The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) will be re-imagined and rebuilt, thanks to a $15 million matching grant from the Peery Foundation and $10 million in private donations from local donors. The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (Friends) is pleased to present the $25 million rebuild of the JMZ as a gift to the community.
Dave Peery, Managing Director of the Peery Foundation, believes that the JMZ has the ability to transform the lives of young children through high-quality and hands-on science instruction. He states: “The JMZ has a demonstrated history of teaching vital science education to generations of children, regardless of their economic background. Our family is excited to help make the new Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo a reality, and ensure it will continue to bring science alive for future generations in this community.”
The current building, built in 1941, is proving inadequate for the increasing role the JMZ plays in educating mid-pennisula children. The JMZ teaches over 19,000 children in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Mountain View, and hosts approximately 150,000 visits a year. The new Junior Museum & Zoo will include safer access and improved facilities for visitors, a more integrated entrance from Rinconada Park, and additional parking.
John Aikin, JMZ Executive Director, emphasizes: “It is important to us that we retain the intimate and child-like qualities of the current facility. We will add more interactive exhibits and habitats that promote questions in young children without removing the safe environment in which they can explore.”
The construction project, which will be managed by the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, is currently going through Palo Alto city review, including City Council boards, commissions and the general public. Final council sign off is expected this summer and groundbreaking is planned to take place in the spring of 2018. The new facility is scheduled to reopen in 2020. The current architectural designs and a project timeline can be found on the Friends’ website: https://friendsjmz.org/building-new-jmz/.
“Community treasures, such as the JMZ, which make Palo Alto such a wonderful place to live and visit, would not be possible without the generosity of our private donors. We want to take a moment to celebrate and thank our donors for making the new JMZ a reality,” says Aletha Coleman, the Friends’ Board President.