WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Leadership for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium announced impressive expansion plans today along with a name change, thanks to a record donation from Palm Beach residents Howard and Wendy Cox. Their $20 million lead gift launches a capital campaign to take the new Cox Science Center and Aquarium into the future with plans for an additional 130,000 total square feet of space for programming including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) awareness and education. The Cox’s gift is the largest single gift in the Center’s 60-year history and serves as the keystone for a $45 million expansion campaign.
"The Science Center has long served as an iconic educational and cultural resource for visitors of all ages and backgrounds in our community," said Howard Cox. "Wendy and I are committed to helping provide it with the resources it needs to fulfill its mission. Home to the nation’s 10th-largest public school system, Palm Beach County is more than worthy of a top-10 environment outside of the classroom to foster STEM education and knowledge for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We hope our gift will inspire contributions to the capital campaign by others in the community and increase awareness of the new Cox Science Center’s offerings and value to the greater South Florida region."
Surrounded by colorful renderings of the Center’s exciting expansion plans, Cox Science Center President and CEO Kate Arrizza, along with Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, City of West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and Board Chair Lew Crampton, delivered the news to a cheering crowd of supporters, dignitaries and media. The group assembled outdoors at the Center’s Cox Amphitheater for a front-row seat to the history-making news as they ceremoniously unveiled the new Cox Science Center logo.
"This transformative gift will allow us to offer Palm Beach County residents and visitors the Science Center they deserve," said Arrizza. "This investment in facilities and exhibits will take our Center to new heights in terms of our visitor engagement and financial performance. The new Cox Science Center offers far greater capacity to provide cutting-edge STEM education programs both on-site and virtually through a range of digital platforms. In short, it allows us to empower the next generation of STEM leaders and truly fulfill our mission to ‘open every mind to science’."
Expansion plans include renovated spaces, a new three-story science pavilion visible from I-95, new outdoor exhibition spaces and one of Florida’s largest indoor aquariums. The new Cox Science Center is on track to serve more than 600,000 visitors and program participants annually, including thousands more through virtual programming, inspiring and educating them and advancing the local economy.
As design and fundraising plans continue, construction on the expansion is anticipated to begin in early 2023 and the Center expects to remain open for education and enjoyment during construction phases. A grand opening to the public is targeted for 2025.
Leading the campaign efforts on behalf of the Science Center is chairman of the board and Palm Beach resident, Lew Crampton.
"In 2017 our board and staff developed a strategic plan to position us to go from ‘good to great’ by 2025," said Crampton. "We envisioned a multi-phase approach to improving and expanding facilities and enhancing the visitor experience. The first two phases of that strategy were completed in 2019 and 2020 with the opening of ‘Journey Through the Human Brain’ and the Cox Amphitheater. The final phase was envisioned as a major expansion of the Center’s facilities, and we are so grateful to Wendy and Howard for their support in helping us officially launch that final expansion phase today."
Other important partners in the expansion include broad Science Center board support, Harvard Jolly Architecture, Hedrick Brothers Construction, Roto, H2R Market Research, George Philanthropy Group, EMS Consulting, Hall Aquatic Design and Science Center staff.
The name change to Cox Science Center and Aquarium takes effect immediately. Honoring the Science Center’s transformative evolution will be the centerpiece of the institution’s Diamond Anniversary Gala – 60 Years of Science: An Electrifying Experience. Hosted at the Center on December 4, guests are invited to learn more and support the campaign while enjoying high-voltage entertainment, captivating cuisine and artisan cocktails. The evening will recognize six decades of support from the hardworking individuals who brought the Center to this moment while it looks to an exciting future.
"We are thrilled to continue the progress so many generous and visionary donors and visitors have made to get the Science Center to this pivotal point of growth. The Center has exhibited strong board leadership, staff and friends to enable this confident launch," said Wendy Cox, who is a member of the Science Center’s board.
The Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s current indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000-gallon fresh and saltwater aquarium, digital planetarium, Pre-K focused "Discovery Center," 18-hole conservation-themed Mini-Golf Course and quarter-mile-long outdoor science trail. The newest additions include "Journey Through the Human Brain," a permanent exhibit which features the most advanced neuroscience research in the world and the Cox Amphitheater, which hosts daily live science shows, seasonal laser shows, and special event programming. The Center is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9am-5pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm.
For information on supporting the Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s capital campaign, visit www.CoxScienceCenter.org/Support-Us or contact Marcy Hoffman at
. For general information on Science Center exhibits and programs, visit www.CoxScienceCenter.org or call 561.832.1988.
About Howard and Wendy Cox
Howard Cox is a pioneering leader in the American venture capital industry who helped shape its growth starting in 1971 when he joined Greylock Partners, one of the industry’s oldest venture firms. He led more than 30 major investments at Greylock and currently serves as a Special Limited Partner. He acted as an advocate for the industry as Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association. Cox was honored with the National Venture Capital Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award in 2003.
Cox has been a leader on national security issues, serving on the board of In-Q-Tel which brings new technologies to the U.S. intelligence agencies, and the Defense Business Board, which advises the Secretary of Defense on business management issues. Additionally, he is a philanthropist currently serving on the boards or advisory committees of more than two dozen nonprofit organizations.
Wendy Cox is a private investor, owner of WRB LLC Real Estate Investment Company and chairwoman of the Bingham Family Foundation, whose mission supports STEM education. She is an active tutor for early literacy in West Palm Beach.
Editors please note:
· Dropbox of renderings and images – Please email
for the link.
SOURCE Cox Science Center & Aquarium