive Center
Now Open!

Boys playing with blocks in the Nature in Your Neighborhood exhibitNature in Your Neighborhood
Through mid-September, 2015
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

We invite visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to experience Nature in Your Neighborhood, a fun, hands-on, interactive exhibit will enable visitors to make, build, experiment, imagine and play while learning about everyday nature in our backyards, balconies, streetscapes and schoolyards. Inspired and informed by the growing “Makers Movement” taking shape in museums and other informal learning destinations across the U.S. and around the world, Nature in Your Neighborhood will enable visitors to take on the role of producers rather than consumers of information and ideas. By making and experimenting during open-ended guided- and self-guided activities in the exhibit, visitors will be applying and blending concepts from the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and art while expressing creativity, inventiveness and innovation.


We're Taking Your Family-Favorite into the Future

Nestled between the Climatron® and the Shoenberg Temperate House, and adjacent to the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden, the Brookings Interpretive Center was originally constructed during the renovation of the Climatron in 1990 to house educational tropical rainforest displays. By the mid-2000s the exhibits were significantly outdated. All of the exhibits were removed to provide space for functions related to the 2006 Chihuly exhibit, followed by the 2007 Chapungu exhibit.

Girl playing with pretend produceBlossoming
Since 2008, the Brookings Center has hosted innovative, interactive staffed exhibits:

  • Exploring Trees Inside and Out
  • EarthWays: Living the Green Life
  • DinoQuest: A Tropical Trek Through Time
  • TREEmendous
  • Plants and People: China
  • Foodology
  • Nature in Your Neighborhood

During this time, over 500,000 visitors have explored, learned, relaxed, played, read and discovered something new here.

Artists rendering of PlantLab
Artist's rendering of PlantLab

Growing Forward
After more than 20 years, the center’s infrastructure and facilities need to be enhanced and improved. Starting fall 2015, the Brookings Interpretive Center will temporarily close for renovations and expansion. The new space will reopen spring 2016 with state-of-the-art exhibit space and a brand-new PlantLab. A new vestibule area, designed to make your experiences more comfortable and accessible, will feature barrier-free restrooms, a family restroom, vending machines and a Calming Corner that will serve as a place for families with children needing quite time and a comfortable room for nursing mothers.

Rendering of exhibit area
Artist's rendering of exhibit area


Be a Part of It!

As we embark on an extensive renovation of the Brookings Interpretive Center, we invite you to share your ideas and suggestions for the new space!

Thinking about your last visit to the Brookings Interpretive Center...