SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Big plans are in store for the future of the Washington Pavilion. Back in July, the Pavilion received a $1.2 million donation — its largest single donation in its history. That donation will be used in the Kirby Science Discovery Center.

Inside the Washington Pavilion, you’ll find hundreds of interactive exhibits in the Kirby Science Discovery Center.

8-year-old Isabelle Seaquist is starting her morning off by taking a trip into space.

“We’ve been launching that thing by pushing a button, that pressures water in it, and then you push the next button and the water pushes it up into the air,” 8 years old, Isabelle Seaquist said.

And she’s looking forward to learning even more.

“I was looking forward to seeing some robotics and robots,” Seaquist said.

Brandon Hanson is the director of museums. He says this space has been pretty popular.

In fact, last year they broke an attendance record.

“We saw 115,000 people that came through our museums, and that’s tremendous, that’s a huge amount of people, of course, we want to see 300,000, 400,000 people in the space because that’s why we exist,” director of museums, Brandon Hanson said.

Hanson says including hands-on, interactive exhibits is key to keeping the space busy.

“If you came to the pavilion, 6, 7, years ago, you would have seen spot-lit exhibits, very dark environment, more looking than touching and playing, we didn’t have a lot of people coming to the pavilion at that time, and as soon as we made that switch and kind of looked to the Disney or other museums where they’re shifting into this kinesthetic learning environment, all of their attendance goes up like crazy because the kids get to be in the driver’s seat,” Hanson said.

There are over 100 interactive exhibits spread across three floors. Hanson says one of the most popular is the dinosaurs.

“They love it, it’s this fantasy and mystery and history all rolled into one, do dinosaurs have feathers, do they not, all of these topics we get to dive right into and let them be in the driver’s seat, they get to literally dress up, become paleontologists, get to see moving dinosaurs,” Hanson said.

Other exhibits include space, technology, weather, and health and wellness.

“We thought we need evergreen topics, things that won’t change, things that will always be popular for our community, but also for our tourists that are coming into town,” Hanson said.

Now a $1.2 million donation will help make the area even better.

The donation came from the estate of Patricia Knutson, who passed away two years ago at the age of 71.

“It is a big deal, it allows us to do things we wouldn’t be able to do because we are thriving on our daily admission rates and so getting $1.2 million to fill the bank and start to dream is pretty incredible, what that means we are going to have a bigger impact, we’re going to create more memorable experiences for kids and this is going to benefit our community that much more,” Hanson said.

And now excitement is building about what the future could look like for this space.

“You see every sense, sight, smell, sound, all of that being hit inside of our museum and we’re going to continue to push that envelope as much as we can, it is expensive and so a $1.2 million gift really does help us get there,” Hanson said.

Making an impact on young minds for generations to come.

To learn more about the Kirby Science Discovery Center, click here.