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Science City Earns Worldwide Recognition for Visitor Experience

September 18, 2015

New Ideas and Creativity Earn Science City
Worldwide Recognition for Visitor Experience

Kansas City’s Science Center awarded prestigious “EDGIE” Award by international panel.

KANSAS CITY, MO – September 18, 2015 The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the non-profit organization of science centers and museums representing 650 members in 50 countries, announced earlier today that Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City at Union Station has been awarded its prestigious Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge “EDGIE” Award for Visitor Experience in 2015. Only two such awards were given worldwide for this year.

A 10-member jury of professionals in the science center field and representing a broad spectrum of ASTC's worldwide membership, made their determination based on a number of criteria including application of new ideas and promising practices, creativity and extraordinary performance, experiential learning, and forward-looking leadership.

Previous Visitor Experience winners include:

  • Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago, IL
  • Heureka, The Finnish Science Center – Vantaa, Finland
  • Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Center – Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Amazement Square – Lynchburg, VA
  • Scitech – Perth, Australia
  • The Pacific Science Center – Seattle, WA

Three years into a long-term strategy -- deliberately crafted to create a world-class destination -- Science City has reimagined and transformed more than 50% of its space. Closely aligning with regional education priorities and partnering with leading local business and institutions the Science Center has received substantial community recognition. Significant attendance and revenue growth, increased annual membership and recognition as a regional, top-tier destination for children, families, school groups, and the fast-growing Maker community, have all contributed to this success.

“At a macro level, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education is an important local, national and international theme,” Bob Regnier, Union Station Board Chairman said. “It drives not only the focus of Kansas City’s Science Center, it is translating into a larger and larger share of our local economy. A vibrant Science City delivers tremendous value to our entire community.”

One prime example of robust programming that promotes experiential learning and community involvement is the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition. Open to local elementary and secondary schools, Battle of the Brains challenges science-minded students to inspire and design new interactive exhibits and experiences for Science City guests.

“Science City – as recognized by ASTC and the EDGIE Award – embraces our mission with a sense of local, national and global purpose,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO said. “Our Visitor Experience is now recognized as one of the best in world. This award and recognition puts Kansas City’s Science Center on the world stage and among the most celebrated institutions of our kind.”

Science City opened in November of 1999 as an integral part of the massive Union Station renovation. Kansas City wanted a world-class, hands-on science center and the realization of Science City drew immediate crowds. Over 3 million guests have enjoyed the center in the last 15 years. A professional staff of educators, exhibit specialists and volunteers is charged to keep the Science City experience fresh and focused on high-value content. In the 80,000+ square foot facility, that means constant attention to every aspect of guest experience.

“Our entire team is thrilled to have earned this Visitor Experience honor,” Jerry Baber, Union Station COO said. “It’s a validation of the path we have set, and we have much more in store to further evolve Science City as an institutional leader and guest favorite.”

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Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 100-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s Science Center; the popular Model Railroad Experience; the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility regularly hosts community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit for details. Also, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Union Station Kansas City
Where KC Connects, Creates, Discovers & Celebrates


Words of Support and Testimony for Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City

“Science City is without a doubt the primary destination for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the Kansas City metro area. The improvements Science City has made over the years are pretty amazing. It has become a “must-see” for families visiting the Kansas City area, an amazing educational resource for local students and a source of pride for the local community.”
– Dave Borchardt, community investment manager, Time Warner Cable

“At Burns & McDonnell, we have dedicated substantial talent and treasure to help Science City pursue its ongoing mission to be the place where young people from the region come to enjoy learning about science. We believe that helping Science City be an amazing place to visit and enjoy science will encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields. And, as a growing business recruiting STEM talent, we believe our strategic partnership with Science City will help nurture the next generation of engineers, architects, scientists and designers.”
– Julee Koncak, director, Burns & McDonnell Foundation

“Science City is now an integral part of this area’s landscape. It’s one of the best reasons to visit our city and support our local economy. Science City is my first recommendation as a place not to be missed in Kansas City!”
— LeAnn Smith, executive director, Science Pioneers, Kansas City, Missouri


Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (Small Institution)

Awarded to Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City, Missouri, for its successful transformation in recent years. By focusing on regional educational priorities and partnering with local businesses, the science center has transformed more than 50% of its space over the past three years. Community validation has come in the forms of increased revenue, attendance, reputation, and visitor satisfaction. One prime example of programming that promotes experiential learning and community investment is the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains. This competition, open to local elementary and secondary schools, challenges all students to design and inspire new exhibits and experiences for the science center. The jury found how Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City changed its perception in the community and developed a model of long-term success to be inspirational to other institutions.

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September 18, 2015


Michael Tritt, Tritt, [email protected], 816.460.2278
Nancy Besa, Besa, [email protected], 816.674.4775