Heart of the High Plains: Don Harrington Discovery Center

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Don Harrington Discovery Center is known for its fun educational-filled environment that provides kids of all ages an opportunity to learn in a unique way.

“It’s so much more important now more than ever that we are there for children and their families,” said Wendy Taylor, Don Harrington Discovery Center Executive Director.

That’s what Taylor says the Discovery Center provides for families during the pandemic.

“What we do is critical to education. The schools are doing an amazing job obviously of educating our children but what happens when kids come here and when families come here, it’s learning through play. It’s a fun experience. I like to call it covert learning so that they don’t even know that they’re learning,” said Taylor.

But Taylor does admit the pandemic has forced them to change up how they deliver that covert learning.

“Obviously we’re cleaning more than we typically do. We’re staffed up in that way. A lot of our programs have been put on pause, particularly those with the schools but we’re working on ways that we can pivot and still work with them. So we’re developing new programs. Virtual labs are something that we’re in the process of developing right now,” said Taylor.

The Discovery Center is filled with all sorts of exhibits, a planetarium and an outdoor science park.

So what’s Taylor’s favorite part?

“The dinosaurs and it’s funny that I say that because that’s the standard answer,” said Taylor.

But it has an even bigger meaning for Taylor.

“I have a three-year old who is actually three and a half and watching him engage with this place, is just very special. It gives a lot of meaning to the work that I’m doing. That’s one of my favorite things too is watching the impact that it has on his life because I know that’s something that kids all over the place are experiencing but it really hits home when I see my own child,” said Taylor.

They’re hoping to spread that sense of wonder to the community even during these tough times.

“Any sense of normalcy has been robbed from most children and most families. We all have our stories of how this pandemic has impacted us and to provide that sense of normalcy and that sense of fun and social interaction is something that is critical at this time, not everyone is able to do that,” said Taylor.

To learn more about the Don Harrington Discovery Center, click here.

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