Oneida County Commits $500,000 to Fund The Climber at the Utica Children’s Museum

Left to right in above photo: Oneida County Legislator Michael Gentile, Utica Children's Museum Interim Director Meghan Fraser McGrogan, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., ICAN CEO/Executive Director Steven Bulger and Oneida County Legislator Timothy Julian


Today, in partnership with Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, the Utica Children's Museum was awarded $500,000 to construct their largest exhibit, The Climber. Funding is provided by the County's American Rescue Plan Act.

"The Climber exhibit will be the signature feature of the new Children's Museum Rotunda," Picente said. "It's the first thing visitors will see when they enter, creating a wall of fun adjacent to the main staircase, and it will also be seen from the outside, signaling to passersby the spirit of adventure that awaits inside. Oneida County is proud to provide this attraction at what will become a premiere destination for local families, schools, and tourists alike."

The 30-foot-long and 16-foot-high county-funded Climber will greet visitors in the glass-encased Rotunda of the new Utica Children's Museum. It is designed to provide children with various physical challenges and safe risk-taking opportunities, such as navigating up and down a series of ramps, platforms, and curves and climbing up and reaching two lookouts "nests" at the top of the Climber high above the floor.

The Climber will assist in developing gross motor skills in children and build a sense of understanding and confidence in their physical capabilities. It will also help children practice sharing physical spaces and communicating with others, all through the medium of play and safe risk-taking.

"We are so thrilled and grateful to receive this funding from Oneida County," said Meghan Fraser McGrogan, Interim Director of the Utica Children's Museum. "This demonstrates the county's commitment as a true partner as we work to build our all-new Utica Children's Museum. We look forward to continuing to work together to make Oneida County a great place for families!"

The Utica Children’s Museum closed its former location on Main Street in Utica in 2020. Its new facility will be located at the corner of Holland Avenue and the Memorial Parkway in Utica. Gallery and exhibit design and fabrication are in progress, with installation set to begin in 2024. The new museum is expected to be open later this year.