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Shovels In Hand, Kids Break Ground On New Children's Museum

Children stood over a sandbox full of bright blue sand with plastic shovels, and after Mayor Julián Castro and onlookers counted down from five, the kids dug into the granules and lifted it into the air with their shovels.

The event marked the official groundbreaking of the new San Antonio Children’s Museum to be built at Broadway and Mulberry.

The 5.5 acre site will feature a parking lot with nearly 250 spaces, and a 30,000 square foot outdoor area for kids to play, learn and discover.

According to frequent visitors of the current museum, located on Houston Street downtown, parking here will allow families to access the museum with ease.

"When I had four young children, I'd drive down and get in the parking lot, and by the time one child tried to get run over by a car in the parking lot, and the other child was getting into the carrier, I had lost all my lovely thoughts of how fun this was going to be,” said Suzanne Goudge.

Goudge, holding her 14-month-old grandson James, is excited about the new facility. James already has a membership. Only this time, when Goudge brings him, she said she won’t have to hassle with limited parking in an inconvenient manner.

"This will be so much better," she said. "The parking is the premiere part of this move and it'll be accessible to all people in San Antonio as well as south Texas and the rest of the United States."

Board president Joan Wyatt said the new facility will display exhibits never seen before. She said a design company from New York is currently testing them at the museum's current location downtown.

Wyatt said she is also excited that the new space will double the number of visitors each year. CEO Vanessa Lacoss Hurd said 300,000 people will be able to visit.

She told a crowd of people who gathered for the groundbreaking that it’s another element of discovery for children to expand their horizons in math, science, literacy and beyond.

Wyatt reiterated the sentiment.

"It's a moment in San Antonio where SA2020 and the priorities of education and the early childhood years are really coalescing, and making our fundraising task really doable," she said.

Wyatt said 90 percent of fundraising for the $45.7 million project has been completed. She said plans to open fundraising to the public may get underway later this year, but corporate donors have been the major portion of fundraising so far.

The museum is expected to open in 2015.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.